As Injuries Pile Up, So Do Memories of Old
The Blue Jackets announced on Monday that star sniper Patrik Laine would miss the next 3-4 weeks due to an ankle sprain. He becomes the eighth player currently sitting out due to injury, many of whom are out long-term. But this isn’t new to the Blue Jackets, they’ve been here before…
Remember the 2013-14 Blue Jackets? You might if I mention that this was the year that Ryan Johansen burst onto the team; his 63 points leading the plucky Blue Jackets to a playoff berth for just the second time in history. Sergei Bobrovsky, off the back of a Vezina season, cemented himself as one of the game’s elite goaltenders. They even won a couple of games in their first round series against Pittsburgh, something they’d never done before.
We had hope for the future. The upcoming 2014-15 season was ripe with excitement. GM Jarmo Kekalainen made a splash, trading a handful of spare parts away to get Johansen a similarly-aged scoring winger (Brandon Saad). They added depth and a strong backup goaltender. Indeed, things were really starting to look up.
Only, things did not look up. Injuries hammered the Jackets early and often – led by star winger Nathan Horton missing all 82 games (and being dealt away), the Blue Jackets lost 502 man games to injury in 2014-15, setting a franchise record. If you break that down, that’s an average of six regulars out of the lineup every game. Sound familiar?
Hello darkness, my old friend…
That’s probably because this year has started off eerily similar. The 2021-22 Jackets exceeded expectations, basically across the board. They did not make the playoffs like the ’14 club, but they still gave us hope for a much brighter future ahead. Johnny Hockey signed here this summer. We have some fantastic prospects, several of whom are right on the cusp of becoming NHL players – maybe even star players.
But in the early part of the season, the injury bug has hit – harkening memories of that 2014-15 season. We lost Patrik Laine less than halfway through the first game, and now he’s out again. Justin Danforth is out for almost the entire season. Nick Blankenburg has missed time due to injuries twice already.
Zach Werenski, done for the year. Erik Gudbranson, Jakub Voracek, Kent Johnson, Sean Kuraly, and Adam Boqvist have all missed time. They started off the season without Joonas Korpisalo, who had hip surgery in the offseason. There’s even been an illness that has swept through the team. Since history seems fully intended to repeat itself here, shall we look back at what the outcome was last time?