POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.28.2012 / 1:56 PM

4:05 P.M.:
BLUE JACKETS SIGN HUNWICK
: Howson announced just a short while ago that the team has signed former University of Michigan goaltender Shawn Hunwick to an amateur tryout contract beginning today. Hunwick, 24, will be the backup goaltender for Columbus tonight as Allen York makes his second career start. Steve Mason (upper body) was injured in today's morning skate and is listed as day-to-day.

Hunwick posted a 24-12-3 record with a 2.00 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and five shutouts this season for the Wolverines. He ranked second in the nation in wins, third (tied) in shutouts, fifth in save percentage and seventh in goals-against average and was named to the All-CCHA Second Team.

Get to know the newest Blue Jackets goaltender in this "20 Questions" feature from the CCHA website:


3:30 P.M.:
JENNER SIGNED:
Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson announced the team has signed 2010 second-round pick (37th overall) Boone Jenner to a three-year, entry-level contract. The deal begins on July 1, 2012 and ensures the Oshawa Generals captain will be in the fold this summer as development camp and training camp await.

You can check out Jenner's bio on the Generals' web page here.

Jackets TV profiled Jenner during the 2011 development camp in Columbus. You can watch it below!


3:15 P.M.:
Planning on attending tonight's game? We've compiled a list of things going on at the rink tonight, along with some helpful links for more information. See you at Nationwide Arena!

*Doors will open tonight at 6:00 p.m. for the 7:40 p.m. puck drop.

*Tonight’s game is being broadcast nationally on the NBC Sports Network. In addition to already following the game @BlueJacketsNHL, give @NBCSN a follow tonight for the full experience.

*It’s Rally Towel night! Presented by Verizon, all fans receive a Blue Jackets rally towel to cheer on our boys in Union Blue.

*The Jackets are taking the ice in their Third Jerseys tonight paying homage to the cannon. Looking for the full history of the thirds? We’ve got you covered.

*Tonight is another 50/50 Raffle night, presented by Coldwell Banker. Look for your 50/50 volunteers in the blue aprons to purchase your ticket for only $1! Tonight’s beneficiary is The Childhood League.

*Love the song but have no idea what it is? Give @CBJ_DJ a follow. He live tweets all of Nationwide’s musical selections throughout the game.

Haven’t yet picked up your tickets for tonight’s showdown with the Red Wings? Show your high school or college ID for RUSH CBJ tickets for only $15 or starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Box Office only, pick up Huntington Green Seats for only $10 – they’re a steal since there’s not a bad seat to be found in Nationwide Arena.

Season Ticket Holders, renew your seats now and lock in the lowest prices for the 2012-’13 season. Plus, if you renew your tickets by the end of the 1st period tonight, you will be entered in the Season Ticket Holder Daily Sweepstakes to win tonight’s prize, 100 winners get 4 Free Tickets to a Cincinnati Reds Game. You can renew your seats at the ticketing tables at section 116 on the Bud Light Terrace, section 208 on the AEP Power Level or at the Guest Services Desk at section 110. Remember, the earlier you renew the more chances you have to win!


2:03 P.M.:
Red Wings radio play-by-play voice Ken Kal joins Bob McElligott for today's Game Breakdown, courtesy of Jackets TV:


1:59 P.M.:
Blue Jackets defenseman (and former Red Wing) Brett Lebda speaks with Jackets TV:


1:57 P.M.:
Cam Atkinson talks about tonight's game against the Red Wings on Jackets TV:

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.28.2012 / 9:55 AM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog

1:45 P.M.:

MORNING SKATE: Todd Richards

On what he wants to see tonight vs. Detroit: "A different start, a different effort. Hopefully there's more focus to our game, more discipline in our game. We were trying to cheat and cut corners in the game (on Monday night) versus a good team that knows how to win like Detroit. That's really what happened on Monday."

Asked about his expectations for the final stretch of the season: "We have six games left. It was a disappointing game. As a coach, sometimes you have to almost look past that. You don't just discard it and say it never happened - obviously, it happened. But we've done a lot of good things. We've had to overcome some obstacles, and deal with adversity as everyone else does. But our case is a little bit different. At the trade deadline, we lose three centermen, (now) Derek MacKenzie is out so we've lost four. We've played hard, done some good things and I think our players have put it on the line. We're not perfect, but at least we're competing hard. That's the one thing we can control and that's our focus. We can control our effort every single night, like tonight. Going forward, in the next six, it's our effort and giving it everything we have."

