First thing's first: Ryan Johansen will be back in the Blue Jackets lineup tonight.
John Tortorella can't say it enough that scratching players is never the go-to option and should, in most scenarios, be considered a last resort. But there were things in Johansen's game that both coach and player admitted were trending in the wrong direction, so the decision was to sit him for Thursday's game in Arizona.
In the time between Thursday and now, the coaching staff spent time with Johansen reviewing video, going over shifts and then translating that into what they expect from him. Tortorella considered it a "reset" for his 23-year-old center, and he's expecting a positive response form Johansen tonight.
"It was a good day to spend some time (looking at) tape," Tortorella said. "We did that. As I said, he's a very important piece to the puzzle here. We felt there were some bad habits happening within his game and we felt it was time to stop him, reset him, and I'm sure he'll be ready to play tonight."
The Blue Jackets are hoping for a similar response to what they got from Scott Hartnell, who was a healthy scratch on Dec. 4 vs. Florida and came back the next night with a three-point effort against the Flyers.
And though their last win, a crazy 7-5 affair, was anything but perfect, they hope that some of their key players who scored goals in that game (Foligno, Saad among them) can start to feel better offensively and the floodgates crack open for them.
"You hope so," Tortorella said. "Everybody contributed. It was a sloppy game by both teams, but we found a way to get on top of it. Nick scores, Clarkson scored - who I think has played pretty well the past few games - so hopefully it'll continue."
- Sergei Bobrovsky continues to progress from his groin strain suffered late in the Blue Jackets' Dec. 8 game against Los Angeles. He traveled with the team to Dallas and Arizona, skated near the end of it, and did so again today at the OhioHealth Ice Haus. There's no official update on his return, but it seems to be nearer than it is farther.
- Joonas Korpisalo starts in goal for Columbus tonight, his third of the week.
- Cody Goloubef, recovering from a jaw fracture, also skated with Bobrovsky today and has been on the ice more regularly of late.
- Rene Bourque was activated off injured reserve this afternoon but it doesn't appear as though he will play tonight. He's missed 12 games with an upper body injury.
- The news isn't as good for David Savard, who was placed on IR and will miss four weeks. He suffered an ankle injury on Tuesday night in Dallas but tried to play through the pain. He didn't play Thursday night against the Coyotes.