The Columbus Blue Jackets seem like they’re getting the occasional peek at that light at the end of the tunnel, but they’re not there yet.
While Sergei Bobrovsky and Brandon Dubinsky skated on Saturday, Matt Calvert apparently had a setback. He re-aggravated an injury (he was on IR with head/ankle issues) and won’t play against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight.
Columbus demoted Mark Dano in favor of Dana Tyrell, who looks to take Calvert’s spot in the lineup. The team’s in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, including last night’s overtime loss against the climbing Carolina Hurricanes.
Calvert hasn’t been all that productive this season (one goal, one assist and a -5 rating in nine games played), yet the Blue Jackets are hurting enough for experienced players that this stings.
We’ve basically run out of creative ways to convey just how awful Columbus’ health has been this season, so let’s get right into it — tonight, the club will be without d-man Ryan Murray after he suffered a “setback” with what’s believed to be a knee injury.
Murray, 22, already missed seven of the Blue Jackets’ 11 games this season with the aforementioned ailment, playing his first game of the season on Oct. 26 versus Los Angeles. In Saturday’s 3-2 loss to New Jersey, he skated a season-high 23:27.
In light of Murray’s setback, James Wisniewski’s broken finger and Cody Goloubef’s knee injury (on IR, projected to be out six weeks), the Jackets are prepared to ice a blueline against Carolina that consists of Jack Johnson, Fedor Tyutin, Tim Erixon, Dalton Prout, Frederic St. Denis and David Savard.
Up front, the club will be without Nathan Horton, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu — but will return Boone Jenner and Matt Calvert.
Columbus remained active on the transaction front Monday, making a flurry of roster and injured reserve moves.
The most notable ones are that sophomore Boone Jenner has come off IR after breaking his hand on Sept. 27, while forward Artem Anisimov is now on (retroactively) following a concussion suffered on Oct. 28.
In other moves, d-man Cody Goloubef is also on IR — projected to be out six weeks with a knee injury — leading to Frederic St. Denis’ call-up from AHL Springfield.
Given how crazy Columbus has been with injuries lately, here’s a look at the overall picture:
— At forward, Jenner and Matt Calvert are both expected to return from injury on Tuesday against Carolina. Anisimov, Nathan Horton, Brandon Dubinsky and Mark Letestu are still out.
— On defense, Goloubef joins James Wisniewski on the shelf. St. Denis could go right into the top-six alongside Jack Johnson, Fedor Tyutin, Ryan Murray, Tim Erixon and David Savard.
— In goal, Sergei Bobrovsky is still out and Curtis McElhinney will get the start versus the ‘Canes.
It remains a busy time for the Columbus Blue Jackets’ trainers/medical staff.
From the sound of things, both Sergei Bobrovsky and James Wisniewski are going to push the two-week end of their 1-2 week absences, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline. Portzline points out that head coach Todd Richards did not rank them “among those who are getting close to health.”
On the bright side, Portzline reports that these players who could be back on Tuesday, Friday or Saturday:
- Boone Jenner
- Matt Calvert
- Corey Tropp
Meanwhile, Artem Anisimov is day-to-day with a concussion while Brandon Dubinsky’s still in the “sometime in November” range and Mark Letestu is just in the beginning of his injury rehab.
Glancing at the Blue Jackets outside of that injury heap, they’re on a five-game losing streak right now. The most fortunate thing may be that their schedule is fairly flexible if Bobrovsky, Wisniewski and others make accelerated progress in the next few days. After tomorrow’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Blue Jackets don’t play again until another match versus Carolina on Friday. They only play five games between today and Nov. 14.
Not a lot has gone Columbus’ way, yet perhaps a fairly buffered schedule will allow the Blue Jackets to minimize the damage during these next two weeks?
It’s at least a comforting thought for a team that’s faced wave after wave of bad luck.
(H/T to Rotoworld.)
We’ve used this meme once already in discussing Columbus’ health — or, lack thereof — but it still feels like the best way to reflect how the organization probably feels right now.
Just hours after losing the services of Artem Anisimov and James Wisniewski — and having already lost the services of Nathan Horton, Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky, Matt Calvert and Sergei Bobrovsky — the Jackets learned they’d be without Mark Letestu for the next 2-4 weeks, due to a groin ailment.
So, the gory details:
— The Jackets are without three of their top five scorers (Dubinsky, Wisniewski, Anisimov) from last year.
— They’re without the first and only Vezina winner in franchise history (Bobrovsky).
— They’re without their No. 2, 3 and 4 centers (Dubinsky, Anisimov, Letestu)
And to put it another way, per the Columbus Dispatch:
The projected top 13 forwards, eight defenseman and two goaltenders would carry $59 million this season for the Blue Jackets. That’s salary, not salary cap.
By the end of Tuesday’s game, the Blue Jackets had $32 million worth of players out of the lineup.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” GM Jarmo Kekalainen told The Dispatch. “It’s a nightmare, but what are you going to do?”