The Blue Jackets are back in action tonight at Nationwide Arena, taking on the San Jose Sharks before embarking on a six-game road trip out West. The puck drops at 7 p.m., and the Blue Jackets are hoping to build off the “good things” from last night’s loss against the Edmonton Oilers.
Although today’s skate was optional with only 10 skaters and both goalies participating in drills run by assistant coach Dan Hinote, head coach Todd Richards still had a lot to say post-skate. Here are a few of the highlights:
Takeaways from Edmonton:
Despite allowing a short-handed goal late in the game yesterday to give the Oilers the upper hand, the Blue Jackets improved in many areas. They registered 40 shots in the game and forced the Oilers to play in their defensive zone, but could not put more than one goal on the board.
Richards called the game a “disappointment,” but said they need to focus on the good things that came from it.
“That was one of our better games. We still forced them into areas that we needed to force them into,” he said. “Last night was a good step, a really good step. You gotta come off that came and you gotta build off the positives that we did.
“I think we have a lot of things that we can build off of from last night. Again, it’s where our game is headed, where we want it to go, where we think we can get it to.”Read the full story from today's morning skate inside this blog post.
It’s a hockey night in Columbus for the next two days as the Blue Jackets take on the Edmonton Oilers tonight at 6 p.m. and the San Jose Sharks tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets practiced yesterday and skated briefly this morning. Here are some storylines from the media presser following today’s morning skate:
Wiz is back:
James Wisniewski will return to the line-up tonight against the Oilers. He has missed two games due to an injury sustained on Feb. 2 against the Detroit Red Wings. Here’s what he had to say about coming back from an injury:
“I feel good – feeling really good considering everything that’s happened. Just looking forward to getting back in the line-up. Got some good get well tweets and on Facebook, so that was really nice.”
Wisniewski said his focus is on getting back to helping the team win, especially in preparation of a six-game road trip coming up after tomorrow night’s game.
“These next few games are huge, really important to try and get back close to .500. There’s no easy games. Every team is close and you win three games in a row, you’re right back in the playoff run. These two games are absolutely crucial and to go back on the road, you just have to keep it simple… eat, sleep, and play hockey.”Get all the storylines from today's morning skate inside this blog post.
The Blue Jackets are set to take on the Calgary Flames tonight at Nationwide Arena at 7 p.m. Both teams are searching to establish some consistency and earn wins as the 10-game benchmark approaches and passes. See what some of the main storylines were from the media presser after the morning skate:
Nikita Nikitin is back in the line-up for tonight’s game after missing three games due to an upper body injury sustained in the game against the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 29.
Head coach Todd Richards said having Nikitin back will add poise and experience at the point and help the Blue Jackets spend less time in the defensive zone.
Here is a glimpse of what Richards had to say about Nikitin:
“Nikitin going back in on the back end will be a big help for us.”
“[He’s] a guy with some poise and can play in every situation, a guy who can handle the puck and make a good first pass.”
“It gets Nikitin and Tyutin back together. There’s a comfort level with both of those guys when they’re playing together.”
Read more about Nikitin’s return and more of tonight's storylines inside this blog post.
Consistency amidst change. Victory amidst adversity.
This challenge is what the Blue Jackets will be battling for tonight at Nationwide Arena as they take on the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings.
Before the season even started, coach Todd Richards stressed the importance of the organization's depth at the NHL level and beyond. With recent injuries to core players such as James Wisniewski, Nikita Nikitin, and Cam Atkinson, this is what he meant when he said they would need everyone in order to win.
“Injuries are going to become a factor, and right now they’re a factor,” Richards said after the morning skate today.
Defensemen Cody Goloubef and Nick Holden are among the newest additions to the Blue Jackets roster after the team placed Nikitin and Adrian Aucoin on injured reserve in the last 48 hours. They join Tim Erixon as the most recent players recalled from the Blue Jackets' American Hockey League affiliate, the Springfield Falcons.
The transition from the AHL to the NHL can be a challenge, but Richards said the adjustment has been easier for the new players because of the consistencies in the coaching philosophies and systems that the Blue Jackets have established with Falcons.Read the rest of this story by clicking inside the blog post.
The crowd at Nationwide Arena was on its feet for the last 30 seconds of tonight’s win against the Dallas Stars. They were standing because the Blue Jackets had successfully protected a 2-1 lead for more than half a period, and they only needed to fight for 30 seconds more to seal the deal.
According to head coach Todd Richards, those 30 seconds of desperation were his favorite part of the game.
