Tortorella Heading to Bristol

Former Blue Jackets bench boss is ESPN's newest analyst

Torts Lands New Job as … ESPN Hockey Analyst

What's Happening: In a bit of a surprising move, former Columbus Blue Jackets head coach, John Tortorella, has landed a new job in hockey, but this time in a media role. Beginning next season when ESPN will have the exclusive, American TV rights, Tortorella will join the ESPN hockey crew as a hockey analyst. While terms of his deal with ESPN weren’t specifically laid out, Tortorella joins a big cast of hockey analysts that includes the best hockey player to ever play the game, Wayne Gretzky.

Why Now? It’s interesting that Tortorella decided to take this media job at ESPN for a number of reasons. First, his fiery reputation with the media is part of who he is and his prickliness with reporters has rubbed many media members the wrong way. His explosive interactions with media members in both New York and Tampa Bay have illustrated why Tortorella is no TV darling.

Second, this isn’t his first go-around working in the media. In the 2008-09 season while he was in between head coaching jobs, Tortorella was briefly a hockey analyst on TSN in Canada. While his tenure there was short, he was not your prototypical analyst and was instead, his usual grumpy self. Lastly, it’s curious to note that Tortorella may have settled on this job because there perhaps weren’t many job openings in hockey that he was particularly thrilled to take. There are currently no head coaching vacancies in the NHL and in Tortorella’s mind, he may feel like he is worthy of a head coaching job, only in the NHL. Thus, he can simply bide his time at ESPN while showing his face on screen to keep his name in hockey relevant until the next head coaching vacancy becomes available.

Expect the Unexpected: It’s hard to imagine Tortorella being anyone but himself in this hockey analyst role at ESPN. While the vast majority of media members are trained to present themselves in a way that is conducive to the media (i.e. speaking clearly, looking into the right camera on set, etc.), don’t expect Tortorella to all of a sudden become a shell of his former self. Hockey fans will probably be in for a treat whenever he’s on the air because they know they will get the unfiltered and opinionated version.

It’ll also be interesting to see how the Stanley Cup winning coach fares with other analysts, as he clearly has a more in-your-face brand when compared with other low-key and mild-mannered members of the media. Nonetheless, it should be an exciting year of hockey on ESPN and one that is bound to produce countless must-see moments both on and off the ice.

Links from the Rink

  • After their marital affairs were aired out online, find out which player has taken a voluntary leave of absence from the Hockey Diversity Alliance.

  • Check out this interesting deep dive into how disruptive teammates can ruin the mojo in a locker room.

  • Meet the newest Devil.

  • How prepared were Carey Price and his family to leave Montreal? A lot closer than you might think as his wife details in her blog.

  • In a touching tribute, former Blue Jacket, Pierre Luc-Dubois has switched to using number 80 for this upcoming season to pay respect to recently deceased, former teammate, Matiss Kivlenieks.