Injury Can't Slow Max Domi As He Returns Much Faster Than Expected, Again

By Will Chase on October 29, 2021 at 2:30 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets forwards Patrik Laine and Max Domi celebrating a goal at Nationwide Arena.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Max Domi keeps defying the injury odds in returning to action quicker than expected for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

When it was announced this past off-season that Domi would miss a chunk of the season due to off-season right-shoulder surgery to repair a torn labral, count me among those surprised for his return for the Blue Jackets' final pre-season game. And ultimately playing opening night against the Arizona Coyotes. 

But a rib fracture sustained in game two against the Seattle Kraken forced Domi back on IR: An injury that was initially said to sideline him 2-4 weeks. Instead, he was activated off IR on Thursday and will suit up Friday night at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers.

The Blue Jackets went 2-2-0 without him. Justin Danforth, who never appeared in a game, was sent down to Cleveland in the corresponding move.

I will say that while it's great to see Domi back and ready to go, I hope there's no concern of rushing him back too soon, and now from two separate injuries. But I imagine the team would not clear him if he wasn't 100% ready. Especially just seven games into a 'transition' year.

Domi, like anyone in a union blue sweater, looks to get back on track after a tough season last year. He's a 2022 UFA, and whether he figures into the long-term plans for Jarmo Kekalainen and Brad Larsen, or another team down the road, he's one tough and motivated individual.

In the present, Domi can be a force for Columbus in these games and help rewrite the script of what is still considered to be a year in transition for the Jackets. 

Domi's return is good timing as the Blue Jackets start their three-game road trip, with the aforementioned Rangers—off to a 4-2-1 start—tonight at the Garden, before facing the New Jersey Devils on Halloween night, Sunday, Oct. 31. Followed by home-and-home dates with the Colorado Avalanche.

Against the Coyotes, Domi had a goal in a three-point effort and then followed that up with an assist on the overtime winner against the Kraken.

Domi's scoring touch and physical presence in the lineup will be an added boost for a team that has juggled lineups lately. We covered Gregory Hofmann's impressive two-point night in Monday's 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars. There could have been speculation it would be Alexandre Texier that would be removed from his perch inside the lineup to make room for Domi. 

However, Texier has contributed valuable minutes on the penalty kill. But this tweet from Oct. 25 is still relevant as the feeling is he has 'more to give.' 

And while I hope that's not something to occur too often, as Chinakhov should be playing, whether, in Columbus or Cleveland, a night off here or there isn't a bad thing either.

But these lineup debates have a way of solving themselves. As we know all too well, injuries are a constant force all teams must reckon with. 

So far it's nice to see Domi has been able to recover quickly. And more than anything, we know how important depth is. We'll see how the rest of this continues to play out in the weeks ahead.