Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen wasn’t too happy about the two-game sweep the team endured over the weekend to the lowly Detroit Red Wings. In fact, the GM is quite frustrated with the team’s struggles.
“It’s shocking,” Kekalainen said. “Especially to think that we played some of our best hockey just before that (vs. Carolina). To go to Detroit and play like that, get beaten like that twice in a row, is not good.”
However, The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline (subscription required) writes that despite the fact that John Tortorella is in the final year of his contract and is likely moving on at the end of the year, the team doesn’t seem intent on removing their head coach.
“It doesn’t look like a team, that’s the way I would put,” Kekalainen said. “I’m sure (Tortorella) is as frustrated as anybody right now. I’ve said it before: It can’t all fall on one guy. Players should have enough professional pride to always try to be at their best, play for the team, play for the logo and play for the organization. Right now we’re not looking like a team like that.”
- Sticking with the Blue Jackets, defenseman Mikko Lehtonen will make his Columbus debut, according to Portzline. The blueliner was acquired from Toronto for goalie prospect Veini Vehvilainen on March 12 and has now passed through quarantine. The highly-touted offensive defenseman was a big signing by Toronto during the offseason, but couldn’t work his way into the lineup there, appearing in just nine games with three assists.
- Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville told reporters that star center Aleksander Barkov should return to the team shortly, according to NHL.com’s Jameson Olive. While Barkov was not on the ice Tuesday, Quenneville said he expects him to return at some point during the team’s four-game homestand. Barkov has missed four straight games with a lower-body injury.
- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh was on the ice for practice Tuesday with the team. However, the blueliner, who has missed three straight games due to a lower-body injury, wasn’t a full participant, rotating in at different times during drills, according to The Athletic’s Joe Smith. That would suggest that while McDonagh is close to returning to the lineup, he is likely still a few days away from returning to game action