Its been a season of endurance for the Columbus Blue Jackets. The year began with expectations raised way higher than normal due to the team coming within a tie-breaker of the playoffs last season. Despite this–or maybe because of it–Columbus struggled out of the gate, winning only two of their first seven games.
Lately though, the Jackets had been able to string together some consistent winning. However, while they’re trying to stay afloat in the Metropolitan Division, they’ll be doing so with an incredibly thin roster.
Right now, the Columbus injured reserve lists as follows: Sergei Bobrovsky, Marian Gaborik, James Wisniewski, Nathan Horton, Dalton Prout and Derek MacKenzie. Bobrovsky’s groin ailment was seen as enough to derail the team on its own, as will the loss of any Vezina winning goalie, but then backup goalie Curtis McElhinney was injured as well.
Unfortunately for the Jackets, the bad news keeps coming. The team found out today they’ve lost the services of longtime enforcer Jared Boll. He’ll be out 3-4 weeks to recover from surgery he needed to fix a torn ankle tendon.
“We’re disappointed for Jared as he has worked very hard and is an important part of our team,” said GM Jarmo Kekalainen, “but we expect him to make a full recovery and hopefully return to the lineup later this season.”
At this point, the phrase “expect (name) to make a full recovery” is pretty much the theme of the Columbus season. The team is blessed to be in the NHL‘s worst division, so they don’t have a ton of ground to make up in terms of getting into playoff contention.
Horton, the team’s marquee free agent signing, isn’t expected to come back anytime before the Christmas break. On the bright side, the team’s goalie situation should take a turn for the better in the coming weeks. McElhinney’s injury is currently listed as day-to-day, while the Columbus Dispatch is reporting Bobrovsky could be back on the ice as soon as next week.
Until everyone is fully recovered, its up to the Blue Jackets current roster to soldier on in spite of the constantly growing injury list. If the team can survive all these issues and still be within breathing distance of a playoff spot, they could be poised for another big run down the stretch.