Ryan Johansen says he has no one to blame but himself after the Columbus Blue Jackets made him a surprise healthy scratch.
Johansen is second in scoring for the Blue Jackets this season, and was the MVP in last year’s NHL All-Star game, but that hasn’t stopped coach John Tortorella giving him the same treatment as fellow stars Scott Hartnell and Fedor Tyutin and taking him out of the line-up.
However, Johansen insists it is a reasonable call after acknowledging a dip in his performances of late.
"It's been brewing for a while," he admitted. "Since the last game in Dallas, I made a few mistakes [that] we've been going over as a team, things we have to erase from our game.
“Full responsibility. My fault. It’s the way we want to point our team in the right direction, how we want to carry ourselves as an organization, as a hockey club.
"When you’re not doing your job, you have to learn from it. Look at some of the veteran guys who have been taken out of the lineup as well – Tyuts and Hartsy – it’s trying to find ways to come together as a club and play as a group on the ice."
Despite what could be perceived as a high-profile humiliation, Tortorella says the decision has been taken with Johansen’s best interests at heart.
"He’s an important guy to our organization," said Tortorella. "Let’s not kid ourselves, he’s a very important guy.
“It’s just a reset for him, in understanding – trying to have him understand – what we’re looking for, not just in the points but in the play.
"He’s 23 years old. I think people expect so much out of these guys at such a young age.
“You can’t look at it as a punishment; it’s part of the process for him. I think it’ll be a good day for him. We'll show him some video, show him some of the things we’re looking for."