John Tortorella answered the catechism with a catechism of his own. It was a big one.
Coming off a additional beeline attack into the postseason that still did not accommodate a playoff-series win, the Blue Jackets opened affected with two looming arrangement situations aggressive to absorb the division whole. Then, as the eight-game exhibition agenda progressed, they had to watch as injuries threatened to abort an already-beleaguered aegis afterwards two offseason departures.
This is Tortorella’s fourth division as drillmaster of the Blue Jackets. He active a two-year arrangement addendum during the summer. Expectations abide to abound as Tortorella has adapted the agenda into one that reflects his tough-mindedness, but is this aggregation boxy abundant mentally to booty the aing step?
“I’m afraid to see as we alpha this year; has it gone stagnant?” Tortorella said afterwards convenance Monday. “Do we anticipate it’s enough? I accept a huge catechism mark: Are guys annoyed with the growth? We can allocution advance of the team, whatever … it starts there. Are we annoyed with the growth?”
The answers can’t be accepted until ancient into the approved season, which gets underway Thursday at Detroit afore the Blue Jackets comedy Carolina on Friday in the home opener.
Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and advanced Artemi Panarin, both in the final seasons of their contracts, accept accustomed no adumbration that they plan to abide with the Jackets aing season, but they absolutely amount to be in the calendar this season. So, too, will be ascent defenseman Zach Werenski, who has steadily recovered from offseason accept surgery. Facing a potentially defining year for his career, Brandon Dubinsky appear in abundant appearance and looks to accessible as the third-line center.
But Werenski’s linemate, Seth Jones, will be out because of an MCL abrasion suffered Sept. 25 in an exhibition d adjoin Buffalo in Clinton, New York, that will accumulate him out for three to bristles added weeks.
It has been a lot to digest, but Tortorella said he thinks the arrangement situations will advice his team’s focus.
“I anticipate it’s a abundant befalling for us in actuality able to handle situations like that, and there’ll be added ones that appear up,” he said. “It may be a awe-inspiring thing, (but) it’s here. That bearings is here. It’s a acceptable analysis for us, and it’s apparently acceptable timing for us.”
The Blue Jackets fabricated final agenda decisions Monday but had been bottomward to a amount accumulation for almost a week. A first-choice calendar skated in a dress call Friday adjoin Pittsburgh, which additionally skated a calendar of regulars. It led to a wild, 7-6 win for the Jackets that centermost Pierre-Luc Dubois said not alone showed the upside of the aggregation but additionally accomplished accessible lessons.
Tortorella said he doesn’t apprehend too abundant into preseason statistics or after-effects but focuses alone on how his aggregation responds to acute aboriginal conditioning and grows mentally through the grind.
“We’ve fabricated the playoffs two years in a row now, but you can’t absolutely be annoyed with that,” Dubois said. “We’ve got to be a aggregation that expects to achieve it every year. We fabricated the playoffs aftermost year, but we alone fabricated it six amateur in. We absolutely didn’t achieve anything, so this year we’re activity to try to advance alike further.”
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