Bryan Little knew the answer well before the question was finished. Then, just as the last words exited the reporter’s mouth, he jumped right in — helmet first.
Are the expectations too high for Patrik Laine?
"Absolutely. He’s one of those guys that if he doesn’t score in a few games, he’s really down on himself," the veteran Winnipeg Jets centreman said. "He feels like he should be scoring every night."
For a team facing high expectations, both from inside the locker room and from fans that follow the Jets’ every move, perhaps no one is expected to do more than Laine. Little knows it and is quick to defend his teammate.
"He kind of put it on himself with how good he was and how much he scored right off the bat and now people expect multiple five-goal games, which is super unrealistic," said Little. "But that’s what people expect."
Laine, a 20-year-old winger with a deadly shot, has produced some of the franchise’s most jaw-dropping highlights. Moments like on Nov. 24 against the St. Louis Blues, when Laine scored five goals on five shots, in what was his third hat trick in as many weeks.