On Darryl Boyce: "He had minor bumps and bruises. So we just kept him off the ice (today), but he will be playing tonight."

Asked if any other injured players are nearing returns: "No changes there. Wiz, Derek (MacKenzie)...they're all in the same boat. Nothing's changed as far as them playing the game tonight or even looking forward to this weekend."

On any adjustments he will make after Monday's game: "There are differnet adjustments you can make. You aren't going to make radical changes, you aren't going to come in and completely alter your systems because guys are used to playing a certain way. You can tweak certain areas to concede a little but of offense so you're in good position defensively. But for the most part, we're going to try and play the same way."


12:00 P.M.:
The Red Wings are now leaving the ice after an optional morning skate at Nationwide. Things are shaping up on the injury front for Detroit, which has suffered through a barrage of players on the injured reserve since the All-Star break. All three goaltenders (Jimmy Howard, Ty Conklin and Jordan Pearce) were skating today, as well as defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and winger Johan Franzen.

Howard and head coach Mike Babcock said yesterday that Howard is on track to return Friday night. Franzen is expected to play tonight against Columbus, and practiced yesterday with Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi. Here are the expected lines for the Red Wings:

Franzen-Datsyuk-Bertuzzi
Filppula-Zetterberg-Hudler
Miller-Abdelkader-Cleary
Nyquist-Emmerton-Holmstrom

Lidstrom-White
Kronwall-Stuart
Quincey-Kindl

Conklin
Pearce


11:20 A.M.:
While we're waiting for the Red Wings to take the ice, let's go back to last week and check out Rick Nash's visit to Columbus Performance Academy - this year's winner of the 61 Club Good Health Challenge. Video courtesy of Jackets TV:


11:10 A.M.:
INJURY UPDATE:
Todd Richards told the media that Boyce has some "minor bumps and bruises," so he was kept off the ice today. Boyce will be in the lineup tonight. As far as other injured players out of the lineup, Richards said he does not anticipate any to return soon. Their statuses remain unchanged.


10:35 A.M.:
GOALTENDER UPDATE:
Steve Mason was the first goalie off the ice this morning. He will start tonight against the Red Wings, marking his seventh consecutive start.


10:20 A.M.:
As expected, the line combinations from Monday's game in Detroit will remain intact tonight. We'll see where Boyce fits in, and what his status is for the game shortly. In the meantime, here are the projected lines for the Blue Jackets:

Umberger-Brassard-Atkinson
Prospal-Letestu-Nash
Russell-Johansen-Dorsett
Gillies-(Boyce)-Boll

J. Johnson-Savard
Lebda-Nikitin
A. Johnson-Moore

Mason
York


10:10 A.M.:
UPDATE
: Center Darryl Boyce is not participating in the morning skate. We will get an update from interim head coach Todd Richards after the team comes off the ice.


10:00 A.M.:
Good morning from Nationwide Arena! The Blue Jackets are trickling on to the ice as today's morning skate is about to get started. Looks like all healthy players are present and accounted for, as well as both goaltenders (Steve Mason and Allen York). Let's start off the morning with highlights from a classic Blue Jackets-Red Wings game at Nationwide: from Oct. 25, 2011, when R.J. Umberger scored 21 seconds in, and later on in the first period, Ryan Johansen cashed in his first NHL goal.

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POSTED ON Monday, 03.26.2012 / 3:10 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog

7:10 P.M.:

The Blue Jackets and Red Wings are on the ice for warm-ups at Joe Louis Arena. All players who participated in the morning skate are present for the pre-game warm-up and Steve Mason was the first goaltender out of the tunnel for Columbus. He will face former Blue Jacket Ty Conklin, who is 3-1-2 in his career against his former club with a 3.06 goals-against average and .896 save percentage.

It looks as if the Blue Jackets defense pairs will switch up slightly from Sunday's game. Here's how they lined up during the pre-game:

J. Johnson - Savard
Lebda - Nikitin
A. Johnson - Moore

The forward lines will remain the same. 

