Hot in Columbus: A Hockey Love Story

On October 20, John Tortorella told Sirius/XM he had “not been contacted” by any struggling NHL teams about taking over a head coaching position. On the morning of October 21, he was named the new coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Most assumed Tortorella, who has a reputation for being difficult, was lying. Crooked Scoreboard has obtained a transcript of a semi-private conversation between Tortorella and Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations John Davidson that took place the evening of October 19. The transcript reveals that Tortorella was not, in fact, lying. It was a twist of the truth, since it appears it was Tortorella who contacted the team.

Here’s the unabridged transcript with a description of the scene, as relayed by an eyewitness.

John Davidson’s house. Night.

Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” plays softly. John Davidson lies in his bed, rolls onto his back, and pulls his Top Gun comforter up to his chin, gripping the edge a little too tightly. He sighs deeply, almost sensually. His team is 0-7-0. He stares at the ceiling.

Outside John Tortorella stands next to his cherry-red Firebird with the license plate BLKD SHOT. He stands in a disheveled collared shirt under a trench coat. He may or may not be wearing pants. Muddy tire tracks lead from the street, over a mailbox and up to the car, parked in the lawn.

Inside, Davidson turns to the window, mouthing the lyrics to the songs. He goes to the window and opens it.

Tortorella stands under his window with a boombox over his head, bare legs poking out of his trench coat.

DAVIDSON: John, what are you doing?

TORTORELLA: I need you, John.

DAVIDSON: Please. Don’t.

A dog barks.

Tortorella stands silently, letting the song play.

DAVIDSON: John, please shut the music off. We can’t do this. Society will never accept it.

TORTORELLA: Taking a year off has opened my eyes to corsis and possessions. I want to coach a team that corsis.

DAVIDSON: It wasn’t really a year off. You were fired for trying to break the Sedins.

TORTORELLA: I’ve changed.

DAVIDSON: I wish I could believe that. I really do.

TORTORELLA: I’ll prove it. Ask me how I feel about blocked shots.

DAVIDSON: How do you feel about blocked shots?

TORTORELLA: I’m for them.


TORTORELLA: I mean, I don’t care for them. If you don’t want to block shots, you don’t have to. I won’t make Ryan Johansen block shots. He can eat doughnuts and do morning skates if he wants. See? I’m different.

DAVIDSON: You’ll say anything, won’t you, John? Tell me one thing: are you here because you need me or because you need someone?

TORTORELLA: Someone. I just need someone.

DAVIDSON: Thanks for your honesty.

TORTORELLA: I’m nothing if not honest. By the way, why didn’t you sign any defensemen over the summer?


TORTORELLA: Nothing. Do you watch “Fargo”?


TORTORELLA: No reason. Can I come in? We should watch some. I haven’t started the new season yet.

DAVIDSON: No, John. We play the Flames too soon. I can’t bring you in and have you try to fight Bob Hartley again.

TORTORELLA: What? That thing? Water under the bridge. It was hardly a thing.

DAVIDSON: You tried to enter an opposing locker room and fight another coach between periods.

TORTORELLA: I was trying to greet him in the French style.

DAVIDSON: Screaming and punching?

TORTORELLA: I don’t know much about the French. Really, I was trying to be a more welcoming person.

DAVIDSON is silent.

TORTORELLA: Look. I love the Columbus lifestyle. Models that look like my weird cousin Cindy? Into it. Entire city closed after 10 PM? Leave some milk in the microwave for me. Close to Cleveland? At least we aren’t in Cleveland. Amirite?

DAVIDSON is silent again.

TORTORELLA: And I will do wonderful things with the cannon of yours. I want one outside the locker room for press, I want one outside the opponent locker room for Hartl… greeting friends. I want to… ohhh yeah… [inaudible]

DAVIDSON: John, you can come in, but use the back door. Jarmo is sleeping.

The recording cuts out.


Dustin Nelson is a comedian, poet, and hockey writer extraordinaire. You should follow him on Twitter.