NHL Rumors: Patrik Laine benched for mouthing off, COVID threatens season, and more

patrik laine trade
Feb 7, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Patrik Laine (29) celebrates a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday’s news was dominated with the benching of Patrik Laine by John Tortorella in Columbus. That sent rampant speculation that maybe Torts was seeking a way out from the Blue Jackets himself. I wrote that was unlikely and this latest report confirms that.

NHL Rumors: Patrik Laine mouthed off to a coach

Aaron Portzline is reporting today that the reason why Patrik Laine was benched was for “verbally disrespecting a member of the coaching staff.” Per the report, this was confirmed by sources with knowledge of what happened and not directly by Torts or the team. Pierre LeBrun noted that Jarmo Kekalainen provided “no comment” on the incident.

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

This falls in line with what John Tortorella told reporters after the benching in a game the Jackets won. “I know you guys are going to try to work me on that,” Torts said. “No, it wasn’t because of the missed assignment. There’s a number of things that come into play with that. That’ll stay in the locker room.”

Well now the word is out and it will be interesting to see how the two sides come away with it. Jack Roslovic who was Laine’s teammate in Winnipeg had this to say about the benching.

“I know he’s probably going to be one of the best players in our next game, if not the best,” Roslovic said. “He’s a tough kid. He’s gonna bounce back hard, and I think they’ll squash whatever they have (that’s an issue) and it’ll be behind us.”

The Athletic

NHL Rumors: COVID postponements could threaten the season

It’s been talked about before, but Pierre LeBrun is casually urging fans to keep an eye on points percentage to determine standings. There’s been whispers that the league may be forced to reduce the 56 game schedule significantly.

NHL looking at more COVID protocols

On the latest TSN Insider Trading, it was mentioned that due to the latest postponements to the Flyers the league is opening up discussions about COVID protocols. This would include at-home testing for family, more mask protocols, and even further testing to determine the strain of COVID.