Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who GM Jarmo Kekalainen said wasn’t available for Thursday’s game against the Predators due to an “internal matter,” said Friday that Tuesday’s loss to the Lightning triggered the incident that led to his sitting out Columbus’ next game.
“Tuesday night against Tampa was a tough loss for everybody, so … it was emotional. We might play them in the playoffs. I let my emotions get to me when I shouldn’t,” Bobrovsky told reporters in what The Athletic described as a statement. “We had a meeting with the team. I’ve been always … I pride myself to be a good teammate all the time, wherever I’ve played and whomever I’ve played. I addressed that to the team. It is what it is. What has happened has happened. We cleaned the air and we’re ready to move on.”
Kekalainen said on Thursday that “an incident occurred” in which the 30-year-old goaltender failed to meet the team’s expectations, though details of the incident are unclear. TSN notes Bobrovsky was pulled during Columbus’ 4-0 loss to the Lightning on Tuesday, and he had an exchange with coach John Tortorella before exiting.
Tortorella refused on Friday to talk about Bobrovsky, according to The Athletic.
#CBJ coach John Tortorella would not discuss Sergei Bobrovsky again today. Business as usual, he said.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) January 11, 2019
Bobrovsky said he has no issues with the fiery Tortorella and when asked if he planned to finish the season with the Blue Jackets, Bobrovsky said: “I am here, and I will play here. I will do my best as I have done for this team, for this organization, for these fans, for this city. I’ve been working hard, and I will continue to do that.”
Kekalainen on Thursday said the goalie failed to meet team expectations.
“There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture,” Kekalainen said Thursday in a press release. “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.”
A two-time Vezina Trophy winner, Bobrovsky is 18-13-1 with a 2.87 goals-against average, two shutouts and a .906 save percentage through 32 games this season.
The Blue Jackets defeated the Predators, 4-3, in overtime Thursday with backup Joonas Korpisalo in the net. He made 32 saves as Columbus moved to 25-15-3 and gave Tortorellas his 600th career NHL victory as a coach.