With his Columbus Blue Jackets down three to the Dallas Stars late in the second period Tuesday, head coach John Tortorella decided if there was any hope of a comeback, they'd do it without Ryan Johansen.
For the second time since Tortorella's hiring Oct. 21, Johansen was benched, not appearing in the final 3:38 of the second period before riding the pine for the entire final frame.
"That was coach's decision. No explanation. I just didn't play him," Tortorella said following the team's eventual 5-1 loss. Johansen was on the ice for a pair of Dallas goals and went without a shot on goal in just over 11 minutes of ice time.
The 23-year-old forward also sat for the final six minutes of Tortorella's debut as coach for not being in shape. He missed the team's next game due to illness.
It's a surprising rift between the coach and - arguably - the team's most important player, who's having another strong season with 22 points in 31 games, following a pair of 60-plus point campaigns.
Rumors have surfaced that general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has listened to trade interest for the center, but for the Blue Jackets' sake, let's hope all parties can work out their differences to somewhat salvage yet another disappointing year at Nationwide Arena.