Ryan Johansen is having a great season with six goals and 20 points in 18 contests, but with his Columbus Blue Jackets trailing the Detroit Red Wings, he spent most of the third period on the bench. That’s because he took a roughing penalty against Kyle Quincey early in the final frame that led to Tomas Jurco scoring a goal to give Detroit a 3-0 lead. The Red Wings went on to win 5-0.
Although ideally you obviously want your best offensive threat on the ice when you’re trying to overcome a deficit, Johansen is the first to defend coach Todd Richards’ decision.
“It was a bad penalty on my part,” Johansen said, per the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline. “I can’t take those. Coach made a good decision, I thought. It is what it is.”
Columbus has fallen to 6-11-1 this season and while injuries have certainly played a big part in the Blue Jackets’ struggles, this is still a disappointing campaign for a team that was hoping to build off of its success last season. Columbus made the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history and won its first postseason contests in its 2014 first-round series against Pittsburgh.
There’s still time for the Blue Jackets to turn their campaign around, but they’ve already found themselves in a significant hole.