The Columbus Dispatch
Blue Jackets get three back, lose Bjorkstrand
What a difference a day made for the Blue Jackets.
After missing six players who were on the NHL'S COVID protocols list during the team's practice Sunday, the Jackets got three of those absent players back for practice Monday. They also placed forward Oliver Bjorkstrand on the protocols list after a positive test result and recalled a pair of forwards, Josh Dunne and Tyler Sikura, from the Cleveland Monsters for the new temporary taxi squad the NHL and NHL Players' Association jointly agreed to in order to help teams deal with outbreaks.
Jakub Voracek also missed practice Monday with an undisclosed NON-COVID issue.
“You just don't know right now,” coach Brad Larsen said. “What is it in ‘Forrest Gump?' It's a box of chocolates right now. You never know what you're gonna get. So, that's kind of where we're at.”
The saying also applies to the Blue Jackets' schedule. The team had a fifth straight game postponed by the NHL late Sunday night when it was announced that Tuesday's faceoff against the Blackhawks in Chicago will now have to be rescheduled for later in the season. Road games in Calgary and Buffalo plus a pair of home games against the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs have been pushed back as well.
Larsen and his coaching staff would ideally like a full week of practices to get legs and lungs closer to game condition, but will welcome whatever work they can fit in before their next game, which is currently scheduled for Thursday against the Nashville Predators.
“We'll take every practice day we can get right now,” Larsen said. “It's a strange, unique situation. We're not even in the middle of the season. We're just under 30 games in and we then get a 10-day pause … so every practice day we can get helps a lot. You can tell with the guys. They were way better today than they were yesterday, just their lungs, their legs, the way they handled the
puck. It was better.”
Another encouraging development Monday was the return of Jack Roslovic, Gabriel Carlsson and Andrew Peeke, who were in isolation for the previous week. Roslovic rejoined practice after spending the league's required 10 days in quarantine, while Carlsson and Peeke were released early, after passing tests on consecutive days. All three also passed cardiac exams before gaining clearance.
The Jackets might get captain Boone Jenner back Tuesday after his 10-day isolation period ends. Goalie Joonas Korpisalo and forward Eric Robinson might return to practices later in the week. Their availability against Nashville — along with that of Roslovic, Carlsson, Peeke and Jenner — has yet to be determined.
Roslovic, who centered a line in practice Monday, is just happy to be skating again and feels close to being ready to play. Peeke said he felt good too. Roslovic's lone symptom was a minor headache, while Peeke was asymptomatic from start to finish.
Carlsson wasn't requested to speak by reporters Monday.
“I don't think I'm too far behind the curve,” Roslovic said. “It was an unfortunate time to get it around the holidays, but in terms of our schedule, our season and playing games, trying to be (competitive) in games and winning games, it was a good time to get it.” firstname.lastname@example.org @Brianhedger