Kekalainen on Bobrovsky: 'Matter resolved, we are moving on'
Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said Friday the team is ready to move forward with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
Bobrovsky met with Kekalainen Friday morning and later joined his teammates for practice, one day after being scratched from the team's win over the Nashville Predators over an unspecified "incident."
"Matter resolved, we are moving on,” Kekalainen said Friday per TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun. John Tortorella echoed Kekalainen's statement saying Friday, "Move ahead" when asked about the situation.
Kekalainen added that he would still like to re-sign the goaltender this summer and said “Sometimes you can use these types of things to get tighter as a group.”
Bobrovsky gave the following statement after practice on Friday, per Aaron Portzline of The Athletic.
"Tuesday night against Tampa was a tough loss for everybody, so... It was emotional," Bobrovsky said. "We might play them in the playoffs. I let my emotions get to me when I shouldn't. So, yeah. We had a meeting in 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 happened has happened. We cleaned the air and we're ready to move on. It's unfortunate for the fans, too, that it happened. But it's going to stay in the room and between us and that's it."
When asked if he plans to finish the season with the Blue Jackets, the pending unrestricted free agent said he will continue to work hard for the team.
"I am here, and I will play here," he said. "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."
LeBrun said Thursday that Friday's meeting could dictate the Blue Jackets plans for Bobrovsky for the remainder of the season. The Blue Jackets had previously been expected to hold on to the goaltender for their playoff run.
"It really depends on what happens next. There’s a meeting Friday between Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets organization and I think that’s going to be key in how this plays out over the next few days," LeBrun said on Insider Trading. "But beyond that, Sergei Bobrovsky controls his own fate in many ways. He has a full no-trade, a full no-move. He decides if he wants to get dealt before next month’s deadline or if he wants to play out the year and head into free agency.
"Now, Jarmo Kekalainen, the general manager in Columbus, told me today that this is not about a rift between head coach John Tortorella and Bobrovsky. He wants to be very clear about that. Having said that, I think it’s because of some of the comments made last year after the playoffs his goalie didn’t sign an extension. So we’ll see where this goes."
Bobrovsky is 18-13-1 this season with a goals-against average of 2.86 and a .906 save percentage. He has struggled in the postseason during his career and has never advanced past the first round. His career playoff record sits at 5-14 with an .891 save percentage and a 3.49 GAA.
The Blue Jackets won Thursday's game 4-3 in overtime over the Nashville Predators with backup Joonas Korpisalo between the pipes. Korpisalo, 24, improved to 12-7-2 with the win and has a 3.26 goals-against average with a .891 save percentage this season.
Columbus sits third in the Metropolitan Division through 43 games with just a one-point lead over the New York Islanders. The Blue Jackets will visit the Washington Capitals on Saturday.