New Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen gets choked up talking about John Tortorella

Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Blue Jackets introduced Brad Larsen as their coach during Friday, joined by general manager Jarmo Kekaleinen and team president John Davidson. You can watch their comments in the player above.

Larsen, 43, is a longtime Blue Jackets assistant coach and a former head coach in the American Hockey League. He is a native of Nakusp, British Columbia, and played 12 seasons in the NHL and AHL between 1997 and 2010. He joined the Blue Jackets’ coaching staff in 2014.

Larsen got emotional once during the news conference, when he was asked about the impact that his predecessor, John Tortorella, had on him.

“John Tortorella, I owe him a lot,” Larsen said. “The fact that he saw something in me. Torts came here and he inherited me; he didn’t hire me.”

Tortorella went 227-166-54 in six seasons with the Blue Jackets and made the playoffs four times.

“I wish everybody could get to know him as I did,” Larsen said before pausing for several seconds, with Davidson reaching over and patting his shoulder. “He’s a special man. Let’s put it that way. He means a lot to me and my family. And I will forever be in his debt.”

Kekalainen said Larsen was interviewed three times and that his search team used the term “Lars bar” to see if they could identify an outside candidate who would outrank him. None of them did.

Among others interviewed were former Arizona Rick Tocchet and former Blue Jackets and Vegas coach Gerard Gallant. Kekalainen said several current players were consulted in the process.

In Tortorella’s final season, the Blue Jackets went just 18-26-0.

“I know these players and I know last year didn’t go the way we wanted,” Larsen said. “It’s a fresh slate for a lot of guys. We are going to have energy and we are going to have passion.”

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