The Columbus Blue Jackets announced goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will not be with the team for Thursday’s game against the Predators.
In a statement released by the team, Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen shed little light on the decision.
“There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture,” said Kekalainen. “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.”
The statement reads an awful lot like a suspension, though that word was never used by the Blue Jackets. Bobrovsky has clashed with Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella at times this season and is an impending unrestricted free-agent. Despite his expiring contract, Bobrovsky’s presence on the trade market was far from a forgone conclusion. Columbus themselves are competing for a playoff spot and Kekalainen has expressed an interest in extending Bobrovsky, though it’s hard to imagine that happening now after today’s events.
Bobrovsky expressed his dissatisfaction earlier in the season with the NHL’s decision to crackdown on the size of goaltending equipment and has struggled to adjust to the new rules.
“No, [the new equipment] is terrible actually,” Bobrovsky said back in October. “You start to be afraid of pucks, actually, especially in the practices. You get bruises in here (arms, elbows). It’s terrible.”
Bobrovsky owns a 2.87 GAA and a .906 SV% in 32 appearances this season. He is on pace for his worst season since 2011-12, his final year with the Philadelphia Flyers. Backup Joonas Koprisalo is expected to get the start against the Predators on Thursday. The once highly-touted goaltending prospect owns an .894 SV% and 3.31 GAA since the start of last season.