Losing Bobrovsky’s to injury dampens All-Star weekend


First Posted: 1/22/2015

The newly built outdoor ice rink is in place just off Nationwide Arena.

Everything is in place for Columbus to host the NHL gala of the All-Star Game on Sunday.

Everything is set, except one key piece will be missing.

Blue Jackets All-Star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky won’t be playing in the All-Star Game. Bob went down on Wednesday night at Winnipeg when he stretched full out for a puck, just out of his reach. His full-out stretch led him to collapse on the ice.

He’s currently listed with a “lower-body injury.” Not only will the the 2013 Vezina winner miss the All-Star Game, there’s no timetable set for his return.

The Blue Jackets stand 20-22-3 and were clinging to fading hopes that the team could make a run at the playoffs. But, in order to do that, the team will have to play about 12 games over .500 the rest of the way.

Boston currently has the second and final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with a record of 25-16-7 (57 points). With 43 points, and being two games under .500, the Blue Jackets are close to playing must-win games.

If Bobrovsky is lost for several weeks, their playoff chances are about the same as former tough guy, now Blue Jackets announcer, Jody Shelley scoring a goal this year.

Bob is not just the key, he holds the weight of the organization on his back every night he puts on his skates.

This year he’s 16-15-2 with a 2.85 GAA. His save percentage is .913. But he started slow.

After suffering a broken finger on his catching glove hand, he returned after only two weeks and was shaky upon his return.

However, in December, he went 9-1-1 with a 2.14 GAA. That’s the same month the Blue Jackets went 10-1-1.

That put the Blue Jackets in position to compete for a playoff berth. But, in the month of January, the Jackets have stumbled across the ice with a 4-6 record.

Scoring is part of the problem. The team averages 2.42 goals-per-game, which ranks 24th in the league. It’s also 26th in goals allowed, at 3.13.

The power play been a huge success, ranking fourth in the league at 24.3 percent. But, at even strength, the Blue Jackets struggle to score.

Another huge concern has been taking stupid penalties at key times. In a 3-2 loss to Montreal on Jan. 14, the Blue Jackets led 2-0 midway through the third period.

Then, they took three straight penalties, including a boarding call on Brandon Dubinsky. Montreal scored on all three man advantages and soddenly they had game in hand, 3-2.

The Jackets rank 27th in most penalty minutes at 12 minutes per game.

Injuries, have played a huge part, as well. Artem Anisimov (triceps), Boone Jenner (back) and Ryan Murray (knee) are still out. Dubinsky is back, but has played in only 19 games. Mark Letestu has played on 17. Fedor Tyutin missed 13 games earlier.

The fact remains that this team needs more offense.

All-Stars Ryan Johansen (17 goals, 26 assists) and Nick Foligno (18 goals, 24 assists) are two of the top players in the league, but Scott Hartnell(10 goals, 18 assists), a 20-goal scorer last year for the Flyers, has been disappointing around the net.

Atkinson (8 goals, 7 assists), who had 21 goals last year, hasn’t got back on track since he returned from his scary injury when he was sliced near the eye by a skate. He’s gone 17 games without a goal.

A move to acquire offense is essential for a second-half playoff push.

Bob can’t do it all, especially if he won’t be in the net.

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