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Bobrovsky backing up for Blue Jackets after 'we cleared the air'

Goalie was disciplined following loss to Lightning

by Craig Merz / Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- Sergei Bobrovsky rejoined the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, one day after the goalie was not with them for a 4-3 overtime win against the Nashville Predators at Nationwide Arena because of an incident that failed to meet "certain expectations and values," in the words of general manager Jarmo Kekalainen.

Bobrovsky and Kekalainen met with the Blue Jackets prior to a players-only meeting before practice, which Bobrovsky participated in. He will be the backup to Joonas Korpisalo at the Washington Capitals on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, NBCSWA, FS-O, NHL.TV).

"I just think [Korpisalo] deserves another game," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "I thought he played really well (in a 4-3 overtime win against the Nashville Predators on Thursday)."

Tortorella would not say if Bobrovsky would start Sunday at the New York Rangers.

"I just go one game at a time," Tortorella said.

Bobrovsky has not discussed details of the matter; he did say it had nothing to do with Tortorella.

"I always pride myself on being a good teammate all the time wherever I play, whomever I play, and I addressed that to the team," Bobrovsky said. "It is what it is, it happened. We cleared the air and we're ready to move on.

"It's unfortunate for the fans, too, that it happened. Everything is going to stay in the room between us."

Kekalainen said the incident was not related to Bobrovsky possibly becoming an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"It has nothing to do with any of that stuff," Kekalainen said. "It was a just separate incident and we have to deal with it ourselves.

"We have certain values we have established here, and we live up to them, every one of us whether it's a star, superstar or a fourth-line guy or getting paid the most or the least on the team or middle of the team. Everybody gets dealt [with] the same way."

Bobrovsky was pulled at 8:53 of the third period after allowing four goals on 19 shots in a 4-0 loss at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

"Tuesday night against Tampa was a tough loss for everybody," he said. "It was emotional. We might play them in the (Stanley Cup) Playoffs, so I let my emotions get to me when they shouldn't.

"It's the game. Definitely the game, the way it happened, we lose. Not only for me was it frustrating, for everyone."

He said he had no dispute with Tortorella.

"Everybody knows [Tortorella]. He's an honest guy," Bobrovsky said. "He's going to do what's better for the team and he does that. Some people agree with that, some not.

"Again, it doesn't matter. What happened in the past happened. I'm just ready to move on, play hockey, play my best."

Tortorella did not shed much light on the incident Friday.

"Move ahead," he said. "We handled the situation inside the locker room. We go about our business now."

Bobrovsky, who won the Vezina Trophy voted as the NHL's best goalie in 2013 and 2017, is 18-13-1 with a 2.87 goals-against average, .906 save percentage and two shutouts in 32 games (31 starts) this season.

"We have a two-time Vezina-winning goalie in our organization," Kekalainen said. "Any organization would want to re-sign a guy like that. That position has never changed. We'll see how it goes.

"He has a contract with us until the end of the year. We expect him, if he's here till the end of the year, and we expect him to do that, to do his best 100 percent for the organization and his teammates."

When Bobrovsky was asked if he want to finish the season in Columbus, he said, "I am here. I will play here. I will do my best as I have done for my team, for this organization, these fans, this city. I've been working hard, and I will continue to do that."

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