Friedman on Blue Jackets’ ‘frustration with Bobrovsky’

The path toward divorce between Sergei Bobrovsky and the Columbus Blue Jackets has seemingly not been without its acrimony.

Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin appear to be inclined to test free agent waters this summer, but the former has seemed to have been a source of particular frustration to the organization.  

Elliotte Friedman had a Friday morning radio hit on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960, and the entry point to this discussion on the Blue Jackets’ untenable situation involved the Insider being asked this question:

“I just wonder what that must be like for Tortorella to try and coach that team with that elephant in the room at all times, that these guys probably want out and might well be out by the trade deadline, but we’ve got to try and win. It’s not easy, I would think.”

“I don’t believe Tortorella is in any trouble,” began Friedman. “They did extend him, for one thing. For another, I think the Blue Jackets recognize, as you said, that these are some very unique situations.

“I think there has been a lot of frustration with Bobrovsky, and the frustration goes back to the summer. Jarmo Kekalainen set up a meeting with both Panarin and Bobrovsky in the summer to talk to them about this year, and Panarin went to the meeting and Bobrovsky blew it off.

“Bobrovsky was apparently upset about some things they said about him at the end of last year, two years ago. I don’t know if he’s right or wrong about that. Everybody interprets things different ways. But I know the organization was upset about the fact that Bobrovsky blew off that meeting.

“Panarin has played pretty hard. I think they would like to keep him. I think they recognize that he’s not going to stay there, but I don’t think they have any complaints with the way that he’s approached things.

“Bobrovsky - to be honest, I think they would like to keep him too, but he has made it very clear he doesn’t want to stay. I think that meeting caused them a lot of frustration. I think at times they felt he hasn’t been as focused on the day-to-day details as maybe Panarin or some of the other players have been. I think that’s made it very difficult at times between them. They’ve been frustrated with his attitude. They’ve tried to give Korpisalo basically the job. He got pulled last game and Bobrovsky came off the bench, and got them back in it at least. And as you guys mentioned, he was really good last night.

“Panarin they can trade. Bobrovsky has a complete no-move clause. I believe that he has given them an idea of where he will consider to go, and I think Columbus has explored that. I mean, everything we’re looking at is the Islanders. I don’t know if it’s going to end up being that way, but if we were wagering right now they would be the team.

“But the one thing I do believe is there are times you have to go for it. I think if you’re Columbus, I don’t have a problem with them at least trying this out and going for it. I think Columbus is a pretty good team. I think Bobrovsky at his best is a really good goalie. I think Panarin is a really good player. Bobrovsky hasn’t been that great until last night, but if that’s the way he’s going to play - honestly, I would take a shot at it. And I think that’s what they tried to do, but I think the whole situation with Bobrovsky has annoyed them and caused them a lot of problems, and I don’t think they like the constant rumors swirling around them either.

“So I don’t think the whole situation has been very easy.”

Bobrovsky is in the final season of a four-year, $29.7 million contract, which carries a $7.425 million cap hit. As Friedman noted, the goaltender has a no-move clause.

Panarin is playing out the final season of his two-year, $12 million pact.

Pierre LeBrun, incidentally, had some observations on Bobrovsky worth checking out from earlier this week.


Contract-related info via CapFriendly