First call: John Tortorella gives too much info on Artemi Panarin’s stomach issues |
Breakfast With Benz

First call: John Tortorella gives too much info on Artemi Panarin’s stomach issues

Tim Benz
Blue Jackets’ Artemi Panarin plays against the New York Islanders on Feb. 14, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio.

In Wednesday’s “First Call,” John Tortorella clears up some messy speculation about one of his players. Trevor Lawrence is a little too physical during an intramural game. Dirk Nowitzki gets deep on the topic of “heightism.”

We get the point, coach

Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella is nothing if not blunt.

Star forward Artemi Panarin didn’t dress for the Blue Jackets’ game against Montreal on Tuesday. That fueled speculation that Panarin may be on the way out as part of a trade.

Tortorella tried to clip that storyline as quickly as possible with a rather graphic description of Panarin’s illness which kept him off the ice.

OK, coach. I’ll buy that.

As for the game, Montreal won 3-2. So that result, coupled with the Penguins’ win in New Jersey last night, means that the Blue Jackets have fallen behind Pittsburgh for the Metropolitan Division’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot.

The Pens are up to 71 points after their 4-3 win in Newark. The Blue Jackets are stuck on 69 points after the loss. The Canadiens also moved up to 71 points.

So Montreal holds the first wild-card slot, and the Blue Jackets hold the other.


The Devils!

It was “90s Night” in New Jersey for the Penguins-Devils game Wednesday. The Pens won 4-3.

But the Devils had their fun before the game. Because the team’s number one fictional fan was on hand: Puddy from “Seinfeld.”

Yes, actor Patrick Warburton was in attendance to reprise his role for the 90s Night audience. He even dropped the puck.

And there were epic Puddy bobbleheads.

But, much like his trip to Norway with Elaine, not everything was smooth for Puddy.

That was like a “bizzaro” Marc-Andre Fleury faceplant in Detroit back in 2008. It was all for a good cause, though. Warburton refused an appearance fee and asked for any money to be donated to St. Jude’s Hospital.

Whoa, Tiger!

Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence kept his cool during the college football championship game. He lost his cool during an intramural basketball game.

It appears as if Lawrence doesn’t appreciate getting screened.

Lawrence eventually apologized online for shoving the other player to the floor. But he also defended himself by saying the other kid was trash talking the whole game and was basically asking for it.

Ultimately, he took the comments down. No word on who won the game, or if Lawrence eventually fouled out.

Swing from your heels

Wow. Starling Marte’s swing still looks a little wild in spring training.

This kid has a long way to go before he becomes the next Manny Machado. He may need to make better contact before he gets $300 million.

That said, this at bat went just about as well as many of Kevin Newman’s last year. Yet he bounced right back up to take another hack.

Interesting thought

NBA star Dirk Nowitzki — at 7 feet tall — posed this philosophical question on Twitter.

No, Dirk. No, you can’t. And don’t start. Because, um, I just don’t think that would be very nice. That’s all.

Not that I’m looking out for anyone in particular or anything.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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