PITTSBURGH – Just another showdown between the Blue Jackets and the Penguins, and just another day filled with newsworthy items.
Those two are, in fact, interconnected.
We covered the possibility of both team captains (Nick Foligno and Sidney Crosby) missing tonight’s game due to injury and that possibility is now fact. Mike Sullivan and John Tortorella – two very good friends and longtime coworkers – each confirmed the absence of their captain for tonight’s game at CONSOL Energy Center.
And while those are two significant absences for two teams looking to gain some traction before the holiday break, both the Blue Jackets and Penguins have to move by it and follow the old “worry about who’s here” mantra.
One thing Tortorella won’t concern himself with is the storyline about him facing his good friend for the first time.
“We’ve talked since he’s gotten the job,” Tortorella said of Sullivan. “He’s a tremendous coach and I think he’s going to help that organization. Sully’s a good man and a good coach, but when the puck drops at 7 o’clock, I really don’t care. It’s about trying to win the game and I’m sure he feels the same way. We can talk during the break and all that. For both of us, I’m sure, it’s about getting your team to play the right way.”
Other stuff from the rink today:
- Two rookie goaltenders will man the nets tonight: Joonas Korpisalo goes again for Columbus and he’ll face Matt Murray for the Penguins. Both played well in their last outing, Korpisalo a shootout winner over the Flyers and Murray a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
- With Foligno out of the lineup, Rene Bourque (activated off IR on Saturday) draws in tonight. Jack Johnson returns after missing two games with a lower body injury and Kevin Connauton sits out on the blue line.
- Neither team held a formal morning skate today and only a handful of players skated for both teams. Sergei Bobrovsky traveled with the Blue Jackets to Pittsburgh – his second road trip this week, which is a good sign – but he remains on IR and won’t dress tonight. His return to game action will wait until after the Christmas break.
- No excuse not to empty the tank tonight, so to speak, said Boone Jenner. It’s a safe bet that both teams will feel that way about this game with a four-day break ahead.