Welcome back to Blue Jackets News & Rumors. We have plenty to get to this week including the Columbus comeback kids, the latest on Max Domi and Joonas Korpisalo as well as plenty of other tidbits around the team as they embark on a stretch of 13 road games in their next 17 overall.
Blue Jackets Are Never Out of Games, But…
Early in this new season, the Blue Jackets have shown a flair for the dramatic. Monday’s game against Detroit was a perfect example of it. Trailing 3-2 late in the third period, rookie Yegor Chinakhov scored his first NHL goal on a rocket of a shot past Thomas Greiss. Soon thereafter, Zach Werenski scored to help lift the Blue Jackets to a comeback win.
Just 13 games into the season, that’s the sixth time the Blue Jackets have come back to win after trailing in the game. The only two wins where this did not apply were the opener against Arizona and the game on Oct 25 against Dallas.
Falling behind usually doesn’t bode well for a team, but the Blue Jackets are proving that they have been able to overcome deficits in short order. For such a young team (third youngest as of Monday’s games), that’s an encouraging sign that the team is able to stand in and find ways to win.
Conversely, having 75% of your wins this season be of the comeback variety usually doesn’t sustain itself over time. The one issue that the Blue Jackets can correct is puck management and turnovers. Especially during this last three-game homestand, turnovers played a big role in the results of games.
Against the Rangers, Alex Texier’s turnover led to a tying goal only to see two more goals against scored in quick succession. Outside of that one minute stretch on Saturday, the Blue Jackets played pretty well despite securing just one win.
But if they can take better care of the puck moving forward, that will bode well for them to secure more wins. The reason that the Blue Jackets are 8-5-0 is their ability to comeback in games. They have more than one line that can score. However they will need to have better starts in games for continued success.
Max Domi Inching Closer to a Return
Monday’s morning skate featured a nice surprise. Domi took part in the skate despite not playing against Detroit that night. Still, seeing him back is an encouraging sign for a possible return on the roadtrip.
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As for when he’ll return, coach Brad Larsen wasn’t sure. He said that everyone handles Covid differently and needed to talk to the trainers and to Domi to see how he was feeling after skating.
The Blue Jackets are off on Tuesday and will practice Wednesday in advance of their game Thursday in Glendale against the Coyotes. We’ll get our first hints about Domi based on his practice participation. With a full 23-man roster as of this writing, activating Domi would require a roster move. Kevin Stenlund and Justin Danforth, who made his NHL debut Monday, are the obvious candidates to return to Cleveland once Domi is ready.
Joonas Korpisalo Update
It seems no matter where I turn, someone is speculating about the future of Korpisalo. We all know that he’s a pending UFA after this season. Many expect a move of some kind to be made by the deadline in order to get something back for him.
The latest example came Monday night on the Red Wings’ broadcast. To set the scene, it is common for broadcasters to share their opinions on potential news and what could happen. They brought Korpisalo up and wondered on the air where he could go. Chris Osgood mentioned Edmonton, a team we’ve talked about in this space before. Then Ken Daniels mentioned Marc-Andre Fleury for them.
We don’t know the extent of any talks to this point. With an 8-5-0 start and having two quality goalies on hand, the Blue Jackets for now appear to be in good shape. But as we get closer to the deadline, we’ll have a better sense of which teams need an upgrade in net. The only thing we can say for certain is that this story will not go away.
If you want a list of teams that I think would look for a deadline deal, think contenders. Edmonton comes to mind. Colorado comes to mind to backup Darcy Kuemper. What about Vegas? Do they trust Laurent Brossoit in the event something happens to Robin Lehner? What about the Blues as a backup to Jordan Binnington? We’ve heard rumors of the Sabres and Canadiens being interested. The truth is that this situation remains murky at best until we get into 2022. Things can change in a hurry. But for now, the Blue Jackets will enjoy the luxury of two goalies who give them a chance to win every night.
- We’re going to really start finding out about the Blue Jackets in the next few weeks. As mentioned above, they have 13 of their next 17 on the road. Among their games, at Vegas, at St. Louis, at Nashville, at Washington, at Toronto, vs. Anaheim, at Edmonton and at Calgary. That’s not easy. But we will learn a lot about them.
- Emil Bemstrom has started to skate again. Recall he was placed on IR with an oblique strain back in October. He could be inching closer to a return. However if we’ve learned anything early this season with Larsen, it’s he won’t mess with success. Even if a player is ready (see Boqvist, Adam) the player will have to wait their turn.
- The Blue Jackets really played well against the Capitals and Rangers despite not winning. Erase the freebie mistakes and you’re looking at them possibly winning those games.
- Finally, Chinakhov with the speech of the year so far after scoring his first NHL goal. “Good job. Good work. Good goal next.” The locker room exploded in celebration after. This is the latest sign these Blue Jackets are really having fun.
I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2021-22 season will mark eight seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager.