John Tortorella will now go from criticizing the hockey media, to joining them.
The winningest American-born head coach in NHL history is set to join ESPN as a studio analyst for the 2021-22 season, according to The Athletic's Aaron Portzline, marking a return to television for the abrasive bench boss after over a decade away.
Tortorella last stepped in front of the camera as a media member in 2009, serving as a member of the TSN panel while in between coaching jobs. His stay didn't last long, ending soon after when Tortorella was hired by the New York Rangers, but he certainly made his mark. Tortorella was his usual prickly self in his studio gig, refusing to engage in certain discussion topics, mocking segment ideas, and giving his co-hosts a hard time. All in good fun, of course.
Still, given his distaste for press conferences and anything to do with the media side of hockey, it's still somewhat surprising to see Tortorella return after this long.
After an underwhelming 2021 campaign, Tortorella and the Columbus Blue Jackets agreed to mutually part ways at the conclusion of the season.
Tortorella left Columbus as the winningest head coach in franchise history, compiling a 227-166-54 record across six seasons with the club that included a shocking first-round sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019.