Ryan Johnasen is the Columbus Blue Jackets’ franchise player, or as close to one as they have. And for the second time since John Tortorella was hired to salvage an increasingly unsalvageable season, he was benched in the third period on Tuesday night.
RyJo didn’t see a shift in the third during the Jackets’ 5-1 loss to the Dallas Stars.
“That was coach’s decision. No explanation. I just didn’t play him,” said Tortorella.
He played 11:03 in the first two periods on 15 shifts. He was on the ice for the first Stars goal by Johnny Oduya at 17:53 of the first, and he was on the ice for Scott Hartnell’s power-play goal to tie it in the second. He last saw the ice with 3:38 left in the second.
It’s the second time he’s been benched this season in the third period, sitting on the pine for the final 6:10 of Tortorella’s first game as Columbus coach at the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 22. Word leaking that the benching was over Johnasen’s “fitness.” He missed the team’s next game with an illness.
Tortorella didn’t give a reason why Johansen saw the bench on Tuesday, but he was clearly frustrated with his team’s offensive effort against Dallas. “We had probably over 20 scoring chances in that game. But we don’t score,” he said.
“We had chances. That was our whole mindset tonight: To have some sort of arrogance to our game,” he continued. “When I first came here, our first five, six, seven games, our pinching was there, our forechecking was there, our arrogance was there.”
Tortorella said frustration builds when the team works hard and doesn’t get results. “It comes down to getting a reward for your hard work, and we don’t score,” he said.
And in Johansen’s case, you don’t play.
This is just more fuel to the fire that Johansen isn’t long for the Blue Jackets, even as Columbus fans feel that the chatter is overblown.
Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
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