It appears that Patrik Laine waited for the Columbus Blue Jackets to axe head coach John Tortorella before getting in a couple of parting shots on his old bench boss.
While recently speaking with aamulehti.fi, a Finnish media outlet, Laine professed that it was difficult for him to produce in Columbus because of Tortorella’s coaching style.
“I guess everyone must have rules, but of course, you always hope that you will be able to use your strengths,” Laine said as translated by the Columbus Dispatch. “Tortorella did not give freedom to anyone. Forwards want to create offensively. You have to ‘cheat’ a bit if you want to become a goal king. It is not possible if the coaches think differently. But I do as they tell me.”
Tortorella is known as a hard-nosed, defense-first coach while Laine is known for his flashy play in the offensive zone and his less-than-stellar efforts defensively. The two predictably clashed as evidenced by the multiple times Tortorella benched the Finnish star during their brief time together.
Laine criticized his ex-coach even further to the outlet.
“I understand the need for a tight system, but all players are different,” Laine said. “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.”
The comments contradict an earlier statement from Laine, as shortly after the season ended he said that his own play was the reason for his lack of production.
Despite scoring 28 goals and 63 points with the Winnipeg Jets through 68 games in 2019-20, Laine recorded just 10 goals and 21 points in 45 contests with the Blue Jackets this season while adding two goals and an assist in his lone game with the Jets before being dealt.
I’ve got a feeling that Tortorella, who’s still searching for a job this offseason, likely won’t put Laine’s name down as a reference on his resume.
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