An important meeting took place this morning between Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen and star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. It needed to be done after the team announced on Thursday morning that Bobrovsky would not suit up for the game against the Nashville Predators that same night. What felt like a team-issued suspension was only explained by Kekalainen's statement.
"There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture," the GM said in a statement. "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."
The meeting has taken place and Bobrovsky was seen jumping on the ice just three minutes later than the rest of his teammates. According to NHL Insider Pierre Lebrun, both the team and Bobrovsky are moving forward.
“Matter resolved, we are moving on.”
However, Kekalainen refused to comment when asked if the goalie had been asked to waive his no-move clause...
Bobrovsky is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the plan appeared to have the Jackets hold on to the star goalie for a long playoff push. However, the latest incident could have changed their decision drastically.
While Kekalainen is adamant that the matter has been resolved, there is a lot of baggage when it comes to Bobrovsky and his relationship with the team. Before today's meeting, team insider Aaron Portzline of The Athelic provided more information what what might have taken place that got Bobrovsky into trouble.
"Sources told The Athletic that the incident happened sometime between the latter stages of Tuesday’s 4-0 loss in Tampa Bay and before the team flew home from Tampa International Airport an hour or so after the game.
Before the Blue Jackets boarded their charter flight to Columbus, Bobrovsky was pulled aside for a meeting on the tarmac with members of the Blue Jackets’ leadership group, suggesting the incident happened at the rink or on the bus ride from the rink to the airport."
The Russian goalie, who was advised two years ago by his GM to consult with a sports psychologist, reportedly did not meet with the team when they came to Europe to talk with teammate Artemi Panarin. Kekalainen expected Bobrovsky to show up, but he didn't.
This could all start to weigh heavily on the Jackets now...
Bobrovsky will be travelling with the team to Washington. It remains to be seen if he will be the starting netminder against the Capitals.
UPDATE: When asked if he plans to remain in Columbus this season, Bobrovsky had this to say, per Portzline.