Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen was reminded Wednesday night that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And the reminder came in most bizarre fashion.
Johansen, 24, was lined up for a neutral zone faceoff just outside the Nashville zone during the Predators’ tilt against the Anaheim Ducks. Standing across from Antoine Vermette, Johansen seemingly pointed out to linesman Shandor Alphonso how the Ducks’ pivot was set up off center. Instead of Vermette moving, Johansen shifted away from the faceoff dot to mimic Vermette and it appeared that Alphonso didn’t take too kindly to Johansen’s actions, booting him from the dot.
After his ejection from the faceoff, Johansen set up on the wing, but his objections apparently didn’t end once he was lined up in the spot previously occupied by James Neal. Instead of dropping the puck, Alphonso turned around to address Johansen, which resulted in referee Kelly Sutherland getting involved and eventually led to Johansen taking a seat in the penalty box:
The call on the ice was unsportsmanlike conduct, though it will probably never be known exactly what went on between Johansen and Alphonso before the minor penalty was handed out by Sutherland. However, Johansen paid the price with more than just penalty minutes.
It didn’t help matters that Anaheim almost immediately rubbed salt in the wound by way of a Jakob Silfverberg power play goal a mere 10 seconds after Johansen took the penalty, but by the time the Predators center got back to the bench, he didn’t see another second of ice time until the start of the third frame. That’s a half-period benching for taking a bad penalty.
Incredibly, though, this isn’t the first time Johansen has found himself in this situation. During a game midway through the 2015-16 season against the Winnipeg Jets, Johansen was hit with an unsportsmanlike call for getting angry with a linesman for failing to drop the puck during a faceoff.
“The linesman’s job on a faceoff is to drop the puck,” Johansen said at the time, via the Tennessean’s Adam Vingan. “I didn’t say anything to hurt his feelings. I actually wish I said something else. I don’t want to get in trouble for saying anything. It’s a tough play. We’ve got our empty net, one-goal game late in the game like that, it’s pretty wild to get a penalty for getting mad at him for just not dropping the puck.”
But after getting tagged a second time for faceoff frustrations, don’t be surprised if Johansen is physically holding his tongue next time around.
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