Well, that escalated quickly.

Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on Tuesday started a media firestorm by publicly decrying the negotiation tactics that unsigned forward Ryan Johansen and his agent Kurt Overhardt used to try and get a new contract.

Bad enough, right?

Today, it got worse.

In an interview with The Columbus Dispatch, Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson took a big step toward potentially widening the impasse between the two sides, calling Overhardt's tactics "extortion," and referring to the negotiations as "embarrassing" and "absurd."

"It makes no sense," Davidson said, Wednesday. "When you see the numbers that are thrown at us, we shouldn't even respond. That's how bad it is. It's embarrassing. And if the kid sits out (of training camp), he sits out.

"I wonder if the agent is going to pay him his money back that he's going to lose by sitting out."

Overhardt has reportedly been looking to players like Steven Stamkos in Tampa Bay, as well as Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in Chicago, as measuring sticks by which to figure out a deal.

Davidson and the organization seem determined not to give in to Johansen's contract demands, even if that means the player will miss training camp or the beginning of the season.

"We've got Boone Jenner who can move to the middle. We've got (Brandon) Dubinsky, who can move up a spot," Davidson said. "Nothing changes for us (if Johansen's not there). We're not a team that has to get on our knees to beg people to play for us. It's not going to happen."

But Davidson also seems to genuinely like Johansen and said the club won't consider a trade.

"Absolutely not; he's a good guy and a good player," Davidson said when asked about the possibility of moving the young forward. "But you can't sit here and have the Stamkos and the Toews and the Kane thrown at us.

"He's a good player, but he's not Stamkos and he's not Towes and he's not Kane, at least not yet. He's not."

Overhardt did his best to (somewhat passive aggressively) avoid fanning the flames while speaking to The Hockey News.

"Instead of focusing on personal attacks and innuendo, the most important thing for us is to work in good faith to come to an understanding to make Ryan Johansen a Blue Jacket for years to come. Ryan is committed to playing his role to help the organization continue to build a winning tradition and he has a great deal of respect for his teammates, coaches, ownership and management."