Tortorella calls out key players: 'I don't think they're ready'
The Columbus Blue Jackets have been practicing for nearly two weeks now, and head coach John Tortorella doesn't love what he's seen from some of his players.
"My concern is some of the people that we are going to need to make a difference for us to win a series, I don't think they're ready right now," Tortorella said after practice Thursday, according to NHL.com's Craig Merz. "I don't think they're doing the things they need to do right now to get ready for that series. Not a bunch. A few. A couple."
Columbus is gearing up to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the best-of-five play-in round. The Blue Jackets finished the season with a 33-22-15 record and enter the qualifying round as the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference.
"For the most part, I've liked what I've seen here," Tortorella continued. "It's just the two or three guys that are pretty important people. It's a concern of mine. ... I'm not so sure we get total concentration out of some key people. That's what we're working to try to get."
The Blue Jackets hit the ice Thursday after a day off. Tortorella stopped practice and yelled at the team after 30 seconds of the opening drill, according to Merz.
Tortorella was recently named a finalist for the Jack Adams Trophy, though he's entering unknown territory with the upcoming playoff format after spending nearly five months away from hockey.
"This isn't getting ready for the regular season and then trying to find your game in 15 games during the regular season. This is a sprint. And I think some guys have been dead-on right from the start," Tortorella said. "Other guys, not so much. I think we're in single digits right now as far as getting ready to play. I don't want us to fall into this trap of wading in. We need to be ready to go."
The first game of the series is on Aug. 2.