Johnny Gaudreau benched and called out by coach on Saturday.
Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports  

Johnny Gaudreau benched and called out by coach on Saturday.

Johnny Hockey is not having the start to the season that his coach wants to see from him.

Jonathan Larivee

In the modern era of sports it can be difficult for coaches to send a message to star level players given the amount of power a player can wield within a franchise, and that is especially true of first time or rookie head coaches. Someone it would seem forgot to give Pascal Vincent that memo.

On Saturday night, the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who only inherited that role following the controversy involving previous head coach Mike Babcock, sent a very loud and very public message to one of the top stars on his roster.

The Blue Jackets suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals on Saturday night but in spite of the fact that the game was relatively close, star forward Johnny Gaudreau was benched for nearly the entire third period. Gaudreau, who has 1 goal and 4 assists for a total of 5 points through the first 11 games of the season, was benched for the final 16:04 of the third period despite the game still being within reach.

Vincent, who clearly isn't going to let the fact that this is his first ever foray in the National Hockey League as a head coach rattle him, explained that Gaudreau was simply not playing up to expectations.

"I'm coaching a team and the guys that are going are going to play," said Vincent when asked about benching Gaudreau during the game. "It's everything is earned and when the game starts, it's not about your name, it's about what's in front of your jersey and who we believe are going to give us a chance to win. And we know Johnny can make a difference when he's skating and when he's involved, but tonight I felt he wasn't there. So, we're going to play the guys that are playing. It doesn't matter who you are. It's about the Blue Jackets and I didn't like his game."

It was a bold move by Vincent and one clearly intended to motivate a player that he feels isn't holding up his end of the bargain. Whether or not his decision to publicly call out one of his top stars will have the desired effect remains to be seen.