HISTORICAL NOTE: On Feb. 4, 2011, Mason made 34 saves to lead the Blue Jackets to a 3-0 shutout win over the Red Wings here at Joe Louis Arena. Antoine Vermette, Andrew Murray and Jared Boll supplied the offense for Columbus in the victory. Relive that masterful performance by "Mase" by watching the highlights below.


3:20 P.M.:
Center Mark Letestu talks with Bob McElligott about tonight's game on Jackets TV:



3:15 P.M.:

We've covered who is in/out of the Red Wings lineup for tonight's game, but now we have the projected line combinations based on today's morning skate. Here are the expected lines for Detroit:

Bertuzzi - Datsyuk - Nyquist
Filppula - Zetterberg - Hudler
Miller - Abdelkader - Cleary
Holmstrom - Emmerton - Mursak

Lidstrom - White
Kronwall - Stuart
Quincey - Kindl

Conklin
Pearce
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POSTED ON Monday, 03.26.2012 / 10:39 AM


2:40 P.M.:
Left wing Ryan Russell talks about facing the Red Wings tonight, on Jackets TV:


2:30 P.M.:
Check out today's Game Breakdown on Jackets TV, featuring Bob McElligott and Bill Davidge:


2:15 P.M.:
Interim head coach Todd Richards on Jackets TV:

On what he expects at the start of tonight’s game, given the results of the last two games: “Our start is the same with how we’re going to approach every game. We want to start the same way, finish the same way and play hard for 60 minutes in between. None of that mindset changes now. Things might change throughout a game, but going in, that’s the mentality I want us to have.”

On tonight’s starting goaltender: “Mason will play tonight. He’s our No. 1 goalie right now, so he’s playing. It was a 3 o’clock game yesterday, and we took it out for the third period thinking he could get some rest and get ready for today.”

On Allen York’s performance in relief yesterday: “He was very good. I think Edmonton lost a little of the edge to their game…I think that was dictated by the score. I think we pushed a little harder in the third, but we put ourselves in a position where a team could sit back, and that’s not what we want.”

Asked if he had any conversations with Mason after yesterday’s game: “I didn’t have a conversation with him. There might be different situations where I’d have a conversation with either he or another player if it was a tough outing or (regarding) a decision I made in the game. I didn’t talk to him last night and I didn’t talk to him today, but I did let him know last night that he was going to play (tonight).”

On holding a lead against the Red Wings, who mounted a third-period comeback in their last meeting with the Blue Jackets at Joe Louis Arena: “That’s what good teams can do. This team knows how to win…they can burn you if you’re not ready to play. It’s blood in the water, and I’ve felt it in this building before and seen it before whether we’re playing at home or on the road. (The last meeting) was a great hockey game for most of the game. We gave up two soft goals, and that really deflated us as a group. But regardless of how goals are scored, that’s where we have to be mentally strong and stick to our game.”


1:15 P.M.:


12:15 P.M.:
Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock told the media this morning that he will use the same lineup against Columbus that defeated Carolina on Saturday. Detroit's come-from-behind win over the Hurricanes was also the first game back for Nicklas Lidstrom, who missed 11 games due to injury -- a stretch of hockey in which the Red Wings struggled in several areas of the game. They have just two wins in their last 10 games overall, but looked much sharper over the weekend.

Goaltenders Jimmy Howard (lower body, two games missed) and Joey MacDonald (back, four games missed) will not play tonight, and it seems likely that Ty Conklin will make a third consecutive start. The Red Wings are also without Patrick Eaves, Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Franzen and Darren Helm. Of that group, Franzen is considered the closest to a return and he skated with the team this morning.


12:00 P.M.:
Steve Mason was the first goalie off the ice after the morning skate, a strong indicator he will start between the pipes against the Red Wings tonight. He has played well against the Red Wings (and at Joe Louis Arena) during his career, posting a 7-9-2 overall record vs. Detroit with a 2.62 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.

He has gone 9-6-1 his last 16 games after posting a 1-7-1 record with a 3.73 goals-against and .880 save percentage in the 10 games prior. Mason will be looking to rebound after yesterday's loss and regain the sharp form he displayed on Friday night vs. Carolina, making 39 saves in the Blue Jackets' 5-1 victory.


