Blue Jackets’ Patrik Laine takes aim at John Tortorella for last season’s difficulties

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May 8, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Patrik Laine (29) skates against the Detroit Red Wings in the 1st period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Patrik Laine took aim at his former head coach, John Tortorella. Apparently, speaking in his native tongue has him singing a new tune. In a recent interview with Finnish news outlet Aamulehti he told them how he was used was “stupid” and Torts didn’t allow him to be himself.

A much different song than he sang during his exit interview.

Laine then versus Laine now

There was a lot of buzz for Laine coming over from the Jets for Pierre-Luc Dubois. Torts and Dubois had a very public falling out which led to expediting his trade request. All was going to be better now that Laine was coming in. Well, it didn’t take long for Laine to ride the pine too.

In a 3-2 win against the Hurricanes in February Laine didn’t see another shift from the late second period on. “That’s going to stay in-house,” John Tortorella said. “It’s what I feel I need to do. The last thing I want to do is bench a player.” Torts also clarified it wasn’t based on one play.

patrik laine contract
Patrik Laine benched (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Laine admitted at the time he was responsible as it turned out he mouthed off disrespectfully Brad Larsen.

At the end of the season, Patrik Laine self-reflected on his game and took responsibility for his not up to par play. “No matter who you are, or how much money you make, you will be benched,” he realized under Torts. When asked if he would do better under a different coach Laine responded, “it’s not the system’s fault, it’s mine. It doesn’t matter who is behind the bench – I need to play better.”

Apparently, that feeling didn’t last long.

Laine takes aim at Torts

“I understand the need for a tight system, but all players are different,” Laine explained via a Columbus Dispatch translation. “I do not even want to be like everyone else. I am who I am and do things my way. Everyone should be given the opportunity to be themselves. Then, of course, you have to play within the team’s system. I think it’s stupid not to use my potential. But then it’s another matter what the coaches think.” 

Regardless of who is to blame here, Laine needs to be better.

In 46 games, the 23 year old sniper only scored 12 times and added 12 helpers. Way off the pace of the 44 goals he scored in sophomore season. Laine is also an RFA with arbitration rights and is hoping to stay in Columbus.

“I really haven’t thought about the contract negotiations,” Laine told Aamulehti. “I hope I can stay in Columbus. I already got traded once.”