Adam McQuaid hasn’t been in Columbus long, but he’s already in John Tortorella’s doghouse.
On Sunday, Blue Jackets’ coach Tortorella made the curious decision to scratch McQuaid in favor of fellow-defenseman Dean Kukan. The line-up change was odd, considering McQuaid was just acquired the week before from the New York Rangers in exchange for a fourth-round and a seventh-round pick, plus AHL defenseman Julius Bergman.
Tortorella wasn’t shy in saying McQuaid wasn’t one of the team’s “best six” defenseman.
“I have to make decisions on who I think is our best six, too, and right now ‘Quaider’ isn’t that,” Tortorella said Monday, according to Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch.
Columbus would fall 5-2 at home to the Jets without McQuaid in the lineup.
Even for a coach as hard-nosed as Tortorella, scratching McQuaid after appearing in just three games is rough. McQuaid hasn’t earned the right to stay in the lineup with zero points in a minus-four rating in three games, but you’d think the Blue Jackets would allow him some leeway considering they gave up two real assets for him. That’s got to be some sort of record for falling out of favor with a coach.
GM Jarmo Kekäläinen brought in McQuaid along with forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel to go all-in for a playoff push. Instead, Columbus has lost three of their last four games. The Blue Jackets sit two points out of a playoff spot with 17 games to play. Clearly, they’re trying to win, but when that means making a recent acquisition a bench warmer, it’s not clear that the GM and the head coach are on the same page.