Sergei Bobrovsky (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Sergei Bobrovsky returned from a 17-game absence Tuesday, but played only 89 minutes between the pipes before suffering yet another lower-body injury. Bobrovsky, 28, has missed 43 games over the past three seasons due to groin injuries. Goaltender Anton Forsberg has been recalled from AHL Lake Erie.
This is not a recording. Blue Jackets netminder Sergei Bobrovsky has suffered a lower-body injury. Less than two games after getting back into Columbus’ lineup, the 27-year-old netminder could be heading right back to the injured list.
There was no obvious moment when the injury occurred, but Bobrovsky skated to the Columbus bench during a TV timeout midway through the second period. According to The Columbus Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell, Bobrovsky had a short conversation with the Blue Jackets’ training staff, left the ice and didn’t return to the game. Before the game was through, Columbus announced that Bobrovsky would not return with a lower-body injury.
The immediate concern is that Bobrovsky, who has already missed 16 games this season with a groin injury, will be back on the shelf with another groin strain. Coach John Tortorella didn’t have an update on Bobrovsky post-game, nor did GM Jarmo Kekalainen. In what might be a bad sign, though, the Blue Jackets have brought up goaltender Anton Forsberg on emergency recall from the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters.
If Bobrovsky is indeed sidelined with yet another groin injury, it would be his fourth such injury in the past three seasons. In January 2014, he missed 12 games with a groin strain, he was out another 15 contests in February 2015 with a similar injury and his groin injury earlier this season was originally only supposed to keep him out for roughly 10 games before he suffered a setback that kept him out of action for two additional weeks.
“No one is more frustrated than Sergei,” Blue Jackets winger Scott Hartnell told Mitchell. “How hard he works on and off the ice, trying to come back, I’m sure he feels terrible about it. You just want him to get healthy. That’s all you want.”
Joonas Korpisalo played the remainder of Thursday's game for the Blue Jackets and took the loss as the Calgary Flames skated to a 4-2 victory. It appears Forsberg will be Korpisalo's backup Saturday against the Boston Bruins, leaving the Blue Jackets, once again, with the two netminders they expected to play in the AHL this season manning their NHL net. Bobrovsky's usual backup, Curtis McElhinney, is still sidelined with an ankle injury and not expected to return before the all-star break.
In a campaign that went sideways on the Blue Jackets right out of the gate, losing Bobrovsky again makes it seem like nothing can go right for Columbus in 2015-16. It’s a shame, too, that Bobrovsky finds himself back on the shelf because he was one of the Blue Jackets who struggled the most to begin the season, and he had turned his game around before the injury.
Bobrovsky had an ugly 3.97 goals-against average and .865 save percentage when October ended, but he had battled back to have a respectable 2.52 GAA and .916 SP — as well as an 11-12-1 record after starting with six-consecutive losses — before he fell injured in early-December against the Los Angeles Kings.
UPDATE: The Blue Jackets announced Friday afternoon that Bobrovsky has been placed on the injured reserve with a groin strain and will be out indefinitely.