“It was in our zone, and there were some moments I think where you’re on the edge of your seat, but it was the desperation in our game – guys diving and trying to get in the shooting lanes,” Richards said. “That’s what it takes.”
Unlike the complete 60 minutes the Blue Jackets put in against Chicago, this game reiterated the slow start that the team has had for a few games this season. The Blue Jackets only registered three shots in the first period despite three power play opportunities.
“The first period, we could create no momentum out of our power play," Richards said. "It was killing us because it sucked the life right out of us."Read the rest of this story by following along inside the blog post.
The players took the ice this morning for about 25 minutes, and according to Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards, the “mood was good.”
Despite being handed their fourth loss of the season by the Chicago Blackhawks last Saturday, the Blue Jackets got back to their style of play and found some things to build on. Richards said he was pleased with the improvements he saw, including their transition game and creating more traffic in front of the net.
Still, there are a lot of things that need to be better, and that includes their struggling power play. Richards said it has been good, but not great, which for him isn't good enough.
“We have to do a better job getting pucks to the net, maybe a little quicker so our forwards have opportunities,” Richards said after the morning skate.
Currently, the Blue Jackets are ranked 24th in the league with the man advantage, scoring three power play goals out of 23 power play opportunities through five games. Richards said they spent the morning reviewing tape and talking about ways to improve the power play, which he says needs to have more flow.Read the full story on the Blue Jackets' power play adjustment inside this blog post.
The team's "identity" was the buzzword around the locker room this morning. Ever since they returned to Nationwide Arena this season, several of the Blue Jackets along with coach Todd Richards have talked about their identity being a hard-working, grind-it-out team that never gives up.
Now, they have to prove it. Despite losing to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, they exhibited a solid effort from start to finish that may have been their most consistent game of the season. They have a chance to rebound and continue along the path of improvement tonight against the Dallas Stars.
Richards said tonight’s game will be “huge,” and the result will be a testament to the direction the team is headed in.
“Our motivation has to be every single night – this is what we have to do, this is our identity,” Richards said after the morning skate today.
There are very few off-days in the NHL, especially in a shortened season when four games a week is the norm, and the Blue Jackets will need to find a way to build off the good things displayed against the Blackhawks if they want to get back on the winning track in short order.Read the full story from today's skate inside this blog post.
As the Blue Jackets prepare to host the undefeated Chicago Blackhawks at Nationwide Arena tonight for the second home game of the season, one thing is clear: they have to be better at both ends of the ice.
“We've got to make it difficult on these guys, and it’s got to start on the first shift," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said this morning. "We can’t stick our toes in the water and see if it’s cold.
"When this thing starts, we have to jump in."
The Blue Jackets have given up a goal on the first shift in two of their four games, and Richards said tonight’s game will be a challenge to tighten things up defensively while generating offense against a team that has scored 17 goals in its first four games.
Scoring against the Blackhawks won’t be easy, however, and the Blue Jackets are going to have to be a little more than scrappy in front of Blackhawks’ goaltender Corey Crawford if they want to win the hockey game.Read the full story on "net presence" inside this blog post.
Prior to yesterday’s game against the Red Wings, head coach Todd Richards talked about progress as a process, and he wanted to see improvement on both sides of the puck, defensively and offensively.
One area he wanted to see improvement was special teams – the power play and penalty kill, which he said was good, but not good enough.
“It’s good to generate momentum, but there are times when we have to score,” Richards said.
The team responded to that challenge with two power play goals in the third period last night. James Wisniewski scored to tie the game at 2-2 with a powerful slap shot from the point. Vinny Prospal gave the Blue Jackets the brief lead off a wrist shot that came at the tail end of Kyle Quincey’s minor penalty for interfering with RJ Umberger.
The down side?
Aside from walking away with one point instead of two, the Blue Jackets spent too many minutes sitting in the penalty box. Various Blue Jackets players landed in the box at nine different times last night and the team played shorthanded seven of those nine times. Hockey giveth and taketh away.
The Blue Jackets are riding a wave of momentum after winning their season opener on the road in Nashville, but head coach Todd Richards said they’ll need to be even better if they want to earn their second win of the season tonight in the home opener against the Detroit Red Wings.
“We don’t want to get too comfortable with ourselves. We haven’t proven anything yet,” Richards said after today’s morning skate.
“We still have a long way to go. (Saturday) was a great step. Tonight is a night where we have to take another step.”
The spirits during the morning skate today were lively, but the tone in the locker room afterwards was serious and businesslike. The Blue Jackets are very familiar with the winning tradition of the Red Wings, a tradition that was muted by a 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
In short, both teams have a lot to prove tonight.Read the full story inside this blog post.