Since John Tortorella was named head coach of the Blue Jackets on Oct. 21, he has known only one starting goaltender: Sergei Bobrovsky.
Tortorella gave Bobrovsky a chance to play through his struggles and re-establish his game with seven consecutive starts beginning Oct. 22 in Minnesota and carrying through last night's win at STAPLES Center -- and in the last two starts, Bobrovsky has done some of his finest work, making 41 saves in San Jose and 31 in Los Angeles.
Tonight, Bobrovsky will get a well-deserved night off.
Curtis McElhinney makes his third start of the season and first since Oct. 20 against the New York Islanders at Nationwide Arena, when he gave the Blue Jackets a fighting chance to win despite a lackluster effort in front of him.
First thing's first: it is ridiculously late, and I'm tired, so please pardon any typos and nonsensical ramblings.
**There shouldn't be any typos because part of my job is self-editing, but I trust you'll have my back.
After another solid, gritty performance, the Blue Jackets have back-to-back wins to start the California swing. This time, it was a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings (one of the hottest teams in the NHL) at STAPLES Center, a building the Blue Jackets hadn't won in since Jan. 7, 2012, when Scott Arniel was the head coach.
I wrote this in my post-game story tonight, but one of the things John Tortorella has said repeatedly since taking over is that this team needs to bear down and do things together. One of his core beliefs is the team concept, doing things as a five-man unit, and against a hard, physical team like the Kings, you're going to need that type of effort.
Facing a big, physical team like the Los Angeles Kings, it appears as though John Tortorella wants to get one of his big, physical players back in the mix.
Dalton Prout did not play in Tuesday's 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks, one of the team's most complete performances of the young season.
The matchup is a significant part of it, and Tortorella is banking on Prout's size and strength down low to be an asset in terms of the Blue Jackets winning the puck battles -- an element that Tortorella has repeatedly singled out as a key area of improvement for his team.
We'll have full pre-game comments from Tortorella coming in a bit, but here's how the Blue Jackets are expected to align tonight at STAPLES Center (10:30 p.m., FOX Sports Ohio/97.1 FM)...
Good afternoon, friends. Hope "California Week" is treating you well so far.
It's certainly been good to the Blue Jackets early on, picking up a 5-2 win in a tough building on Tuesday night. There was plenty to be encouraged by, starting with a stellar performance from Sergei Bobrovsky (41 saves, including a couple of wowzers) and extending all the way through the lineup. What we saw last night is the type of game John Tortorella expects from his team every single night, so it was definitely a building block.
As the season goes on, I'll drop in here from time to time and offer my thoughts and observations. If you agree, tell me, and if you don't, don't.
I'm kidding. Tweet me (@RobMixer) and tell me I'm wrong. I'm used to it.
Here's what I liked about and learned from the Blue Jackets' win in San Jose...
It certainly looks as though the Blue Jackets must deal with another injury to one of their forwards.
Already without Alexander Wennberg on the first leg of this three-game swing through California, there's a possibility they could be down another. David Clarkson left Tuesday's 5-2 win at SAP Center in San Jose in the third period after an awkward collision with Sharks center Joe Thornton.
Clarkson was back-checking and tracking Thornton up the ice when they got tangled up at the Columbus blue line. Clarkson fell to the ice and spun toward the boards, and was in visible discomfort as he skated back to the bench.
A few minutes later, he headed down the tunnel to the Blue Jackets dressing room and did not return.
Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin has played in over 750 NHL games, so at age 32, nothing really surprises him.
New head coach John Tortorella decided to make him a healthy scratch for the team’s previous two games against Washington and Winnipeg (2-1 and 3-2 defeats), but tonight in San Jose, the veteran blueliner is back in the lineup.
No hard feelings either way. Tyutin wasn’t playing well and this is part of the business, but he will be looked upon to provide a steady presence tonight against a Sharks team that always plays hard and fast in its own building. On the not-so-good front, center Alexander Wennberg won’t play tonight due to a lower body injury.
- Sergei Bobrovsky will start tonight. No word yet on the Jackets' goaltending plans for the upcoming back-to-back in Los Angeles and Anaheim later this week.
- Jared Boll will be in the lineup once again tonight.
PHILADELPHIA -- The Plymouth Whalers (OHL) own Sonny Milano's Canadian junior rights, but it does not appear that he'll be wearing their jersey this fall.
Originally recruited by Notre Dame - Milano committed and then de-committed from the Fighting Irish - Boston College and legendary coach Jerry York swooped in and persuaded him to sign on in Chestnut Hill. There had been a few reports that Milano would reconsider his commitment to Boston College if his drafted team preferred otherwise, but Milano said tonight that he's planning to go to college.
PHILADELPHIA -- The Blue Jackets will officially begin the NHL Draft with seven picks.
Anaheim had until the start of the first round (approximately 7 p.m. ET) to notify Columbus whether it planned to keep the 38th overall pick - originally obtained by the Blue Jackets in the Marian Gaborik trade.