Columbus Blue Jacket’s Defensemen Zach Werenski will be out for the remainder of the season with a torn labrum and separated shoulder, the team reported this Friday afternoon. This comes after Werenski awkwardly collided with the boards after attempting a hit on Flyers’ Travis Konecny. Werenski was the team’s star defensemen, and losing him will hurt the already struggling team. The Jacket’s alternate captain has eight points in 13 games, averaging 23:36 of ice time this season. “What can you do? He’s gobbling (24) minutes a night. He’s a pretty important guy,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said in a statement on Friday.
The Blue Jackets also lost Defensemen Nick Blankenburg for 6-8 weeks, with a fractured ankle. “Don’t underestimate what [Blankenburg] is doing for us either,” Larsen said Friday. “He’s going to be long term here too and that was our top pairing. So, they’re out. It’s a tough pill to swallow this morning but you move by it. It’s an opportunity for some other guys to show and we’re going to see that.”
Following these two injuries, the Blue Jackets called up Defensemen Gavin Bayreuther, Marcus Bjork and David Jiricek on emergency recall from the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL. Bjork will be making his NHL debut against the New York Islanders on Sunday. Later that day Friday, Jiricek was sent back to the AHL and Jake Christiansen was recalled.
Head coach Brad Larsen believes that “there’s guys here that are excited to play, I’m going to tell you right now. They see what’s in front of them, right? So someone has to take those minutes. You can pull a group together. It’s going to be a challenge, there’s no question but you’ve got to meet it head on. You’ve got to go out there and we’re going to work at it.”