First thing's first: Ryan Johansen will be back in the Blue Jackets lineup tonight.
John Tortorella can't say it enough that scratching players is never the go-to option and should, in most scenarios, be considered a last resort. But there were things in Johansen's game that both coach and player admitted were trending in the wrong direction, so the decision was to sit him for Thursday's game in Arizona.
In the time between Thursday and now, the coaching staff spent time with Johansen reviewing video, going over shifts and then translating that into what they expect from him. Tortorella considered it a "reset" for his 23-year-old center, and he's expecting a positive response form Johansen tonight.
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella (jokingly?) alluded on Monday morning that he wasn’t even sure of his rookie goaltender’s last name.
It didn’t take long before Joonas Korpisalo made a profound impact on not only the bench boss, but the rest of the team.
He was confident, calm and embraced the stage of his first career start against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 21-year-old Finn got into the game right away, making a big stop on Lightning sniper Nikita Kucherov and also robbing Alex Killorn on a breakaway.
Korpisalo, called up on an emergency basis with Sergei Bobrovsky nursing a groin strain, didn’t get the win in his NHL debut, but he did enough to earn himself another start tonight.
The Blue Jackets are a young team, and several players can vividly recall the feelings and emotions that Joonas Korpisalo is likely experiencing today.
The 21-year-old Korpisalo, called up from Lake Erie (AHL) last week in the wake of Sergei Bobrovsky’s groin injury, will make his NHL debut tonight when the Blue Jackets face the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nationwide Arena.
With another set of back-to-back games on tap – Tampa Bay tonight and then tomorrow night against the Dallas Stars – John Tortorella wanted to get Korpisalo a start in one of the two games while also giving Curtis McElhinney a night off. Tonight’s game and the scheduling behind it seemed to make sense, and thus Korpisalo gets the call tonight with the Blue Jackets needing two points in the worst way.
“Consistency” is the word most often used in sports when a team struggles. The team isn’t consistently playing at a high level, or isn’t consistently doing what it needs to do to achieve the desired result.
Count the Blue Jackets in that camp. They’ve been searching for a way to bottle their play from performances such as last Saturday's win in Philadelphia and a couple of weeks ago against Pittsburgh (among others), and turn those into the expectation or the standard.
There have been too many games like Florida and Los Angeles – both in the last 10 days – that are cause for pause and, in some cases, concern.
“To become consistent, it is a constant preparation mentally, understanding your team concept, buying into your team concept and consistently working at good habits,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said this morning.
The Blue Jackets have points in each of their last three games, but only one of those is a victory.
And the process to earn those points has been a wild pattern of inconsistency that’s got coach John Tortorella flummoxed. Why does a strong performance in Montreal get answered by a lackluster effort against Florida, let alone on home ice?
Why does a complete, 60-minute game against the Flyers get followed up by a game on Tuesday against the Kings in which they were fortunate to secure a single point?
Tortorella doesn’t have the answers yet, but in some cases, that’s okay. The Blue Jackets are by and large a young team that’s still finding their way, but their trend of peaks and valleys could use some smoothing out if they’re going to claw their way back into the conversation.
So, does the coach have an idea of where his team stands entering this game?
The Blue Jackets got their news on Sergei Bobrovsky this afternoon, and it's not very good.
Bobrovsky, who left Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Kings with 5:35 left in regulation, was to be re-evaluated by team medical personnel today. It was determined, after said evaluation, that Bobrovsky will miss three weeks with a lower body injury, GM Jarmo Kekalainen said tonight.
Prior to leaving the game against the Kings, Bobrovsky had made 33 saves on 34 shots and was the sole reason that Columbus hung around in the game and carried a lead into the third period.
His 27-save performance in Saturday's win over the Flyers boosted his record to 4-1-0 with a .947 save percentage in his last five starts, continuing an impressive rebound after an uncharacteristic slow start to the 2015-16 season.
The Blue Jackets had no business getting even a point out of Tuesday's game without the services of their No. 1 goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky.
He made several incredible saves, some that he didn't even see, to keep Columbus ahead by the slimmest of margins deep into regulation. With over 14 minutes gone by in the third period and his team leading 2-1, Bobrovsky was up to 33 saves as the Los Angeles Kings spent most of the game in his end of the ice.
And with less than six minutes left (5:35 to be exact), he had to leave the game.
After the Blue Jackets had iced the puck, head athletic trainer Mike Vogt jumped off the bench and went to visit Bobrovsky. A minute or so of consultation later, Bobrovsky left the ice with Vogt, went down the tunnel and did not return.
Should it surprise you that Don Cherry considers Boone Jenner to be his type of player? Not really.
The former NHL coach and current Hockey Night in Canada personality has had plenty of good things to say about Jenner dating back to his junior hockey days, but this past weekend, Cherry made sure to mention the Blue Jackets' leading scorer on "Coach's Corner."
Host Ron MacLean teed him up and Cherry closed out the segment with his assessment of Jenner's game. In the video above, this begins around the 6:00 mark with Cherry breaking down the timeliness of his goals, his resiliency after a back injury last season, and then MacLean chimes in with a compliment of his own.
Watch the video to hear Cherry and MacLean's comments in full.
The Blue Jackets head into Wells Fargo Center tonight looking to salvage yet another set of back-to-back games.
It’s not an excuse nor is it an out, but merely something they have to deal with as they keeping plugging away at the early hole they dug for themselves. No sense hanging your head after a shootout loss to Florida last night, as coach John Tortorella would say, just get back on the horse and get back to work.
Here’s the task at hand: the Philadelphia Flyers are red-hot, entering tonight’s game on a four-game winning streak after an overtime win over New Jersey last night.
Yes, the offense is struggling for Columbus – so it should be no surprise that they’ll make some changes tonight and get some bodies back in the lineup.
Yes, the Blue Jackets are struggling offensively -- but that cannot change their approach and commitment in the defensive end, according to John Tortorella.
They squandered multiple opportunities in Montreal (a 2-1 loss on Tuesday) and had their share of chances last weekend in St. Louis, but their defensive game has been solid and the goaltending of Sergei Bobrovsky has alleviated some breakdowns along the way.
One thing they want to get going is the power play, which did not score, or really threaten, during a five-minute venture on Tuesday and came up empty in the third period against St. Louis. In tight games, in the third period, special teams make a difference and have a hand in whether you climb the ladder or hang tight.
The Blue Jackets want to make sure they're climbing.
"This happens to a lot of teams," Tortorella said. "It's a tough league to score in. You just hope they feel good about themselves, make some plays and it goes in the other direction for them."