The Columbus Blue Jackets have played three games since starting netminder Sergei Bobrovsky went down with a groin injury and was put on inured reserve. Curtis McElhinney has started all three of those games, and is slated to start against the New York Rangers tonight (per BlueJackets.NHL.com) – Columbus is 2-1 since McElhinney took over the #1 spot in goal.
When Bobrovsky was officially put on IR, the Blue Jackets brought up goaltender Mike McKenna to backup McElhinney while he took overall the role of starting goaltender for the 4-5 weeks that Bobrovsky will be out. McKenna has played 8 games this season for the Springfield Falcons, AHL affiliate of the CBJ, and has a record of 6 wins and 2 losses – he also has a .943 save percentage, and a 1.45 goals against average.
It is understandable why Coach Todd Richards is remaining with McElhinney against the Rangers, he has been playing solid and has produced 2 wins for the Blue Jackets. The only loss so far has been against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a game that Columbus only lost by 1 goal.
If Bobrovsky is out for the full 5 weeks, a total of 15 games (including the 3 already played), McKenna is bound to get into the net at some point – unless McElhinney and the Jackets get on a hot streak. So when is the right time/game to start McKenna? Do you wait and see if McElhinney has a bad game? Or do you give him a rest at some point and start McKenna?
The upcoming schedule gets tricky at times, the Blue Jackets play five games against Western conference opponents – Blues (x2), Jets, Avalanche, Coyotes. The other six games are all against Metropolitan division opponents – Flyers (x2), Hurricanes, Devils, Penguins.
Now you can step into the role of the Coach of the Blue Jackets and answer the question at hand…