The Sergei Bobrovsky situation in Columbus has been a simmer, a slow-motion breakup. Bobrovsky, 30, has been one of the most consistent goalies over the last few years, and is a free agent this summer. He reportedly wants to be paid like the league’s elite netminders, and the Blue Jackets don’t seem interested in that. The two sides reportedly didn’t even bother negotiating last offseason. It’s been long assumed he’ll be signing elsewhere this summer—if he isn’t traded at the deadline.
That’s the context which makes this all the spicier: The Blue Jackets announced this morning what’s functionally a one-game suspension for Bobrovsky, and gave a very cryptic explanation:
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will not be with the team for tonight’s game vs. the Nashville Predators, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.
“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.”
Your guess is as good as mine here, though Bobrovsky and coach John Tortorella apparently got into it on Tuesday after the goalie got yanked in the third period against Tampa. So a decent bet would be that there was some sort of blow-up, or missed meeting.
Tortorella said that Bobrovsky will be back at practice on Friday, so whatever this is, it’s just the one game. The Blue Jackets have reclled Jean-Francois Berube from the AHL to back up Joonas Korpisalo tonight.
Columbus has been okay, not great, this season, and you could say the same for Bobrovsky. He sports a .906 save percentage and has allowed 2.87 goals against, both his worst marks since joining the Blue Jackets in 2012. Between that, and this, and also everything else, he’s probably on his way out. The only question is whether it’ll be sooner rather than much sooner.