Two days after being eliminated in the NHL playoffs by Pittsburgh, the Blue Jackets gathered Saturday for their exit interviews with the media. Coach John Tortorella was asked if the Jackets season, in which the team won a franchise record 50 games with 108 points and went from the NHL's fourth worst team to its fourth best, could be defined as a success.
"No...we're out in the first round. That's the problem right there. We're out in the first round so that's not success," Tortorella said. "I'm not going to sit here and say 'man---we improved here and there--we were 27th now we're fourth'...We were out in the first round, so we have to get better."
The Blue Jackets first round exit--in five games against the Penguins--included sub-standard goal tending by Sergei Bobrovsky. The favorite for the Vezina Trophy, for best goalie in the regular season, was not himself against the Penguins, with a save percentage of just .882.
"Bob had a great regular season," Tortorella said. "But you get to the playoffs and the physical stuff is out of the way--it's the mental part of it and I think Bob leads the way with a number of our guys, in improving the mental part of it...the mental toughness...However you get yourself ready to be 'that guy' in the playoffs. That's what defines you as a player."
Tortorella was very open and honest about the Blue Jackets, the progress they made--but the long way they still have to go. Check out his season ending presser here.