With the main ice at Nationwide Arena being changed over after hosting The CannonBall (which raised over $400,000), the Blue Jackets held their morning practice at the OhioHealth Ice Haus.
After having the day off on Wednesday and attending the event, the players were back at it with a typical John Tortorella (fast-paced and intense) practice.
As per usual, the players chatted with the media members following the on-ice session and Tortorella shared some insight on the progress of the team and a few other random tidbits during the coach’s media availability.
Here’s some of what the head coach had to say:
When asked about the players getting better understanding of Tortorella as a coach, and vice a versa:
“I think we have a much better understanding and me for them, too. I’m trying to figure them out. I still haven’t got it all done, but it certainly has come along. We’re doing a ton of teaching.
"When you go into the teaching and you have conversations with players and it’s back-and-forth, which has been really encouraging that there is a back-and-forth, you learn more about each other, and I think it’s getting closer to really feeling more comfortable with one another. As you go along here and you have the communication and feedback from them, it’s coming along really well.”
On what he has liked about the team’s play in the third period in recent weeks:
“Whether we’re winning, losing, good things going on in the period, bad things going on in the period, we have just stayed the course. We’re using the word patience. I think we have found a really good level of patience and when you say patience, it’s not being slow, it’s not letting teams come at you. It’s just understanding the ebbs and flows of a period. You just gotta keep fighting through it and not knee-jerking and doing something crazy where you just open yourself up to a big mistake. I think we’re stayed away from those.
“I think it’s a little bit of maturity, and we have had a lot of work at this part of the game. Understanding the momentums coming at us. For the most part of this year, we have not handled momentums at us well. I think we’re getting better at it. I’m hoping the players, in succeeding in some of these momentum swings and staying with it and finding a way to get points and wins, you hope they can rely at that when it comes back at them again and it’s experience.”
When asked if patience and confidence is helping build the team’s identity, Tortorella agreed:
“I think it’s building the identity. I think we’ve been hard. We’ve scored some goals in the blue. I think we’ve defended our blue well. We had some key blocks at certain times in these games. All of those things build on it.”
When asked about the importance of picking up points during regulation:
“I’ve been honest for the past couple of weeks. We’re in a tough spot here, and I don’t say that in an, ‘Oh is he giving up?’ You don’t give up, no matter where you are, there’s no give up. There’s not going to be any give up here. But I think you also have to assess the situation here. I told them: today’s a work day and every minute you’re in this building, you’re working. After that, go do what you want to do. But just approach it as a professional. It’s hard for the players too — to see where they’re at and see what’s above them and maybe not be in there, because that’s the fun part. That’s where they want to be. It’s hard for them. We just gotta stay on top of ourselves as we go through these weeks and keep on trying to be better as a team and just try to find our way.”