11:45 A.M.:
The Blue Jackets are currently on the ice for an optional morning skate at The Joe, after playing yesterday against the Edmonton Oilers in Columbus. Derek Dorsett, R.J. Umberger and Derick Brassard are the three absences from today's skate, along with interim head coach Todd Richards. Assistant coaches Brad Berry, Dan Hinote and goaltending coach Ian Clark are running the session.

Both goaltenders (Steve Mason, Allen York) are skating, and we will get an update regarding tonight's starting goaltender once things have wrapped up on the ice.

Due to the optional skate, there are not formal line rushes but yesterday's combinations are not expected to be changed up. Here is the lineup from the Edmonton game:

Umberger-Brassard-Atkinson
Prospal-Letestu-Nash
Gillies-Johansen-Dorsett
Russell-Boyce-Boll

J. Johnson-Savard
Lebda-Moore
A. Johnson-Nikitin

Mason
York


10:48 A.M.:
Good morning from Joe Louis Arena! Jackets TV and BlueJackets.com made the 3-hour trip North for the 7:30 p.m. puck drop in the Motor City. Morning skate times flip flop on the road, so the CBJ will be on the ice shortly, but keep an eye on this blog for all the news and updates on the game, including lines, quotes and some pre-game videos.


Make sure to read today's edition of "GAME DAY," our exclusive preview breaking down the game vs. Detroit. Also, please utilize the commenting function below to give us feedback on what you would like to see in this blog, as we try to provide you the fans with the comprehensive look at a Blue Jackets GAME DAY.

Here is the link to GAME DAY.

In case you missed yesterday's action from Nationwide, a 6-3 loss to Edmonton, here are the post game highlights along with a summary of the day's events. Goals by Brassard, Letestu and Nash (penalty shot).

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POSTED ON Sunday, 03.25.2012 / 3:01 PM


3:00 P.M.:


2:55 P.M.:
Get primed for the game with Bob McElligott's breakdown, featuring Shawn Mitchell from the Columbus Dispatch on Jackets TV:

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POSTED ON Sunday, 03.25.2012 / 9:49 AM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog
12:45 P.M.:
Heading down to Nationwide Arena for today's game? We've got some tips for fans in the latest edition of the "At The Arena" guide...

Here are some tips for fans attending the game:

* Doors will open tonight at 2:00 p.m. for the 3:00 p.m. puck drop.

* Stellar Kart is in the house tonight as part of Faith and Family night. Stay after the game to see the Dove Award winning band play a free concert for all fans in attendance.

* Tonight is another 50/50 Raffle night, presented by Coldwell Banker. Look for your 50/50 volunteers in the blue aprons to purchase your ticket for only $1! Tonight’s beneficiary is the Athens Youth Hockey Association.

* Speaking of pets, want to see one of these cuties on the boards for the March 30th game? Go vote for your favorite in Petland’s Favorite Pet contest.

* Love the song but have no idea what it is? Give @CBJ_DJ a follow. He live tweets all of Nationwide’s musical selections throughout the game.

Haven’t yet picked up your tickets for this afternoon’s game versus Edmonton? Bring the fam’ for only $25 a person with the Dispatch Family Value Pack Pack. Or starting at 2 p.m. at the Box Office only, Huntington Green Seats for only $10 -- pretty good deal since there’s not a bad seat to be found in Nationwide Arena.

**Key reminder about Season Ticket renewals**

Season Ticket Holders, renew your seats now and lock in the lowest prices for the 2012-’13 season. Plus, if you renew your tickets by the end of the 1st period today, you will be entered in the Season Ticket Holder Daily Sweepstakes to win today’s prize: 10 winners get to Double Your 2012-’13 Season Tickets. You can renew your seats at the ticketing tables at section 116 on the Bud Light Terrace, section 208 on the AEP Power Level or at the Guest Services Desk at section 110.

Remember, the earlier you renew the more chances you have to win!


12:15 P.M.:
Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards talks about today's game vs. the Oilers on Jackets TV.


12:00 P.M.:
As outlined in today's edition of GAME DAY, the Oilers come into today's game on a six-game points streak (4-0-2) -- a stretch that began with a 3-0 win over the Blue Jackets at Rexall Place on Mar. 14. Edmonton has received stellar goaltending from Devan Dubnyk and is starting to see consistency with rookie center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

The Oilers are also without defensemen Andy Sutton and Cam Barker, who remain sidelined with injuries. Lennart Petrell (groin) is listed as day-to-day, and Taylor Hall (concussion) will not play this afternoon. Center Chris VandeVelde was recalled from Oklahoma City (AHL) in the absence of captain Shawn Horcoff, who is out with a sore back.

