Johansen heads home from Columbus as talks get even messier

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The Ryan Johansen – Columbus Blue Jackets contract talks are approaching soap opera-levels of drama, as the latest word is that the forward left Columbus for his home in Vancouver on Wednesday.

Amid the spectacle of all of these tense media dealings, Johansen’s agent Kurt Overhardt explained that they’re leaving town … to avoid being a distraction.

”(Our) talks (were) indicating that they weren’t going to allow the player be present at the facility,” Overhardt told The Associated Press. ”We just thought it was a good opportunity that he leave town and not be a distraction to his teammates.”

This situation only seems to escalate.

On Monday, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen made pointed comments about it being “about the team, not one guy.” That seemed surprising enough, yet team president John Davidson aired grievances regarding “extortion” and went the highly unusual route of revealing previous contract offers to the 22-year-old.

Overhardt countered with at least vague threats regarding seeking out an offer sheet … and now we’re here.

These talks seem so tense, it almost feels like the two sides are in an intense playoff battle and aren’t, you know, trying to find a way to secure a promising player’s future with the franchise. That’s how situations like these go, but with all of this out in the open … what happens in the future? Will there be hard feelings on the ice or whenever another contract needs to be hashed out? Could this be a situation like the ugly one between Ryan O’Reilly and Colorado, where many believe that a divorce is inevitable?

Sometimes these situations get patched up when things are at there worst, but sometimes there are serious long-term damages from this business getting too personal.

We’ll see if things get uglier or if (potentially) a little time off does both sides some good.

Of course, if more shrapnel flies from these contentious talks, we’ll let you know.