That timeline could mean McElhinney won't be ready for the Blue Jackets' opener against the Calgary Flames on Oct. 4. Mike McKenna or Jeremy Smith, slated to split the goaltending for Columbus's American Hockey League affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, could instead back up Bobrovsky.
Neither Smith nor McKenna has distanced himself from the other during training camp, Richards told the newspaper. Smith and Bobrovsky will dress for Saturday's road game against the Pittsburgh Penguins (4 p.m. ET; NHLN-US).
Smith, 24, has spent his entire pro career in the minor leagues. McKenna, 30, has played 17 NHL games. He was 4-8-1 with a 3.56 goals-against average and a save percentage of .887 in 15 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008-09 and 0-1-0 with a 3.05 GAA and .893 save percentage with the New Jersey Devils in 2010-11.