Here is the projected lineup for the Oilers this afternoon, courtesy of EdmontonOilers.com:

Jones-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle
Hartikainen-Gagner-Hemsky
Hordichuk-VandeVelde-Omark
Smyth-Belanger-Eager

Smid-Petry
Whitney-Schultz
Peckham-Potter

Dubnyk
Khabibulin


11:10 A.M.:
The Blue Jackets won't be making any lineup changes from Friday's win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and Richards confirmed yesterday that Steve Mason will once again start between the pipes. By moving rookie Cam Atkinson to a line with R.J. Umberger and Derick Brassard, Richards got the desired result and saw more offense out of the Brassard-Umberger duo. Captain Rick Nash's line with Mark Letestu and Vinny Prospal also generated several quality chances, with Prospal and Letestu scoring goals in the 5-1 victory.

You can read more about Umberger's hat trick in this feature from BlueJackets.com.

Here is the projected lineup for the Blue Jackets this afternoon:


Umberger-Brassard-Atkinson
Prospal-Letestu-Nash
Russell-Johansen-Dorsett
Gillies-Boyce-Boll

Jack Johnson-Savard
Lebda-Moore
Aaron Johnson-Nikitin

Mason
York


10:00 A.M.: John Moore and Steve Mason talk about the game vs. Edmonton today...



9:53 A.M.:

Good morning from Nationwide Arena! It's a game day as the Blue Jackets take on the Edmonton Oilers today - that's right it's a 3 p.m. matinee. Due to the early start time there is no morning skate for either team, but keep an eye on this blog for all the news and updates on the game, including some pre-game videos. Make sure to read today's edition of "GAME DAY," our exclusive preview breaking down the game vs. Edmonton. Also, please utilize the commenting function below to give us feedback on what you would like to see in this blog, as we try to provide you the fans with the comprehensive look at a Blue Jackets GAME DAY.

Here is the link to GAME DAY.

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.23.2012 / 12:39 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog

4:15 P.M.:

Here are some tips for fans attending the game at Nationwide Arena tonight:

* Doors will open tonight at 6:00 p.m. for the 7:00 p.m. puck drop.

* Giveaway! Tonight, all fans will receive a Panini set of Blue Jackets trading cards. Featuring Derek Dorsett, Rick Nash, Vinny Prospal, James Wisniewski and R.J. Umberger, each pack also includes a bonus limited edition Jack Johnson trading card when you make a purchase at the FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line Store. Don’t forget to pick yours up at any entrance tonight.

* Tonight is another 50/50 Raffle night, presented by Coldwell Banker. Look for your 50/50 volunteers in the blue aprons to purchase your ticket for only $1! Tonight’s beneficiary is the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus.

* Speaking of pets, want to see one of these cuties on the boards for the March 30th game? Go vote for your favorite in Petland’s Favorite Pet contest.

* Love the song but have no idea what it is? Give @CBJ_DJ a follow. He live tweets all of Nationwide’s musical selections throughout the game.

Haven’t yet picked up your tickets for tonight’s tilt with Carolina? Don’t forget you can purchase a Tim Hortons Jackets Pack for only $30, or starting at 5 p.m. at the Box Office only, Huntington Green Seats for only $10.
3:45 P.M.:

"3 Keys To The Game"
Face-off between the Blue Jackets and the Carolina Hurricanes is a little more than three hours away. How do these two clubs match up? We give you tonight's "3 Keys" to victory, a sample of what the Blue Jackets need to do to earn two points in this inter-conference showdown.

1. Move the puck quickly: This is especially true in the defensive zone -- the Hurricanes' identity is built around pressuring the puck and forcing opponents into mistakes using their forecheck, meaning the Blue Jackets must focus on exiting the defensive zone quickly and getting up the ice in transition.

2. Quality over quantity: Cam Ward is one of the top goaltenders in the National Hockey League, and one who gets better when he sees a high volume of shots on goal. He was masterful last week against the league-leading St. Louis Blues, putting together a 40-save shutout and making difficult saves look routine. The Blue Jackets' recipe for success will be to stick to their game plan to create scoring chances, and bury the opportunities they get.

