So, when Ryan Johansen left Denver on Saturday to return to Columbus with a Blue Jackets' trainer, we all wondered about what might be going on. The club termed it an "illness" but clarified that he was non-contageous enough to take a commercial flight, and John Davidson called it "another curveball" in one of the most dissected non-entity quotes of all time, given Johansen's visible slump in energy combined with rumors that John Tortorella told Johansen he was out of shape.
A Jackets win on Saturday deflected some of the talk, but with Johansen not able to practice today it was unavoidable for the team to talk about it.
We learned a few new things today:
John Tortorella lists Ryan Johansen as day-to-day, says he'll continue to rest & recover. pic.twitter.com/Alj8bLsOFx— NHL Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) October 26, 2015
#CBJ Ryan Johansen's agent, Kurt Overhardt: "It’s nothing with his heart. He’s just not feeling well, and we’re trying to figure out why...— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) October 26, 2015
I saw that second Tweet and said, "Wait, his heart?" Then, this:
Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen's undisclosed illness is not related to an accelerated heart rate that hospitalized him at least once during the offseason, his agent told The Columbus Dispatch on Monday.
Wait, what?? Maybe I had my head in the sand (and for some personal reasons I was pretty disengaged this summer, to be sure), but I completely missed this. I remember Jeremy Morin having a heart issue in the winter/spring, but never remembered hearing this about Johansen. More from that NHL.com article:
"It's nothing with his heart; he's just not feeling well and we're trying to figure out why," Kurt Overhardt, Johansen's agent, told the Dispatch. "His energy level has been down. There's no alarm here. We want to do the right thing and make sure he's 100 percent when he's on the ice."
Johansen became ill Saturday morning and was returned home for treatment. The Dispatch reported Monday that Johansen was hospitalized at least once during the offseason with an accelerated heart rate, but that general manager Jarmo Kekalainen confirmed Johansen's current illness is not heart-related.
"I was with the team brass over the weekend (in Denver) and we had a good conversation and we're together on this," Overhardt said.
First of all, after last summer, I love that Overhardt and management are having good conversations about this. End of snark.
But, seriously, WTF is going on?
So, our eyes were not deceiving us. Johansen was definitely not playing with 100% effort, but it looks like it may be because he physically could not.
The urge to speculate is so rampant right now. How many of us wondered about strained relationships with coaching staffs, both old and new? But now, with all of this chatter, it swings the pendulum the other direction in a big way: is something seriously wrong with Johansen's health? That heart issue is always a scary one. Morin missed roughly two months this spring, and they could just never get him right during that stretch.
Then, who can forget the revelation about Anton Stralman and his time here in Columbus? Ugh, I don't want to speculate, nor do I want to contemplate.
Bottom line: Johansen remains day-to-day, and won't play tomorrow. But, that said, at least we have a pretty good idea that he hasn't been dogging it *just* to dog it or to send some kind of message.