Rinse, repeat: Blue Jackets place Gibbons on IR, could get Hartnell back in weeks

Apparently the “hockey gods” finally made their rounds back to the Columbus Blue Jackets, as they announced that forward Brian Gibbons was placed on IR on Friday. The Blue Jackets recalled Alexander Wennberg and Cody Goloubef as well today.

The Blue Jackets estimate that Gibbons, 26, will need about two-to-three weeks to recover from a knee injury that he suffered against the Washington Capitals last night.

Depending upon healing speed, the Blue Jackets could be quite a bit stronger at the end of Gibbons’ recovery window; the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline reports that Scott Hartnell could also be back from his finger injury in a couple weeks.

The bright side is that there might be some benefit to getting another look at Wennberg, 20.

Both Gibbons and Wennberg have played 21 games apiece so far in 2014-15, and while Gibbons has two more assists (five versus three) in that frame, the Blue Jackets obviously must expect bigger things from Wennberg long-term.

(He was the 14th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, after all.)

As much as this injury narrative has dominated the Blue Jackets’ headlines this season, the team recently went on a seven-game winning streak and has recorded at least one standings point (7-0-1) in December. Their next game is against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

Just when you thought they were getting healthy, Jackets lose Hartnell (broken finger)


Winners of five straight, things were looking up for the Columbus Blue Jackets… which means something had to go wrong.

On Friday, it did.

The Jackets placed forward Scott Hartnell on injured reserve with a broken finger, suffered during Thursday’s 3-2 win over Washington. He’s expected to miss two weeks with the ailment.

Prior to getting hurt, Hartnell had six goals and 17 points in 28 games this year, averaging just under 18 minutes a night. The veteran winger had also been a catalyst during the club’s recent winning streak, with three points in the five wins.

The injury is also a step back for Columbus’ overall health. Despite returning a few bodies to the lineup — including alternate captain Brandon Dubinsky — the club is now facing a stretch in which it’ll be without Hartnell, Ryan Murray, Mark Letestu, Artem Anisimov and Fedor Tyutin. The team is also still without Nathan Horton, who has yet to play this season while dealing with a severe back injury.

In a move related to the Hartnell injury, Columbus recalled Kerby Rychel from AHL Springfield on Friday.

Flyers lose again, but Schenn buys them point vs. Columbus


The Philadelphia Flyers were hoping that the worst was behind them after a decent 1-1-1 showing during the west coast portion of their road trip, but they were dealt another setback with tonight’s 3-2 overtime loss against Columbus.

Since Nov. 8, the Flyers have gone 2-8-3. Still, they can take some consolation in the fact that they walked away with a point tonight. After former Flyer Scott Hartnell scored a power-play goal in the second period, it looked like they might not even get that much as it took a last minute, controversial goal by Brayden Schenn to send this game into overtime.

Kevin Connauton scored his first goal of the season and just the second of his career to lead Columbus to victory.

The Blue Jackets have won four straight games to improve to 10-15-2 this season. After a disastrous start to the campaign fueled primarily by injuries, Columbus is starting to look like a team that can still challenge for a playoff spot. In fact, the Blue Jackets and Flyers are only separated by one point through 27 games. When the month started it was a five-point gap.

Philadelphia will return home to face the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

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.

Jackets end nine-game losing streak in Hartnell’s return to Philadelphia


The Columbus Blue Jackets have been devastated by injuries this season and that’s played a big role in their nine-game losing streak. They were finally able to stop the bleeding tonight though by earning a 4-3 victory against the Flyers.

It was Scott Hartnell’s return to Philadelphia after being traded over the summer, but Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno were the heroes for Columbus tonight. Johansen assisted on all four of their goals to give him 20 points in 16 contests this season. Foligno had two goals and an assist.

Defenseman James Wisniewski also stepped up with two markers for Columbus, including the game-winner midway through the second period.

Philadelphia was on a three-game winning streak coming into this contest, but its momentum might have been sapped by the five off-days the team received between contests. The Flyers were out shot in each period, although they certainly had their moments. Philadelphia capitalized on two of its three power-play opportunities and Jakub Voracek had yet another multi-point game.

The Flyers will have an opportunity to bounce back Saturday against Montreal. Meanwhile, Columbus is still just 5-10-1 this season, so it has a lot of ground to make up. The Blue Jackets will face San Jose tomorrow.


Video: Flyers fans give Hartnell standing ovation