While the Columbus Blue Jackets are busy cooking up line combinations as they join the rest of the NHL in getting preseason action underway, their stars are busy cooking up their own concoctions off the ice.
Patrik Laine, in particular, earned rave reviews from 2023 third-overall draft pick Adam Fantilli for his culinary skills after the 18-year-old spent a few weeks with the Finnish goalscorer over the summer.
“His cooking is unreal, I’m not even gonna lie,” Fantilli recently told BlueJackets.com insider Jeff Svoboda. “He’s a wizard with the air fryer. He made us some pretty good steaks in the air fryer and his chicken was really good, too. The minute rice was also pretty good."
Fantilli shared that he spent a number of weeks with Laine and his girlfriend after he was drafted. The two players found instant chemistry both on and off the ice thanks to their similar background as high picks, and their comparable outlooks on the game.
“I think we communicate really well,” the Canadian pivot said. “I think we think the game similarly. We just want to have a lot of fun. We’re messing around sometimes. I like to have a lot of fun on the bench and joke around a lot. I’m always nudging him or something like that. I think it makes things easier when you are keeping it light.”
Laine, for his part, welcomed Fantilli with open arms, sharing that he viewed it as an opportunity to be a leader and help take his fellow top selection under his wing.
As the second-overall pick in the 2016 draft, Laine said he could relate to the pressures and expectations being placed upon Fantilli ahead of his rookie campaign.
“I just figured with my girlfriend, we’d give him a chance and offer him to stay with us and get more comfortable with the team and how everything works here. We were super happy to have him over. He was such a good guy. Just excited to get to know him more when the season goes on," he said.
As for the grub, Laine let his dry sense of humor do much of the heavy lifting when asked about his penchant for good eats.
"I know it’s not very good,” Laine joked. “He was saying it’s unreal. I’m not sure I should believe him or not. The air fryer is doing most of the work anyways. I can’t mess it up.”
Even if that may be the case, that chemistry over the dinner table certainly seems to be working just fine. The duo combined for a nifty goal during training camp scrimmages last week, while each made their way onto the scoresheet in a split-squad overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.