The Torts-Johansen relationship continues to deteriorate


Since John Tortorella took over for Todd Richards in Columbus, star center Ryan Johnansen has been told he’s out of shape, sent away from the club for a few games (to deal with a mystery illness) and demoted to the fourth line.

Now, he’s been benched.

Johansen didn’t play a single shift in the third period of Tuesday’s 5-1 loss to Dallas, and finished with a season-low 11:03 TOI.

“That was coach’s decision,” Tortorella explained, per the club website. “No explanation. I just didn’t play him.”

Knee-jerk reactions to this focused largely on Tortorella, because it’s Tortorella.

But for further context, do consider what the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline wrote about Johansen’s “effort.”

Johansen played a lethargic first two periods. Many of his passes were way off-line, and there were several neutral-zone turnovers and failed clearing attempts.

I’ve seen suburbanites skate harder on the Columbus Zoo’s holiday pond.

I’ve mentioned this a few times, but it bears repeating — Johansen is a client of agent Kurt Overhardt. Some of Overhardt’s other clients include Kyle Turris (who forced a trade out of Arizona) and Ryan Kesler (who reportedly forced a trade from Vancouver, which Overhardt later denied).

Knowing that, now consider the existing contention between the Johansen camp and Columbus prior to the Tortorella hire — Johansen’s now-infamous holdout, which cost him all of the 2014 preseason.

Doesn’t this situation sound like one that’ll end with a “fresh start?”

Related: Welcome Ryan Johansen to the trade rumor mill