COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The 2020-21 NHL season was already going to be unlike any other, starting with the fact that the season didn’t even start in 2020.
The outcome of the Blue Jackets’ 14 games so far, 6-5-3, is far from this list of six things that have defined Columbus’ season so far.
#1 Pierre Luc-Dubois requests trade, signs contract
The Blue Jackets’ season started on the rocks before it even began when star center Pierre-Luc Dubois wanted a “change of scenery,” according to TSN/The Athletic NHL insider Pierre LeBrun.
But a few hours later on New Year’s Eve, Dubois signed a two-year, $10 million deal to stay in Columbus. But his trade request remained and his desire to leave reached an ugly head on Jan. 21.
#2 Dubois benched for lack of effort
In CBJ’s first home game of the season, Dubois was benched after a clear lack of effort on a loose puck against Tampa Bay. John Tortorella benched Dubois for the rest of the game and he was traded two days later.
#3 Dubois traded to Jets, CBJ acquires Laine and Roslovic
Dubois’ lack of effort got him what he wanted — a trade. The Blue Jackets shipped the 22-year-old No. 3 pick in 2016 to Winnipeg along with a 3rd round pick in exchange for Columbus native Jack Roslovic and Patrik Laine, the No. 2 overall pick in 2016.
#4 Roslovic, Laine show their worth
Roslovic has exceeded expectations and currently holds a five-game point streak after a game-winning goal late in the third period against Carolina on Monday.
“Jack’s probably been one of our most consistent players,” CBJ head coach John Tortorella said. “I think he’s really delivered offensively as far as the swagger that he has offensively and has been a big plus for us.”
Laine’s first couple of games were going well too with him scoring three goals in three games, including two in a losing effort to the Hurricanes on Sunday. But it wasn’t Laine’s play that got him benched two days ago.
#5 Laine benched
Blue Jackets’ fans were left befuddled after Tortorella benched newcomer Patrik Laine in Monday’s home game against Carolina. But the reason became clear when Tortorella said Laine was not benched for his effort on the ice.
“I don’t think Patty should be put in that shade of light that he was lazy or didn’t work hard enough cause that’s not what this kid’s about,” Tortorella said. “We know he’s a great competitor and he’s a really good player and he’s going to be a big part of our team.”
“We’ve talked about it and it’s going to stay in the room,” Laine said. “I always play with passion and sometimes you say things you don’t want to say and that’s going to happen sometimes and you’ve just got to talk about it and move on.”
#6 Mikko Koivu retires
One day after Laine was benched, veteran center Mikko Koivu retired after only seven games with the Blue Jackets. Koivu spent 16 seasons with the Minnesota Wild where he played 1,035 games and racked up more than 200 goals and more than 500 assists.
In a press conference Tuesday, Koivu said he retired because his body couldn’t play anymore and that it had nothing to do with the Blue Jackets.
“The thing I was most excited about with him joining us was I think some of the influence he could have on some younger players coming into the league about what it is to be a pro,” Tortorella said.
Not defining, but weird: CBJ robbed of a goal that costs game
In a moment that’s never happened before in NHL history, the Blue Jackets requested a review of what was unequivocally an offsides penalty missed by the refs during Sunday’s game against Carolina.
The goal gave the Hurricanes a 4-3 lead and led to a penalty for the Jackets because teams are assessed a delay-of-game penalty for reviews that do not get overturned.
The replay upheld the goal and the Blue Jackets were able to kill 1:15 of the penalty to end the second period. Then the weirdest and most unprecedented moment of the Jackets’ season occurred before the 3rd period even began.
The NHL continued to review the goal and determined Carolina’s Teuvo Teravainen was in fact offsides and that the goal should not have counted. Instead of recanting the goal, the NHL ruled CBJ wouldn’t have to finish the last 45 seconds on their penalty kill.
Eliminating time from a penalty kill has never been done before in NHL history, until Sunday night in the Jackets’ game.
“I just think it’s a bad look for the NHL to not get it right,” Nick Foligno said. “It just confuses everybody. It makes linesmen look bad, it makes the refs look bad. It’s just a bad look. Accidents happen, but that’s why we have replay there, so they don’t.”
Columbus requested a coach’s challenge for off-side prior to a goal at 18:45 of the second period. During the review, a miscommunication occurred between the Video Replay Booth in Columbus, the Linesmen and the Situation Room and play resumed before all replays could be reviewed to confirm the off-side. The challenge by Columbus should have resulted in the Carolina goal being disallowed. Subsequently, Columbus was assessed a delay of game penalty. After confirmation in the intermission that the play was off-side, the remaining 0:45 of the delay of game penalty issued was rescinded to begin the third period.NHL statement
Tortorella quote that sums up this season
We try to attack the problem, get the problem solved and get about our business. There’ll be other problems coming down the road. That’s part of a season.”John Tortorella, CBJ head coach