John Tortorella breaks 2 ribs in collision at Blue Jackets' outdoor practice
Associate coach Hartsburg will run bench Saturday in Boston
Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella broke two ribs falling after a collision with forward Rene Bourque during an outdoor practice Friday and will not coach Saturday night at Boston.
Associate coach Craig Hartsburg will lead Columbus against the Bruins. Tortorella's status for Monday night against the Montreal Canadiens is unknown.
The injury occurred about 20 minutes into the Blue Jackets' first practice at a temporary rink built for public skating in McFerson Commons, across the street from the Blue Jackets' Nationwide Arena.
The team practiced there to promote the opening of Winter Park.
Bourque was part of a 3-on-3 drill, and Tortorella was along the left boards near centre ice when Bourque took a tumble and undercut his coach, who was blindsided.
Tortorella gets nailed at <a href="https://twitter.com/BlueJacketsNHL">@BlueJacketsNHL</a> outdoor practice. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LostEdge?src=hash">#LostEdge</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OldTimeHockey?src=hash">#OldTimeHockey</a> <a href="https://t.co/auYEY0MBLK">pic.twitter.com/auYEY0MBLK</a>—@scartmill
"I was just coming off the boards," Bourque said. "I hit a rut, there's big rut in the ice, a hole, and I went down. I fell into him and took his feet out. I didn't even see him. It happened so fast. I knew I hit something but I didn't have time to turn around and see him fall. I didn't know who I hit."
Tortorella went down hard on his back and was prone for several minutes as he was attended to by the team's medical staff.
Torts down <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CBJ?src=hash">#CBJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/8jPgAqtr2u">pic.twitter.com/8jPgAqtr2u</a>—@smitchcd
"I saw it from the bench," defenceman Seth Jones said. "It looked pretty nasty."
The incident brought the practice to halt and a hush fell over the several hundred spectators braving the -4 C temperature.
Tortorella skated off with staff by his side and eventually walked the half-block to the arena.
"That's so unfortunate," Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said. "We were out here to have fun and Borkie falls. I feel so bad for John and Borkie. The funny thing about Torts, he's tougher than all of us. If you see him down you know he's hurt."
About two hours after the fall, Tortorella was taken by ambulance from the arena to Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus where he was examined and released about 90 minutes later.
He replaced Todd Richards as coach on Oct. 21 after the Blue Jackets lost their first seven games. Columbus is 17-20-4 under Tortorella and the Blue Jackets' 38 points are the fewest in the NHL.