John Tortorella had high praise for Jack Capuano when the Islanders were in Columbus last month and the Blue Jackets coach still showed love for Capuano, who was fired last week.
“I was texting him during the time all the noise was around him for quite a while, just to try to lend support,” said Tortorella, who brought Capuano on to work with Team USA during September’s World Cup of Hockey. “I loved working with him. He is one intelligent guy. With the coaches, no one’s looking out after us. When I’m playing against Jack, I want to beat him, you want to do everything to beat him, but when you’re away from that and you see a guy in a situation he’s been in, I think we have to support one another as coaches.
“I’ve talked to him since the firing. He’s gonna be fine. One door closes another one’s gonna open up for him. He’ll land on his feet.”
Tortorella has certainly been there, having been let go by the Rangers and Canucks in consecutive seasons before coming to Columbus early last season. The Blue Jackets had a 15-game win streak and a perfect December but have been a little sluggish the last dozen games coming into Barclays Center on Tuesday.
“We just haven’t worked hard,” Tortorella said. “We really dug in on the video today and I think sometimes you think you’re working hard when you really aren’t. This is the first time a lot of these guys have gone through this.”
Lee out with illness
Andrew Ladd returned after missing five games but Anders Lee was a surprise scratch after falling ill early Tuesday. Stephen Gionta played in Lee’s place.
Rookie Anthony Beauvillier was a planned absence due to a sore foot, suffered when he blocked a big slap shot in Sunday’s overtime loss to the Flyers. Beauvillier played through the injury but was sore on Tuesday and Doug Weight decided to be cautious.
The coach all but guaranteed Beauvillier, a Montreal native, would be back in when the Canadiens come to Brooklyn on Thursday.
“He’s out tonight but we want him to be the best player on the ice Thursday,” Weight said.