Jacob Trouba was one of the more highly anticipated rookies coming into the 2013-14 campaign as evidenced by the fact that he was invited to the United States’ Olympic orientation camp in August even before he made his NHL debut.
The 19-year-old defenseman’s first campaign took an unfortunate turn when he missed a check on St. Louis’ Jordan Leopold and instead crashed into the end boards. He has missed a little over a month with a neck injury as a result.
The Winnipeg Jets might get him back as early as Monday though, just in time for the start of their six-game road trip.
“It’s their call. I want to play. I feel like I’m ready to play. It’s out of my hands,” Trouba told the Winnipeg Sun. “It’s been a rough month and however long it’s been for me. I’m not used to not playing, so I’m excited to get back in there, hopefully pretty soon.”
Prior to the injury, Trouba was averaging 21:16 minutes per contest and had two points in eight games. Blueliner Julian Melchiori has been sent to the AHL in anticipation for Trouba’s return.
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: