NHL fans roasted Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella after he decided to bench new acquisition Patrik Laine.
A couple of weeks ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets opted to trade away former 2016 third-overall pick Pierre Luc-Dubois to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for former second-overall pick Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic. Giving the disgruntled stars new homes would surely do the trick in boosting their morale, right? Well.
On Monday night, Columbus defeated the Carolina Hurricanes by the score of 3-2, but Laine was sent to the bench for the entire third period on what was viewed to be due to lackadaisical defensive effort on Brock McGinn’s game-tying, second period goal.
When asked about the decision in the postgame press conference, Tortorella said it did not solely have to do with the surrendered goal and stressed that it was something he would keep “in house.” That’s when Tortorella uttered the words, “the last thing I want to do is bench a player.” Then, NHL fans on Twitter had a field day.
Laine benched just four games into his Columbus tenure
Blue Jackets fans have seen this one before. Prior to the big trade, Dubois had seen a significant reduction in ice time, where he averaged 14:31 in his five games in Columbus this season.
Winger Cam Atkinson was asked about Tortorella’s decision regarding Laine’s benching, saying that if the coach does not think the player is giving 100-percent, “he’s going to bench you.” Even Atkinson himself stressed that he was in Laine’s skates at times playing under Tortorella.
Through his first four games with the Blue Jackets, Laine has scored three goals on six shots.
Blue Jackets will keep their eyes peeled on Laine’s ice time on Thursday, when Columbus faces the Chicago Blackhawks.