John Tortorella is the winningest coach in the history of the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was never going to be easy to be “the next guy,” after Tortorella. Brad Larsen started his coaching career with the Blue Jackets in 2010-’11 as an assistant in the AHL with the Springfield Falcons. In the 2014-’15 season Larsen would join then Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards staff in Columbus.
Speaking Saturday morning after dismissing the teams head coach, GM, Jarmo Kekalainen spoke on the season that was for the team he steers. “This season has been extremely disappointing and the responsibility for that lies with all of us,” Kekalainen stated. The GM went on to say that while the decision was difficult it was “absolutely necessary.”
While he refused (rightfully so) to go into details on why and how he came to the decision to move on from Brad Larsen it can be assumed the team is nowhere close to being where they thought they would by under the leadership of the now former head coach. Even with the rash of injuries there was no forward progress made.
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltending was……….. not good (being very polite) this season leading to goalie coach Many Legacy not being retained. That said, it could be read, right or wrong Kekalainen either fired shots at or offered a stern warning to starting goal Elvis Merzlikins while speaking about Legacy. Stating, “Well, number one, goaltender is a key to success with any team that wants to be in the playoffs or have success in the playoffs, or let alone win the Stanley Cup. You need a goalie that has the skills, that has the talent, but also a goalie who is consistent and reliable. That means staying healthy, being in top condition, probably the best conditioned guy on the whole team because of the requirements of that job. And that’s going to be something that’s gonna be addressed.”
Leading some to ponder if the GM does not believe he has the person in net. The Blue Jackets have some really good young players and are in position to add to that talent pool this summer. This is a team that even in a difficult season had a few rays of light. Also a team that believe it or not is not that far away from being a more consistent product on the ice.
I will go into the coaching search this week. Come back for names and possible good fits.