Ice Hockey

John Tortorella Takes Leave from Blue Jackets: Latest Details and Reaction

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 15: Team USA head coach John Tortorella answers questions during Media day at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 at Air Canada Centre on September 15, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2017

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced Thursday head coach John Tortorella will take a leave of absence from the team.

Assistants Brad Larsen and Brad Shaw will share coaching duties until Tortorella returns to the bench.

“Regrettably, there is a personal matter that requires my immediate attention that will force me to leave the team temporarily and miss the All-Star Game in Los Angeles,” Tortorella said. “This decision was not made lightly as representing the Columbus Blue Jackets is something I am very proud of, but it is the right decision for my family and I. I appreciate the support of our organization and the National Hockey League and my hope is to be back with the team next week.”

The Columbus Dispatch‘s Aaron Portzline noted Tortorella’s son, Nick, is serving overseas with the United States Army Rangers, but he reported Tortorella’s leave isn’t connected to Nick’s ongoing military service.

In Tortorella’s second season, the Blue Jackets have become one of the best teams in the league. Their 68 points are the second-most in the Eastern Conference behind the Washington Capitals, and they reeled off 16 straight wins earlier in the year, which was one victory short of the NHL record.

Tortorella was set to be one of four coaches taking part in Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game. The league has yet to name his replacement.

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