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Blue Jackets’ Laine on late benching: ‘I thought I was playing good’


Patrik Laine has been benched by John Tortorella before, but, this time, he disagrees with his head coach’s assessment of his play.

Following the Columbus Blue Jackets‘ 5-4 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, which sent Laine’s squad to a third straight defeat, the Finnish sniper was asked about riding the pine for the final 6:53 of regulation and all of the extra frame.

“Um, yeah, I got scored on a couple times, but I think the first two — if you take out the one play where the puck was bouncing a little bit and couldn’t get it out and they end up scoring — I thought I was playing good, but, I guess, I thought wrong,” Laine told reporters after the game.

Laine scored on the power play to put the Blue Jackets up by two at 3:23 in the third period, and Columbus led 4-1 early in the frame before the Panthers scored three times to tie the game and Frank Vatrano won it in overtime for Florida.

“I’m tired of losing, and having a 4-1 lead in the third, you just can’t lose those games,” said a visibly upset Laine, who finished with a goal and an assist.

The 22-year-old came into the game having gone seven contests without a point, matching a career-high.

Tortorella’s doghouse isn’t a new environment for Laine, who was benched by the fiery coach during a game near the beginning of February.

But after the incident — when he didn’t see the ice for the final 26 minutes of just his fourth game with the Blue Jackets, following his acquisition in a blockbuster deal with the Winnipeg Jets — Laine was on board with Tortorella’s move.

“If that kind of stuff happens, you deserve to get benched. That’s just the way it is,” Laine said then. “Now we’re past that and just trying to focus on the right things.”

Laine has 12 in 18 games with the Blues Jackets and 15 points in 19 games on the season.



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