Hockey is a fast game and thus, things happen fast - and as we learned today, not even coaches are immune to it.
It was a simple drill the Blue Jackets were running during their Friday morning outdoor practice at Winter Park. John Tortorella, in his usual practice post on the far boards at center ice, watched each rep as intently as he always does.
Rene Bourque, coming up the left wing, hit a rut in the ice and ran directly into Tortorella, who was turned the other way and didn't see Bourque coming. Tortorella's feet were taken out from underneath him and it was a hard fall to the ice, and he was down for several minutes as team medical personnel provided assistance.
Tortorella was able to skate off under his own power but he was in obvious pain. Practice continued for a few more minutes while Tortorella and Blue Jackets management walked back to Nationwide Arena for further evaluation.
Initially, Tortorella was said to be doing okay but was "banged up pretty good," though he was expected to make the trip to Boston earlier today.
Following evaluation late this afternoon, Tortorella was diagnosed with two fractured ribs as a result of the collision. At this point, it's unlikely he will be behind the bench on Saturday night when the Blue Jackets take on the Boston Bruins. He did not travel with the team.
“You never like seeing anyone in pain and that was so unfortunate," said Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno. "I felt so bad for John and for (Bourque). The one thing about Torts is he’s tough – he’s a lot tougher than all of us. When you see him down like that, you know he’s pretty hurt. It was scary."
If Tortorella is in fact unavailable to coach Saturday, associate coach Craig Hartsburg will take over his duties behind the bench.
Stay tuned to BlueJackets.com and @BlueJacketsNHL on Twitter for more information as it becomes available.