The Wild Beat
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Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones didn’t fulfill his invite to the recent All-Star Game due to illness, but he’s poised to suit up Tuesday against the Wild in both teams’ first game back since the break – an inclusion in the Columbus lineup that puzzles coach Bruce Boudreau.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Boudreau said. “It’s wrong, and I don’t know how it can be justified. The rule states that if you miss the All-Star Game no matter what the reason that you miss the next game or you miss the previous game. He played the previous game; he should be missing this game. It’s cut and dry to me.”

Jones played in the Blue Jackets’ final game before the break last Thursday against the Coyotes. On Friday, it was announced that teammate Zach Werenski would take Jones’ spot at the All-Star Game because Jones was ill.

Typically, missing the All-Star Game results in a one-game suspension. In 2016, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews had to sit out his team’s first game back after he skipped the All-Star Game because of illness.

But Jones is an exception, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly explained in an email Tuesday, because the NHL asked him not to attend to avoid the risk of a flu outbreak.

“I don’t understand it,” Boudreau said. “Now to me there’s a grey area in this rule forever and ever.”

Projected lineup:

Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund

Zach Parise-Eric Staal-Charlie Coyle

Daniel Winnik-Joel Eriksson Ek-Chris Stewart

Marcus Foligno-Matt Cullen-Tyler Ennis

Ryan Suter- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba

Gustav Olofsson-Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk

Key numbers:

4-4-1: The Wild’s record over its last nine games in Columbus.

6: Game point streak for winger Jason Zucker.

1: Win for the Wild in its last six road games.

16-3-3: The Blue Jackets’ record in one-goal games.

56: Points for forwards Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Josh Anderson over the last 28 games.

About the Blue Jackets:

Columbus begins its post-All-Star break schedule in a playoff position but certainly needing to be on its toes to hold onto it. The team had been up and down of late, going 2-3 in its last five, but the Blue Jackets have been solid at home at 16-8. First-year Blue Jacket Panarin leads the team in points with 39, while Anderson has a team-best 15 goals. The Blue Jackets are particularly effective when scoring first (19-5-3) and are 22-3 when surrendering two goals or less. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, amid a .920 save percentage, is a major reason why.