Blue Jackets to sit Sergei Bobrovsky after unspecified ‘incident’

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As the Columbus Blue Jackets look to turn things around after dropping two of their last three games, they will be without goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky Thursday night when they host the Nashville Predators.

The team announced just before their morning skate that Bobrovsky was basically being suspended for something that the club wouldn’t go into detail about.

From Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen:

“There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture. An incident occurred in which Sergei failed to meet those expectations and values, so we made the decision that he would not be with the team for tonight’s game. This is an internal matter and we will have no further comment at this time.”

Head coach John Tortorella didn’t elaborate Thursday morning, simply saying “The release will speak for itself,” and did not indicate if Bobrovsky would be back in net Saturday night against Washington. He is expected to be on the ice for Friday’s practice if a morning meeting with Kekalainen goes well, reports Aaron Portzline of The Athletic.

This was already going to be a dicey year for Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets since the goaltender can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and he hasn’t given any indication he’s willing to re-sign. And with the team in the mix of the Metropolitan Division playoff picture, it wasn’t as easy as trading him away over letting him walk for free.

But will whatever this situation is precipitate a move? Bobrovsky has a full no-movement clause, per Cap Friendly, so he can control his destination if a trade is in the offing before the Feb. 25 deadline. But unless Kekalainen is getting a goaltender that he feels can help his team on the same level, this situation will likely have to be sorted out as the Blue Jackets eye a deep playoff run.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.