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Former Lightning coach John Tortorella returns to NHL with Jackets

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Former Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella, who won the Stanley Cup with the team in 2002, is back behind the bench.

The Columbus Blue Jackets, who started the season 0-7, have hired Torts, the fiery coach of the Lightning, Rangers and Canucks.

Tortorella, who has a reputation for being abrasive in press conferences and combative with his teams, has a lifetime record of 446-375-115. With the Lightning, Torts had a 239-222-74 record.

“Tortorella is an experienced National Hockey League coach with a proven track record of success,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “He is a Stanley Cup winner and we believe the right person to lead our team at this time.”

The Lightning play at Columbus on Dec. 8 and in Tampa on Dec. 26.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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