Eric Gelinas, R.J. Umberger

Blue Jackets make struggling Umberger a healthy scratch

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With three losses in their last four games, the Columbus Blue Jackets need to turn things around. They decided to shake up their lineup a bit on Saturday, with R.J. Umberger’s healthy scratch serving as the most noteworthy of the two swaps.

Overall, it’s Corey Tropp in for Umberger in the forwards group and Nikita Nikitin in for Nick Schultz on defense, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline. They face the fledgling Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

Out of context, seeing Umberger might be a touch surprising, but his recent numbers argue that it’s more than reasonable. The 31-year-old hasn’t collected a point in five straight games and only has one (a goal on March 13) in his last nine contests. He only has five points in 17 games since February began after collecting at least six points in every previous month this season.

The Blue Jackets only scored two goals combined in these past three losses (but did manage a 4-2 win against Detroit on Tuesday), so head coach Todd Richards must hope that the team’s offense wakes up. Maybe scratching a veteran forward like Umberger will send the right message, then.

Curtis McElhinney gets the start in net for Columbus tonight, by the way.

Derek Roy continues his career in Switzerland

Alex Tanguay, Derek Roy
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Derek Roy will continue his pro career overseas, as he has signed a contract with Bern in the Swiss League.

Roy attended training camp on a professional tryout with the Washington Capitals, but he was unable to claim a spot on their roster.

The 32-year-old had some great years in the NHL, but since the 2011-12 season Roy had suited up for six different teams (excluding his PTO with the Caps).

His best season came in 2007-08 when he scored 32 goals and 81 points in 78 games with the Buffalo Sabres.

Roy will leave the NHL with 189 goals and 524 points in 738 career games.

He will join former NHLers Cory Conacher, Andrew Ebbett, Chuck Kobasew, Simon Moser and Sean Bergenheim in Bern.


Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner

They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.