Patrik Laine apologized to Winnipeg Jets linemate Bryan Little for comments in a Finnish newspaper this week that appeared to be critical of him, Little said Thursday.

"He was saying sorry and apologizing for just the way I think it was interpreted, which I kind of understood before I even talked to him," said Little, who said he called Laine after receiving a text from him. "I know Patty well enough to know that he's not someone that's going to purposely say negative things, especially about his teammates."

Laine, an unsigned restricted free agent who has missed the first six days of training camp, appeared to be criticizing Little when he said he wanted to play on Winnipeg's top line.

"When I'm negotiating a new contract, I always want to know who I'll be playing with," Laine told Iltalehti in remarks published Tuesday. "With my merits, I would play with the best elsewhere. Everybody who understands something about hockey knows that.

"There are the top lines and then there has been our line. I'll play with whomever I'm told to."

Little has been Laine's center during much of Laine's three seasons with Winnipeg, frequently on the second line with Nikolaj Ehlers, though in the past two seasons Laine has also played with centers Paul Stastny (now with the Vegas Golden Knights) and Adam Lowry, and had stretches on the top line with center Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler.