This morning’s practice at Nationwide Arena was an optional skate for the Blue Jackets, but a good sign was to (once again) see Sergei Bobrovsky taking part.
He will not play tomorrow night against the Montreal Canadiens, Todd Richards said today, but he is getting closer and a return this weekend is not out of the question. For now, the team has recalled Oscar Dansk to back up Curtis McElhinney tomorrow night and reassigned Anton Forsberg to the Springfield Falcons, where he will go back to being the No. 1 goaltender and get regular starts.
“It’s not so much his confidence but getting him playing,” Richards said of Forsberg. “He needs to play. He’s a young goaltender, and he’s a big part of that team down there and has really helped them get to where they’re at. It was more about just playing than anything else.”
Regarding Bobrovsky, Richards said he did more aggressive work on the ice today but still has to get to a complete comfort level with his recovered groin injury.
“He’s progressing, that’s the best way to say it,” Richards said. “He’s still a little sore, but more aggressive on the ice each day, which is a good sign. Possibly this weekend, but again, it’s just day-to-day.
“(Dansk) is here, and it’s day-to-day until we get Bob to where he’s healthy and 100 percent and Bob says he’s ready to go. At that point, obviously, we’ll have to make a decision.”
MORE INJURY UPDATES
Kevin Connauton blocked a shot during last night’s game against Buffalo and came in sore this morning, Richards said. The Blue Jackets will likely make a decision on Connauton’s availability for tomorrow at some point after the morning skate.
Dalton Prout skated in the optional today and is coming along. He’s also been doing “aggressive” on-ice work but is not expected to play this weekend. Richards said it’s tough to say, at this point, whether Prout would be back in the lineup next week.
The same goes for Boone Jenner, who has started skating again on his own without gear in the OhioHealth Ice Haus. Jenner said he’s feeling better but Richards said he doesn’t expect Jenner, who has been out with a fracture in his back, to return to practice next week.
Jeremy Morin also skated on his own today and has done light skating work this week. Richards deemed his status as “day-to-day.”
WENNS ON THE POINT
The Blue Jackets’ power play is sixth-best in the NHL but has struggled mightily of late, causing Richards to shake things up and offer a different look. Last night, Alexander Wennberg was playing the right point on the power play against Buffalo, part of Wennberg’s progression and a responsibility that he’s earned based on strong play of late.
“I think his game has progressed,” Richards said. “He’s gotten to a point where his 5-on-5 game is much better. I’ve used him on the penalty kill and he’s been pretty good there. He has the puck more, and I think he’s more comfortable with it. He’s looking to make plays and has made some plays; for us, the next progression is to try him on the power play and try some different looks.
“For right now, we will (stick with it). The movement was there, and with more reps and opportunities, I think he’ll get better and that group will get better.”