Columbus activated left wing RJ Umberger
, who has been one of the League's most durable players over the last few seasons, off injured reserve on Monday and Umberger will get back in the lineup when the Blue Jackets visit the Predators later in the day.
Umberger, who has 7 goals and 11 assists, was out for nine days and five games with concussion-like symptoms. To make room in the lineup, rookie Ryan Johansen
, the fourth pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, was expected to sit out, coach Todd Richards
Johansen has 1 goal in the last 12 games. He has been a healthy scratch five times this season, but not since Dec. 18. The 6-foot-3, 203-pound 19-year-old has 8 goals and 8 assists in 41 games and, at plus-3, is one of only three players with a positive rating on the Blue Jackets.
He had been skating on the Blue Jackets' second line with Derick Brassard
and Tomas Kubalik
. Umberger will likely slip into that slot.
"It's exciting," Umberger said. "It's obviously a new feeling for me. I was a little anxious and nervous this morning. I'm not used to being a guy who comes back in the lineup, so hopefully I just grab back on to my normal routines and make it a normal game."
Umberger said his goal was to get in front of the Predators' net, and to "be greasy and play a hard game."
Umberger, 29, had played in every game over each of the last three seasons and over the previous six seasons he had missed only eight games. Until the last five games, he had never missed a game as a Blue Jacket -- playing in 206 straight.
He talked about the frightening nature of head injuries.
"You just want to make sure you're getting healthy, you're going to live a normal life again," he said. "Things with the head are just so scary. It's not a fun way to go about every day, so once I started to get signs of coming back around, starting to feel myself, that makes you feel a little better."
Richards addressed why Johansen would sit.
“A lot of it is his game’s been OK -- he has been OK -- but when you look up and down our lineup, our forwards, it’s tough to pull other guys out for what they bring to our team and what we need as a team, or what we feel as a staff we need, going into certain games,” he said. “The way our top six has gone, they’ve been good and we’re really happy with our third line, (Samuel) Pahlsson, (Derek) Dorsett and (Ryan) Russell.
"Right now, it's just a set of circumstances that he's not in the lineup. And he needs to be better. I think he can be better, but his play has not been bad where we have to get him out of the lineup."
Defenseman Brett Lebda
was set to make his season debut after the Blue Jackets signed him on Jan. 17. He was expected to play on their top pair with Fedor Tyutin
. Lebda was going to take the place of Nikita Nikitin
, who had played in every game but one since Nov. 12 when he arrived with Kris Russell
in a trade from St. Louis. Nikitin, who has 2 goals and 16 assists in 38 games, injured his knee on Saturday against Detroit.
was expected to start in goal, his second start in the last three games but only his third in the last 10.
- Antoine Vermette
- Rick Nash
- Derick Brassard
- Tomas Kubalik
- Samuel Pahlsson
- Derek Dorsett
- Derek MacKenzie
- Jared Boll
- Brett Lebda
- John Moore
- Aaron Johnson