Columbus Blue Jackets Recall Johansen, Place Johnson on IR

Photo courtesy of bluejackets.com

Photo courtesy of bluejackets.com

By Tim Lucarelli (@tlucarelli)

In Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson took a hard hit in the first that sent him to the dressing room. Johnson returned to action in the second, but it was only temporary, as another hit took him out of the lineup for the remainder of the game. Johnson appeared to have a shoulder injury and will be re-evaluated when the team returns to Columbus after tonight’s road matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks.

As a result of the injury, the Blue Jackets immediately placed Johnson on injured reserve, and subsequently recalled center Ryan Johansen, who has recently been playing for the Springfield Falcons. Johansen has tallied 17-16-33 with 20 penalty minutes and a plus-11 rating in 40 games with Springfield this season.

Johansen’s last game with the Blue Jackets came on February 6th, and despite having only two assists at that point, he was third on the team in shots on goal (21), trailing only Johnson (25) and Vinny Prospal (22). In the eight games since Johansen was sent to Springfield, Prospal has heated up, leading the team in goals (4) and points (6), despite registering only eight shots on goal over that period.

In the first 10 games of the season, Prospal and Johansen were primary linemates, but with Prospal recently finding chemistry on a line with Mark Letestu and Derek Dorsett, it’s unlikely that line is broken up. Columbus’ other top line of late consists of Cam Atkinson, Derek Brassard, and R.J. Umberger. If that line remains intact, Johansen will likely find himself skating with some combination of Matt Calvert, Nick Foligno, and Colton Gillies.

Matt Calvert had an impressive game last night in Chicago, scoring his first career shorthanded goal on an impressive breakaway move. Calvert was hot the entire night generating offense all the way down to the dying seconds of the game. With Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov continuing to be sidelined, players like Johansen, Calvert, Foligno, and Gillies will have a great opportunity to contribute.

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Columbus wraps up a six-game road trip tonight in Chicago and will be looking to be the first team to deliver a regulation loss to the Blackhawks. Columbus is currently 1-4 on their road trip, and will return home on Tuesday, facing the Dallas Stars at 7:00 EST.

New Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen finally has his work visa and joined the team on Wednesday. He had this to say about the organization: “I think the character that’s here and the competitiveness in the team, playing with an edge, work ethic…those are key ingredients for any team. We talk about skill, speed, the pace of the game and all that and you can have all the skill in the world, but if you don’t have character, it won’t take you very far. We’re building a strong foundation with players who have a lot of character and competitiveness in them.” Rob Mixer has the full story here.

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