COLUMBUS, OHIO - Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach John Tortorella has returned to Columbus due to a family emergency that will cause him to miss tonight's game at Nashville, as well as this weekend's 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game®.
Assistant coaches Brad Larsen and Brad Shaw will handle coaching duties for the Blue Jackets in Tortorella's absence.
"Regrettably, there is a personal matter that requires my immediate attention that will force me to leave the team temporarily and miss the All-Star Game in Los Angeles," Tortorella said. "This decision was not made lightly as representing the Columbus Blue Jackets is something I am very proud of, but it is the right decision for my family and I. I appreciate the support of our organization and the National Hockey League and my hope is to be back with the team next week."
Tortorella has led the Blue Jackets to a 32-11-4 record this season and was slated to coach the Metropolitan Division team during this year's All-Star festivities at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. Since taking over as head coach in October 2015, he has led Columbus to a 66-44-12 record. On Dec. 18, 2016, he became the 24th head coach - and first American - to record 500 wins in the National Hockey League in a 4-3 overtime win at Vancouver.
The Blue Jackets return to action tonight when they visit the Nashville Predators. Game time from Bridgestone Arena is 8 p.m. ET. Live coverage on FOX Sports Ohio begins with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show at 7:30 p.m. The game will also be broadcast live on the Eldorado Scioto Downs Blue Jackets Radio Network, including flagship station Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan, and online at BlueJackets.com.
UPDATE: Tortorella issued the following statement prior to Thursday's game...
"I appreciate everyone who has reached out to me this evening with their concerns about my family. My family is fine. We are just dealing with a situation that is personal and very important to us, but I will leave it at that. I'll be back with the team very soon."