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It didn’t take long for Patrik Laine to become familiar with the stylings of John Tortorella.
In his fourth game with the Columbus Blue Jackets after their massive trade with the Winnipeg Jets, Laine was benched Monday night during the Blue Jackets’ 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Laine, 22, sat nearly the entire second half of the game, playing just 11:14. The No. 2 pick from the 2016 draft had three goals in his first three games with Columbus, including two on Sunday, but clearly isn’t playing up to Tortorella’s standards.
“That’s gonna stay in house. I know you guys are gonna try to work me on that,” Tortorella told reporters regarding Laine’s benching. “There’s a number of different things that come into play with that, and that’ll stay in the locker room.”
Tortorella historically has a short leash with players if he feels they’re not playing up to snuff, regardless of their track record. His clashing with Pierre-Luc Dubois preceded him being dealt for Laine and Jack Roslovic.
“The last thing I want to do is bench a player,” said Tortorella, who coached the Rangers from 2009 to 2013. “We’re just disjointed in all areas — quite honestly both on and off the ice. It’s an easy thing to bench a player. That’s the last thing I want to do, but If I think I need to do it, then I need to do it.”
Cam Atkinson, in his 10th season with the Blue Jackets, has been on the receiving end of some of Tortorella’s tough love. He sits next to Laine in the locker room and says the two have spoken about Laine’s performance.
“We’re a pretty open group,” Atkinson said. “He knows. He’ll be the first one to admit it: he just has to be better, plain and simple.”
Laine has 143 goals and 110 assists in 310 career NHL games.
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