If you didn’t know better, you’d think the Columbus Blue Jackets were cursed. The morning after potentially losing goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to yet another groin injury, Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella was knocked down following hard collision with winger Rene Bourque and went to hospital for precautionary reasons.
The collision occurred during practice at the Blue Jackets’ Winter Park, an outdoor rink across from Columbus’ Nationwide Arena. According to The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline and Shawn Mitchell, Tortorella suffered an apparent back injury after Bourque, who was skating up ice, got a piece of Tortorella and sent him falling to the ice. Bourque said the collision happened in large part because he “hit a rut” in the ice.
Tortorella, 57, was able to leave the ice under his own power and headed back into the arena with Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen, who later said that Tortorella had been transported to a nearby hospital for precautionary reasons.
“He’s stubborn but he needs to go get checked out,” Kekalainen told Mitchell. “His health is the most important thing.”
Blue Jackets president of hockey operation John Davidson told Mitchell and Portzline that Tortorella's back had "locked up" after the collision with Bourque.
The Blue Jackets play Saturday in Boston and though it was initially unclear whether or not Tortorella would be able to join the team. According to Mitchell, it “does not appear” Tortorella will travel with the Blue Jackets, but he could make the trip separate of the team.
“Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt,” Columbus captain Nick Foligno told The Columbus Dispatch. “But the funny thing about Torts is that he’s pretty tough. I think he’s a lot tougher than all of us. So when you see him down like that, you know he’s pretty hurt.”
Tortorella has been the Blue Jackets coach since Oct. 21, replacing Todd Richards behind the bench. Under Tortorella this season, Columbus has gone 17-20-4. If he’s unable to coach the team against the Bruins, assistants Craig Hartsburg, Brad Larsen and Kenny McCudden will likely takeover.
(Image via Lori Schmidt)