Jackets’ Goloubef could be done for the season

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When the Columbus Blue Jackets claimed defenseman Kevin Connauton off of waivers from the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, they did so with a cloud of uncertainty surrounding Cody Goloubef.

Goloubef suffered a right knee injury on Nov.1 and could be done for the season.

“We don’t know, he might be out for the season, might be out for another three weeks,” said Jackets’ GM Jarmo Kekalainen. “We’re not sure yet. We needed another defenseman.

“There’s a little tear on his ACL that we think is going to heal, but if it doesn’t, then it could be season-ending.”

The 24-year-old has appeared in three games for Columbus this season averaging 12:23 in ice time to go along with a minus-1 rating. In 20 career games over three seasons, all with the Jackets, Goloubef has a goal and four penalty minutes.

Goloubef’s injury is on top of knee injuries to Ryan Murray and Fedor Tyutin. Kekalainen said Tyutin will miss 4-6 weeks.

“He’s a guy that can play in the NHL and will give us some skill and mobility and depth,” Kekalainen said of the 24-year-old Connauton.

Originally a 2009 third-round pick (83rd overall) of the Vancouver Canucks, Connauton has appeared in 44 career NHL games all with the Dallas Stars registering a goal and 10 points while averaging nearly 15 minutes in ice time.

Horton update

The troubles on the blue line are in addition to the ailing back of forward Nathan Horton.

Horton hasn’t played this season and may never play again as he ponders career-ending back surgery.

“He’s resting now,” Kekalainen said. “We’re hoping the rest is going to get him back into more of a rehab stage again where we can start strengthening and hoping he can get back to playing.”

Man games lost

Columbus is on a similar pace through 18 games (6-11-1) as they were last season (6-10-2) when they snapped a four year playoff drought.

But on Tuesday Kekalainen revealed some startling numbers on his team’s injury woes.

“Someone sent me an email today saying we have seven man games lost, on average, per game this year,” he explained. “One of my colleague’s upstairs told me that if you have 300-something (man games lost) you have no chance at making the playoffs.

“We’re on pace for 600 this year. I hope the pace gets down a little bit.”

The Jackets return to action on Friday when they entertain the Boston Bruins.

After they ‘self-destructed’ vs. Detroit, what’s next for Blue Jackets?


On a night where several teams disappointed at home — Toronto, Dallas and Montreal specifically — the Columbus Blue Jackets had issues of their own Tuesday evening, dropping a 5-0 decision to Detroit at Nationwide.

This one, though, featured a few messages being sent.

Ryan Johnansen and Scott Hartnell were both benched — Johansen didn’t play the final 15:19, Hartnell the final 9:44 — for undisciplined third-period penalties that turned a 2-0 deficit into a five-goal drubbing, a result that left head coach Todd Richards irate.

“It was a 2-0 game and we were okay,” Richards said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “We weren’t great. It’s a 2-0 game, we’re in it. And then we self-destructed in the third period.”

The loss left Columbus with just 13 points through 18 games this year, putting it on pace for 59 this season — far, far short of the 96 defenseman James Wisnewski figured the club would need to make the playoffs for the second straight year.

What was perhaps most disturbing about Tuesday’s loss is the Blue Jackets looked ready to make a run. But after winning consecutive games for just the second time this season — against Philly and San Jose — the team suffered its most lopsided defeat, and was shutout for the first time this season.

Now make no mistake, Columbus’ health woes this season are legit, and well-documented. The club lost 118 man games to injury through the first 17 games and is still without the likes of Nathan Horton, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Murray, Fedor Tyutin, Mark Letestu and Cody Goloubef. It’s definitely an issue.

In response to that, GM Jarmo Keklainen has perhaps decided that enough’s enough. He’s made a pair of moves in the last four days, first trading for veteran d-man Jordan Leopold, then picking up ex-Dallas rearguard Kevin Connauton off waivers.

If one had to guess, more moves could be coming. Something needs to change and the club isn’t about to shake things up by firing head coach Todd Richards — having just signed a contract extension in May — so making roster moves could be the play. Columbus currently has nearly $7 million in space, per CapGeek, and could place Horton on LTIR to recoup his $5.3 million cap hit.

“You have to try to use every possible way you can keep the team competitive when you have this many injuries,” Kekalainen said, per the Dispatch.

Career-ending surgery possible for Jackets’ Horton


Nathan Horton’s attempt to recover from a degenerative back condition and resume his playing career isn’t going as planned.

Speaking for the first time on his condition, Horton said he can’t even do simple things.

“I can’t stand up like a normal person; I can’t bend over,” Horton told The Columbus Dispatch. “I can’t run. I can’t play with my kids. To get in and out of the car, I’m like a 75-year-old man … so slow and stiff. I can’t sleep at night. I try to lay down and my back seizes up and I can’t move, so sleeping is out. I’m like a zombie in the daytime.”

Horton, 29, hasn’t played since April of last season. There is a solution to Horton’s back problems, but it would end his hockey career.

According to Aaron Portzline, surgery would include a three- or four-level spinal fusion with a titanium rod.

“I don’t want to have surgery, because of what that means,” Horton said. “I don’t want to live with this pain, but I don’t want to make that decision. It’s hard for me to say that, at 29 years old, I’m done. I mean, really? Done at 29?”

The former Panthers’ first-round pick (3rd overall in 2003) scored four goals and 18 points in 35 games last season, his first in Columbus after signing a seven-year, $37 million contract as a free agent.

“I’ve tried everything,” Horton said. “I’ve seen so many doctors. So many people think they can fix me and they’re so optimistic, and then I get optimistic, but then … nothing changes. It’s so frustrating. I’ve seen so many people with back issues play through this, and it’s a different thing, the pain. It controls everything.”

There are five vertebrae in the lumbar region. According to Horton, he would need to have at least three fused with a titanium rod.The titanium provides stability and support and a relatively pain-free existence.

“At some point soon, we’ve got to make the call,” he said of the surgical procedure.

In 626 career games with the Panthers, Bruins and Jackets, Horton has 202 goals and 420 points. He won a Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011.

Jackets lose another as Murray suffers injury ‘setback’


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.

Jackets take Jenner off IR, put Anisimov on


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.