Blue Jackets: John Tortorella needs to stop benching Patrik Laine

The Columbus Blue Jackets have now lost three straight games as they are still trying to put the pieces together to field a competitive team on the ice. As always when it comes to professional sports, the head coach of a team is responsible for putting together strategies, game plans, and keep player morale high to deliver a winning product.

Whether or not you enjoy what head coach John Tortorella brings to the team, many Blue Jackets fans can agree that it doesn’t make sense to be inconsistent when it comes to handling players. Such is the case with left winger Patrik Laine and everything that has been going on with the Blue Jackets from the moment he arrived. We all know that sometimes Laine can be a lot to handle inside and outside the locker room but in the grand scheme of things, there is no denying his ability to be a productive player on the ice.

We’ll probably never know what exactly is going down behind the scenes involving the Blue Jackets, Tortorella, and Laine, but the truth of the matter is, he can undoubtedly help the team bounce back. He’s a natural scoring machine that can score goals and add points easily as long as he’s given respectable minutes on ice, especially in overtime situations.

The Blue Jackets need to come up with a final resolution involving Patrik Laine

For whatever reason, Tortorella has been inconsistent when it comes to how he’s handling Laine. If he’s had some disciplinary issues with how he speaks to coaches and teammates, one can see him being benched for a game or two as punishment. Lately, we’ve usually seen Laine start but now Tortorella is benching him during pivotal parts in close hockey games that if Laine had been kept on the ice, could have helped them leave these last few games victorious.

Tortorella has said numerous times so far this season that he doesn’t like benching players but it’s just the nature of the game. Not only is he contradicting himself but it just doesn’t make sense these days if you’re trying to do your best to win hockey games. Why bench a player you know can score in clutch situations while helping his teammates around him thrive?

If Laine truly needs to continue being disciplined for whatever is going on inside the locker room or during game time, that’s one thing. But flip-flopping and being inconsistent with his minutes on ice and completely benching him in close games, overtime situations, or in plays you know Laine will be a difference-maker in, all comes down to poor leadership on Tortorella’s part.

It’s no secret that the Blue Jackets are struggling big time this season. Considering that it’s a short, 56-game season due to the current pandemic, time is of the essence. Benching one of your top players doesn’t make much hockey sense and if it’s just to prove a point because of someone not being a team player or not listening to coaches, then other ways to hold them accountable should be considered.

Tortorella needs to stop benching Laine and either get with other management to have some internal discussions to give one final punishment or simply consider trading him. It serves neither side any good to keep playing these inconsistent games involving Laine’s talents that can help the team turn things around and start winning more hockey games.

You can’t sit one of your top players in not one but two overtime losses fully knowing if he was on the ice with his teammates, you probably would have won. It’s flawed thinking and something that shouldn’t be an ongoing theme this season involving the Blue Jackets, Tortorella, and Laine.

Hopefully, some kind of final resolution happens sooner than later because things will only get tougher as the season progresses. The Blue Jackets can’t keep benching Laine “just cause” and then go silent as to the reasoning behind it. Either come up with a final decision and everyone move on towards the task at hand of winning hockey games or someone has to go. Whether that’s Tortorella or Laine, something needs to be decided now before things continue spiraling out of control.