Despite being more than 6000 km away from the nearest NHL city training with SC Bern in Switzerland, Patrik Laine is definitely not out of site, out of mind. He continues to make headlines, this time with statements he made to a Finnish reporter about his line mates with the Jets. Click on the hyperlink to read the article from TSN.
#NHLJets Laine tells @PekkaJalonen "When you're having contract negotiations, one thing always is who are you playing with. With the merits I have, somewhere else I'd have an opportunity to play with the best players. Everybody who understands hockey knows that." 1/2— Rick Ralph (@RickRalphTSN) September 17, 2019
#NHLJets Laine adds to @PekkaJalonen "There are top lines and then there is our line. But I play with the guys I'm told to play." Pekka's story https://t.co/9gPo5GcUHn Thanks to Pekka for translation.— Rick Ralph (@RickRalphTSN) September 17, 2019
There are a few things that stand out about his statements. First, he’s correct that in a contract negotiation there is a consideration of who you typically play with, and where you are perceived in the line up. In short, a first line player typically gets paid more than a second line player.
However, contract negotiations aside, I’m not sure that making comments that could be perceived as disparaging about the players you played with is ever a good idea. “There are top lines, and then there is our line” and “But I play with the guys I’m told to play” isn’t really a glowing endorsement of Nikolaj Ehlers, Bryan Little, Adam Lowry, Kyle Connor … or anyone not named Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. If I were one of those players I would have some “ruffled feathers” lining up with Laine when he returns with a brand new big money contract.
Fans and media love Laine’s candor, but, at times perhaps discretion is called for. He doesn’t seem to have that filter in place.
Please share your thoughts. Are we overreacting? Will it just be water under the bridge when he comes back? Or will he have some explaining to do when he returns to his team?