May 20, 2013, 10:29 AM EDT
The Columbus Blue Jackets are giving Ryan Johansen some tough love.
Johansen, the club’s first-round pick (fourth overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, was made a healthy scratch for Game 4 of AHL Springfield’s second-round sweep at the hands of Syracuse.
What’s more, Springfield’s coach said that Blue Jackets management was on board with the decision.
“They were here; they saw it,” Brad Larsen told the Columbus Dispatch about Johansen’s benching. [Blue Jackets coach] Todd Richards was here [Blue Jackets GM] Jarmo Kekalainen was here. [Blue Jackets assistant GM] Chris MacFarland was here. They saw it. They recognized it.
“Accountability is going up in Columbus. It’s all about performance and what you’re doing to help your teammates. It’s that way down here, too. Has to be.”
Johansen had just one assist and went an ugly minus-8 in the first three games of the series.
It’s not the first time he’s received this sort of “punishment” from the organization — in early February, he was demoted to Springfield after Richards said his game went downhill — but it is a tad surprising to see it happen now.
Johansen is only 20 years old and seemed to respond to the February demotion, finishing the year with 12 points.
He also scored a crucial game-winning goal in a 4-3 win over San Jose in Columbus’ third-last game of the year, a huge victory to keep the BJs in playoff contention.
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