The Columbus Blue Jackets received some good and bad news this week.
The good: Nick Foligno is expected to return to the lineup for Thursday night's home clash as the Blue Jackets take on the Nashville Predators.
The bad: Both Brandon Dubinsky (strained hamstring) and Markus Hannikainen (elbow) were injured in Tuesday night's 4-0 road loss in Tampa Bay. Both have been placed on injured reserve and are expected to miss "at least a week," per the club.
With Lukas Sedlak a healthy scratch the past two games, it seems likely that he will slot into the lineup tonight, as the Blue Jackets have only 12 healthy forwards in Columbus. It wouldn't be surprising for the club to call up a forward from AHL Cleveland. Sonny Milano would make sense, as would AHL All-Star Zac Dalpe. Other options include Nathan Gerbe and Mark Letestu.
And as Sergei Bobrovsky is serving a de facto one-game suspension for an "internal matter," the Blue Jackets have called up J-F Berube from Cleveland. Joonas Korpisalo starts in goal against the Predators.
The other big news here is that Foligno returns to the lineup. The Blue Jackets captain been away from the team since Dec. 31, and has had things bigger than hockey on his mind. His return seems to suggest that his daughter is doing better, and Nationwide Arena's faithful should give the fan favorite a resounding applause when he's introduced.
Losing Hannikainen and Dubinsky from the lineup will test the club's depth at forward. While Hannikainen played well in the early going this season, his play plateaued and he's been a replacement level fourth liner for weeks. Dubinsky is seeing the lowest time on ice of his career, though he's still an effective penalty killer and is the most dependable face-off man on the team.
The projected fourth line of Sedlak, Eric Robinson, and Riley Nash will almost certainly play a limited role against the formidable Predators, and it will be interesting to see how much Tortorella plays Foligno, who's been away from the team for 10 days.
Stay with us here on 1st Ohio Battery as AHL call-ups and injury news is made available.
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