Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella was displeased with his captain Nick Foligno after he took a costly hooking penalty during the second period of their game against the San Jose Sharks on Friday.
The Sharks converted with the extra man in what would be the game-winning goal and Torotrella reacted by handing Foligno some extra time on the bench.
“It sucks,” Foligno told reporters after the game. “It’s the worst feeling in the world. You just want to be out there helping your teammates, especially after a mistake. So, that’s a really hard one to sit there and watch but that’s the standard that [Tortorella] has and I have to make sure I’m ready to go tomorrow.
“That’s on me,” he went on to say. “It’s nobody else’s fault.”
So far this season, the 30-year-old has been putting up underwhelming numbers with just nine goals and 12 assists through 51 games. His 21 points put him on pace for 33, which would be his third-worst season, after his first two years in the league (his 19 in the lockout-shortened year in 2012-2013 works out to 34 over the course of 82 games).
By the final whistle, Foligno registered 14:10 time on ice — his second-lowest of the season — well below the 18:59 he is averaging on the year. He failed to etch his name on the scoresheet on Tuesday and has been unable to get a puck in the back of the net over the last seven games.
After both the game and Foligno’s comments, Tortorella told reporters that the benching was not solely due to the hooking penalty, but a “few other things,” and the 59-year-old firecracker of a coach who has coached in the NHL for the better part of 18 years was uninterested in hearing reports of his captain’s words.
“I don’t want to hear any more rhetoric from the players as far as that stuff,” he said.
The Blue Jackets next play on Saturday night, visiting the New York Islanders, and forward Brandon Dubinsky predicts that Foligno will bounce back.