The Columbus Blue Jackets reported today they have sent star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky home after an incident where he failed to meet team expectations. What he was sent home for has not been reported, but the 'incident' was serious enough that a message needed to be sent to the player that his behavior was not acceptable.
Considering Bobrovsky's status as a pending unrestricted free agent with the Blues Jackets organization, this news comes as a bit of a shocking development. In the team-issued press release, the Columbus Blue Jackets stated Bobrovsky would not be with the team for Thursday's game against the Nashville Predators and Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen made the following statement on the official team website:
There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture. An incident occurred in which Sergei failed to meet those expectations and values, so we made the decision that he would not be with the team for tonight’s game. This is an internal matter and we will have no further comment at this time.
Some are wondering if there's a connection between Bobrovsky's poor performance in a loss on Tuesday where he was pulled from the game and his pending status as a free agent. Head coach John Tortorella would not go into any more detail about the situation when asked by media but sources around the NHL have started to connect the dots.
So this would seem like a one-day thing.... although in the bigger picture, hard to fathom Bobrovsky re-signing at any time with UFA status July 1... https://t.co/mrqRQSavzI— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) January 10, 2019
What This Means
If an explanation is never given, speculation will run wild as to what led to this “suspension” by the team and more than that, it will be assumed that this is the beginning of the end of Bobrovsky's time in Columbus. He will immediately become a name to watch as the franchise and the rest of the NHL head towards the trade deadline on February 25.
A former two-time Vezina Trophy winner will certainly garner some interest around the NHL as a rental but the public acknowledgments that he's interested in being the highest paid goalie in the NHL will be a story to watch as teams do or don't show interest in signing him long-term. He hasn't exactly been the Bobrovsky of old this season.