John Tortorella is doing his best to downplay comments he made earlier this week about his captain Nick Foligno.
On Thursday, Tortorella joined Hockey Central at Noon to discuss his new role as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and attempt to clarify his comments regarding Foligno.
After a tough loss to the Vancouver Canucks earlier this week, Tortorella told Michael Arace of the Columbus dispatch, “We need a big play out of (Foligno). He had a couple of chances to score. We’re going to say, ‘Nick, his game is coming’ but to me, he needs to make a big play.’”
Sportsnet’s Doug MacLean asked Tortorella what he meant by the comment.
“I’ve heard so many comments about the comments I’ve made about Nick Foligno. I don’t think I was negative,” Tortorella explained. “I was basically saying – and Nick knows it, he’s such a good kid – he knows he needs to be a big part of this.
“I think what’s happening, is we have to be careful not to fall into a rut here of these moral victories. … The game against Vancouver, we played really well, but we found a way to lose that game in the last eight minutes, and really giving everything Vancouver got for free.”
Tortorella is well-known for his fiery personality, but the 57-year-old, now with his third NHL team in the last four seasons, says he won’t hide who he is when being interviewed for a job, though he doesn’t necessarily agree with what’s said about him.
“I’m going to answer the questions, and I’m going to answer them truthfully,” he said. “I’m going to answer them as far as who I am, because I think it would be unfair to both the interviewer and the interviewee if I pretend to be someone else.
“I think it gets kind of overblown that I’m always in that room ripping the paint off the wall and going after these players, I think it’s false. I think there’s a perception of that, but I am certainly not going to try and chase the perception. I’m going to go about and do my job the best way I can, but I’m not going to pretend to be someone I’m not.”
When compared to former Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock, who was fired from the team mid-season in 2010, Tortorella said he wasn’t worried.
“If they’re going to run me out of town for trying to coach the way I think we should, and what I think this team needs, then I’m going to get run out of town.”