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Talkin' Torts: Coach expects Blue Jackets to respond to loss in Philly

Columbus looks to start a new streak Wednesday after six-game point run

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider /

In the Room: John Tortorella

Torts meets with the media after Monday's practice.

CBJ head coach John Tortorella meets with the media after practice Monday, October 28.

  • 05:51 •

Two days after the Blue Jackets lost a 7-4 decision at Philadelphia by giving up five unanswered goals in the last 10 minutes, head coach John Tortorella admitted his team didn't play the game it had to against the Flyers. 

He also added that's not exactly cause to hit the panic button for his team. 

That's because Tortorella a) expects the Blue Jackets to respond, and b) knows that as much as coaches don't want bad games to happen, sometimes they do. The key is limiting them, with the first chance to get back on the horse coming Wednesday night vs. Edmonton in Nationwide Arena. 

"I'm not in a situation here saying, 'Oh my God,'" Tortorella said. "The response from me is to move by it and get ready for the next game. We have played really well. Up to that point, we haven't had many clunkers. If we have one clunker every 11 games, then I'll be the happiest coach in the league. 

"I'm very happy about how the team has played up to that point. We sucked against Philly." 

The last time the Blue Jackets were on the wrong end of such a blitzing was in game two of the season, when Columbus lost a 7-2 decision at Pittsburgh.  

That game was more about structural flaws on the ice with the team's play that game rather than not playing with the "right type of effort, the right type of battle level," which Tortorella diagnosed as the issue vs. the Flyers. 

Still, the way the team came back from the loss to the Penguins does show how this team has handled early-season adversity. Columbus went 5-1-2 in its next eight games after that loss to the Pens, including a six-game point streak that lasted all the way until the team's Saturday night game in Philadelphia. 

"If this team here in Columbus (isn't at) the top of the rung in how we have to play as far as effort, we're not going to win many hockey games," Tortorella said. "Other teams that have a different makeup and all the things that go with it, they might be able to get by some nights where they're not in a total effort mode.  

"This team can't go about it that way, and this team knows that. That's why I like the team so well. They know that. They know how they played, and so we'll get ready for our next one." 

♦ Tortorella was asked about the news that forward Alexandre Texier (knee) and defenseman Ryan Murray (hand) each will miss up to a month with injury, and he had a quick response. 

"It is what it is," he said. "Just get ready to play our next game. Someone else pops in." 

Defensively, that will mean the likely return of Markus Nutivaara (lower body), who has missed two games, while either Scott Harrington or Dean Kukan will slot in. Tortorella said that decision will be made Tuesday.  

Meanwhile, Jakob Lilja skated on the fourth line Monday and could go in, though the team also could make a recall or two from AHL Cleveland as well. 

♦ Tortorella also came to the defense of Brad Larsen, the assistant coach who oversees the team's power-play unit. 

With the Blue Jackets struggling in that regard at the moment -- Columbus was 0-for-5 on Saturday in Philadelphia and gave up the game-winning goal while on the man advantage -- Tortorella acknowledged the team has to improve in that area. He also said Larsen shouldn't bear the brunt of the criticism. 

"He's a good coach," Tortorella said. "The decisions made on the power play don't fall on Brad Larsen. Brad Larsen does a lot of work as far as preparing it, showing tendencies of the other team. It's his power play, but all the decision making and all the things we talk about as far as how to operate, that does not fall fully on his shoulders, so I call bull (crap).

"Everybody is involved (in the power play). I am involved. If you're going to be mad about the power play, it falls with me. I am the head coach of the hockey team." 

We'll have more on the power play tomorrow. For video of some of Tortorella's comments from today, please click the video player above.  

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