Sergei Bobrovsky will not be with the Columbus Blue Jackets when they take on the Nashville Predators over an unspecified incident, the team announced on Thursday morning.
"There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture," general manager Jarmo Kekalainen 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."
Kekalainen told Aaron Portzline of The Athletic that a meeting with Bobrovsky is planned before practice on Friday. If all goes well, he could be on the ice for pracice and with the team when they travel to Washington to take on the Capitals on Sunday.
Bobrovsky is 18-13-1 this season with a goals-against average of 2.86 and a .906 save percentage. He was pulled on Tuesday after allowing four goals in a 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning and was seen exchanging words with head coach John Tortorella as he exited. A source told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun that Thursday's decision, however, was not related his relationship with the head coach.
Tortorella declined to answer questions on the situation Thursday morning.
"I have no comment, the release will speak for itself," Tortorella said.
With the two-time Vezina winner away from the team, the Jackets recalled goaltender Jean-Francois Berube from Cleveland of the American Hockey League.
Bobrovsky, 30, will become an unrestricted free agent this summer and said in September the team's management was aware of his plans for the future.
“I heard some interviews during the summer and stuff like that,” Bobrovsky said at the time. “After the last season, I told the situation to the management of the Blue Jackets so they know everything. They know my plans for this season, they know my plans for the future so they know everything. From now on, I would ask you to not ask me too many questions about my contract and future with the Blue Jackets because I want to focus on the process and to help this team win games.
“I am a Blue Jacket for now. We have a young team and I don’t want too much distraction around the locker room from our situation, from my situation.”
Joonas Korpisalo will get the start in goal on Thursday against the Predators. Korpisalo has appeared in 15 games this season, posting a 6-2-2 record with a 3.29 GAA and an .889 save percentage.
The club also announced that Brandon Dubinsky (hamstring) and Markus Hannikainen (elbow) have been placed on injured reserve.
The Blue Jackets, who have exited the postseason in the first-round in each of the past two years, currently sit third in the Metropolitan Division on 51 points.