Warning: Story contains coarse language
Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella is known for his candor, and the veteran bench boss didn't sugarcoat his frustration entering the 2019-20 campaign after losing multiple core pieces this offseason.
"I'm pissed," Tortorella said according to The Athletic's Aaron Portzline. "I’m pissed for my players. I'm pissed for my organization. And I'm pissed on behalf of my city."
After pulling off one of the greatest upsets in NHL history by sweeping the 62-win Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the playoffs, the Blue Jackets saw key forwards Matt Duchene and Artemi Panarin, along with star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, walk away in free agency.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for all of them. I do," Tortorella said. "But don't talk about goddamn winning, like you want to go somewhere to win. It’s right there in front of you.
"I respect them all. But I don’t want to hear 'I want to win' when it’s right fucking here. I respect them, but I’m really pissed. It was right there, where we were really progressing."
Tortorella also expressed frustration about the status of restricted free agent Zach Werenski, who's yet to sign a new deal with training camp set to begin this month.
"I'd be terribly disappointed," the coach said. "I'm not involved in the business part of it. But for a young man to miss one minute of camp ... it disgusts me."
Tortorella added of Werenski: "He has really grown as a player. I just don’t want him to miss a beat here. I won’t be disappointed, I'll be disgusted."
Despite the roster turnover, Tortorella is still confident in his group and remains focused on maximizing the club's potential this season.
"We feel like we made a really good step last year, although we still don’t get out of the second round," he said. "We still made a step in the right direction. That doesn’t change because we lose some players."