Blue Jackets host Ducks without top defenseman Jones
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Blue Jackets (5-3-2) and Anaheim Ducks (6-5-2) close out their season series Wednesday at Nationwide Arena, but Columbus will be missing a mainstay on defense.
Seth Jones was placed on injured reserve Monday after sustaining a hairline fracture on the top of his right foot in Saturday's game at St. Louis.
“I'm very disappointed for him,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella told the Columbus Dispatch. “Injuries are part of this game. It's huge a loss for us; I'm not going to say it isn't. But this happens.
“It's for him that it bothers me the most because I think he has really … his mental approach has improved much from the first time I met him last year to where he is right now.”
Jones leads all Blue Jackets players with 24:14 in average ice time per game. With the team carrying eight defensemen on the roster, a call-up is unlikely.
Zach Werenski, Jones' defensive partner, has two goals and eight assists for the season. He'll likely be paired with David Savard on Wednesday.
Less than two weeks ago, the Blue Jackets handed the Ducks a 4-0 loss at the Honda Center to close out their West Coast road trip. Since that game, Columbus is 3-0-1 and Anaheim 3-2-0.
Tortorella was unhappy with the effort of some of his top players in Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues. An indication of this was the line-shuffling in practice ahead of Wednesday'sgame.
Left wing Brandon Saad was moved to the fourth line, while left wing Scott Hartnell was elevated to the second line in Saad's place.
After a lengthy contract squabble, Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm joined the team for practice Tuesday in Columbus. The 22-year old signed a six-year, $31.5 million deal at the end of October, and has missed 13 games.
“It was a really good feeling,” Lindholm told the Los Angeles Times. “I'm just happy to get back on the ice, and hopefully I'll be playing some hockey (soon).”
He was asked if he could play as soon as Wednesday against the Blue Jackets and said: “Whenever they want to put me in, I'm ready. I feel comfortable.”
Last season with Anaheim, he averaged 22 minutes of ice time during the regular season and finished with 10 goals and 18 assists. He had been practicing with Rogle BK of the Swedish Hockey League during the contract stalemate.
“We've got to get him up to game speed as quickly as possible,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle told the team's website. “The things we did today were pushing, shoving, defending and shooting. Probably the things he did the least of during his practice time (with Rogle).
“We'll see what tomorrow brings and make a decision based upon how he feels and what he says. He says he's ready to play. Ultimately, he'll be the one who decides if he's ready to play or not.”