UPDATE 4 p.m.: Published reports from Columbus indicate the team and Bobrovsky will meet Friday to determine if the player will return to practice.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have disciplined goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky ahead of their game tonight against the Nashville Predators at Nationwide Arena. Rather than simply not start the goaltender, Columbus issued a press release confirming the punishment.
“There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture,” said GM Jarmo Kekalainen. “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.”
Tuesday, Bobrovsky was pulled in the third period against Tampa Bay after allowing four goals on 19 shots. Head coach John Tortorella replaced him with backup Joonas Korpisalo with 12 minutes remaining. Columbus lost 4-0.
Bobrovsky was also pulled on Jan. 4 against Carolina after allowing three goals on 16 shots in a 4-2 loss.
In November, NHL Network analyst Kevin Weeks, who shares the same agent as Bobrovsky, said the situation between the team and player was becoming “untenable”.
Korpisalo, 24, did not allow a goal in either relief appearance. He will start in goal tonight for Columbus. Koorpisalo is 6-2-2 this season with a .889 save percentage.
Bobrovsky, 30, is 18-13-1 with a .907 save percentage this season. He is a pending unrestricted free agent and much has been made of his contract status and future with the Columbus organization. He is in the final year of a four-year deal with a $7.425 million average annual salary cap hit.
Bobrovsky is a two time Vezina Trophy winner (2012-13, 2016-17). Both awards were during his Columbus tenure.
Columbus trails the Pittsburgh Penguins by three points in the Metropolitan Division, but have one game in hand. Korpisalo will start in goal tonight for Columbus.