Makenna Bird kept the smiles on Columbus Blue Jackets fans’ face on Tuesday and beyond, adding an uptick of joy for the fan base after the team kept its postseason hopes alive with a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Bird, who was hanging out downtown with her friends to celebrate Columbus’ win to keep the series alive at 3-1, noticed Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella in his car after the game. He seemed to be in a good mood following the victory, so Bird thought “why not” and took a Snapchat with the coach, dog filter and all.
— x- kenna (@makennabirddd) April 19, 2017
“I’ve met him a few times and he’s always been super cool and nice so I didn’t expect any different,” Bird told FanRag Sports. “I knew about his love for his dogs and I figured why not just throw it on him.
“At first he didn’t notice the filter until he saw the selfie we had just taken but then he got more curious and I knew I had to record his reaction. He says ‘Was that a dog?! Yes it was!’ and then as you hear him in the video jokingly say “get that thing off of me.” It was a fun encounter with not only us but the other fans around us.”
Bird’s giggle and Tortorella’s entire face lighting up once he realized he had figuratively morphed into a dog scattered the video across social media like wildfire. Maybe it was the whole this-is-what-sports-are-all-about moment; perhaps it was watching a head hockey coach succumb to a smile despite being one bad bounce away from hanging up the skates for a season.
“Most of everyone is saying how they’d never expect to see him with a dog filter let alone smiling with a dog filter,” Bird said…”Everybody just loves Tortorella, I mean how could you not?!”
Columbus hasn’t looked the part of a team that scraped up 108 points during the regular season. A small-market club with little postseason experience facing the reigning Stanley Champs has played out exactly how the stereotype says it would. Blue Jackets fans were left with little hope once Pittsburgh got the better of Columbus in Games 1 and 2; a Penguins overtime win in Game 3 sucked the life out of Nationwide Arena.
Right now, it’s all about staying optimistic.
“It’s pretty hard to keep faith when we were down 3-1 in the series and I think as a fan base we were all getting worried but I hope that the video reminded us all that we don’t always need to be so serious all the time, even the coach,” Bird said. “We’re a young team and we need to enjoy every opportunity that we’re getting. The video [kind of] got our minds off of hockey for a second and it was great for us all to see a different “off ice” side of Torts.”