Elvis goes down and Korpi steps up to snap the losing streak. Where does the team go from here?
Finally, a good reason why the Blue Jackets should not have traded Anthony Duclair last season.
You remember Duclair. He was a why-not free agent signing in the summer of 2018, a scorer who'd already worn out his welcome on a handful of NHL teams. At his best, he's a dynamic offensive player. At his worst, he plays with indifference and a lack of defensive awareness. He flustered Head Coach John Tortorella, and eventually, Duclair was traded at last year's trade deadline in a deal for since-departed and also more-ineffective-than-not Ryan Dzingel.
There were reasons why trading him might have been premature, but now chief among them is that, as a member of the Ottawa Senators, Duclair ran into CBJ netminder Elvis Merzlikins in this past Monday's game, leading to the goalie's departure from the contest. No word yet on Elvis’ status, but it appeared he may have taken contact to the head from Duclair’s leg and subsequently hit the back of his head on the ice.
Fortunately, Joonas Korpisalo was freshly returned from the injury list, and Korpi backstopped the rest of the way to a 4-3 overtime win for a Jackets team desperate to keep the season from slipping away.Not sure what to say here because Alive doesn't really know anything about depleted rosters. Anyway, sign up for our daily newsletter
Of course, injuries are a main culprit in the team’s recent skid, so Elvis being hurt only compounds things. That said, Korpi was named to the All-Star team before he got hurt, so there’s still a strong presence in net.
It would just be better to have two strong presences.
That the Jackets are even in playoff contention, given the number of games lost to injury and who the players are that have missed time, is a testament to the coaches, team leaders and the young players and minor leaguers who've been asked to do more than was expected of them at the start of the season.
As CBJ prepares to face the Minnesota Wild tonight, the lineup includes five (of 12) forwards and three (of six) defensemen from the team's opening night lineup. Is the team as exhausted as its fans are? Or could Monday's win be the start of another winning streak?