Torts says healthy scratch will ‘reset’ Johansen; Kekalainen supports decision


So, it’s official — the Columbus Blue Jackets are making Ryan Johansen a healthy scratch tonight in Arizona.

“He’s an important guy to our organization,” head coach John Tortorella explained, per the Dispatch. “This is a reset for him, in understanding what we’re looking for, not just in the points but in the play.

“You can’t look at it as a punishment, it’s part of the process for him.”

The decision to park Johansen comes 48 hours after Tortorella benched the 23-year-old for the entire third period of Tuesday’s 5-1 loss to Dallas.

Johansen finished the game 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.”

Some pundits questioned Tortorella’s methodology, but it’s important to note two things.

One, Johansen, according to the Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline, put forth a very questionable effort against Dallas:

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.

Two, it’s pretty obvious Torts isn’t going rogue:

How this plays out will be fascinating. If the tear-him-down-and-build-him-back-up approach works, Johansen could “grow” from this and become a more well-rounded player.

If it fails, it’s hard to see how this situation doesn’t end with a trade out of Columbus.