Patrik Laine Saga: A Never-Ending Hockey Drama

In constant perpetual motion, the career of Patrik Laine has all, but turned into the modern hockey fans daytime television soap opera of the season. It started slow as his time in Winnipeg had some ups, but also some downs. As word spread either he or Winnipeg management wanted him to move out of the organization, the fireworks in this scheduled daytime program were ignited. Fans took sides, households divided, and the debate began. Hockey fans everywhere began to whip out their microscopes to evaluate a kid.

In what has become a hockey fan’s modern-day equivalent to the Twilight Book Series, minus the vampires(unless in reference to Laine you consider either side to be metaphorical vampires), Patrik Laine’s career post-trade to Columbus has the same ingredients. Team Laine fans come out to support this kid’s uncanny shot, goal-scoring ability, absurdly massive frame, slick skating, and solid playmaking. Laine has an unreal talent level and there is really no denying it. He is only 22 years old and has limitless potential in terms of NHL success. He has an opportunity in Columbus to take the reins and drive his team toward success. He needs time to Mesh with his coach.

Then on the other side of the spectrum is the Team Anti-Laine. I personally like to call them the Laine Truthers. I am not entirely sure what this 22-year-old young man did to them, but from the way they talk about him, it must have been awful. The truthers pop up every time Laine plays poorly. The most frequent criticisms are “he doesn’t play defense”, “He plays lazy/He doesn’t care/He doesn’t want to win”, “He is slow”, “His off-ice character is bad”, “He is overrated”, etc. Some complaints are valid, some of Laine Truthers’ complaints are just trying to connect the strings of yarn on their “Laine Is Actually Bad” bulletin board. In all honesty, he is a kid and still has a lot of maturing to do if he wants to lead his team.

Now that Laine is on a Tortorella coached team, the saga has been doused with gasoline and that may ensure it never stops burning. The very recent benching by Torts has been discussed at great length by hockey fans everywhere. Torts is not a bad coach, he is a unique coach though. He can get the absolute best out of some players, and some players can become a shell of their once sky-high ceiling. I am not entirely sure what end of the spectrum Laine will fall under. Part of me really wants to believe that Torts will push Laine to new heights. This part of me thinks Torts will motivate Laine to round out his game and Laine will learn to carry his team to new heights. I would be a fool if I did not also acknowledge that Torts could have the opposite effect on Laine. Laine could react poorly to Tortorella’s tough love. He could lose confidence in himself to be a game-changing presence. He could outright refuse to give his best effort for a coach he does not get along with. Benching top talent players is a dangerous game, but it is still too early to know how Laine will respond to Tortorella’s coaching style.

Ultimately, more time is needed in Laine’s Blue Jackets’ tenure to draw a definitive conclusion. The only thing that is certain is this debate will not stop. The Believers Vs. The Truthers is a battle that will rage until eventually, there is enough evidence to declare a victor. For CBJ’s sake, I hope the believers come out on top. For the Truthers, patience is your ally, if you are right it will be evident in time. For the sake of hockey fans everywhere, get used to this drama because it is not going anywhere for a while.

  • CFTP – B. Driscoll
  • PhotoCred: Getty Images
  • Twitter: @ChirpingPinePod

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