3. Fight fire with fire: The Hurricanes and Blue Jackets are two teams that thrive on the success of their forecheck, and with Carolina preferring to use their pressure game to start their attack, Columbus can combat that by spending time in the offensive zone. Evidence of that came against a skating team like Colorado, who couldn't get anything going because the Blue Jackets spent most of the game in the Avalanche zone. The more time the Hurricanes spend chasing the puck, the Blue Jackets will be better off.


1:50 P.M.:
Hurricanes Lines & Pairs


The Hurricanes are not expected to make any lineup changes for tonight's game against the Blue Jackets. The combinations employed by Kirk Muller in their 3-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night appear to be remaining intact. Cam Ward is slated to start in goal for Carolina, as he was the first goaltender off the ice after their morning skate.

Here is the Hurricanes' projected lineup for tonight's game:

Tlusty-Staal-LaRose
Skinner-Jokinen-Ruutu
Bowman-Sutter-Dwyer
Joslin-Brent-Stewart

Gleason-Allen
Harrison-Faulk
Pitkanen-McBain

Ward
Boucher

- One name to keep an eye on tonight is Sutter...the 23-year-old native of Huntington, NY is in his fourth NHL season and is a former first-round pick of the Hurricanes in 2007. He's a member of the famed Sutter hockey family and has blossomed in his role of the "stopper" center -- but that's not all the Hurricanes want from him. His offensive game is on the upswing, as well, and his 15 goals on the season are the fifth-most on the team, despite playing against opposing teams' top lines.

- Captain Eric Staal is on fire, too. He's got seven points in his last five games and has been a huge spark in Carolina's recent surge. He and Tlusty have clicked this year and adding LaRose on the right side of that line has given the trio a noticeable edge. LaRose scored the game-winner last weekend in Winnipeg with just over a minute left in regulation.


1:42 P.M.:
Carolina Head Coach Kirk Muller on Jackets TV:


1:32 P.M.:
Bob McElligott's Game Breakdown on Jackets TV:


1:17 P.M.:
Todd Richards on Jackets TV:


12:39 P.M.:
Cam Atkinson on Jackets TV:


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POSTED ON Friday, 03.23.2012 / 10:05 AM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog

11:55 A.M.:
Derek Dorsett on Jackets TV:


11:35 A.M.:
Morning Skate quotes - Todd Richards


Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards met with the media following the skate. Here is the full transcript of his comments:

On what it will take to beat the Hurricanes tonight: "It's going to take a solid effort from everyone. Looking at some of their games, it's probably one of the most aggressive teams we've come across with how they play. It looks like they're real aggressive two guys all over the ice on forechecks and face-offs. That causes problems because you're going to have to play quick and fast. Their defense closes gaps quickly, so there's not a lot of room. It's managing the puck, making good decisions and moving the puck quick. If you move it quick enough, it doesn't allow them to get into position and you can counter and get on the attack. The other thing they possess is hope, confidence in their game. That's a powerful thing. It will be a good challenge for us tonight."

On the changes he hopes to see with the line changes in the top six: "I'd like to see a few more goals. But just some positive momentum and creativity in the offensive zone, creating more chances -- that's what I want to see. If we're creating more chances, we're doing some positive things there and obviously the changes are the right changes for the team. It's creating more offense. The only change I made was moving Rick and swapping him out with Cam. I really liked the way Mark (Letestu), Cam and Vinny (Prospal) were playing. We really need more production out of Derick, R.J. and Rick. It was just moving one of those guys, and I think Cam came up and did a good job. With Rick, I see a good fit with Vinny and Mark."

On the emphasis placed on the power play in practice: "We practiced it (yesterday) for about 15 or 20 minutes. It was no different than previous days. We had a good meeting today. It's something that we have to talk about just because we're not scoring. It's no different than when the power play's going really well and you're talking about it a lot, because usually you're having success. Again, it's creating that positive momentum and those chances on the power play that I want to see."

On Derek MacKenzie's status: "He's not playing tonight. I would say he's day-to-day."

Asked about the addition of Jack Johnson, and what it has meant to the Blue Jackets: "Watching him, he's a guy that can play 30-plus minutes. It's been impressive to watch that. In the Calgary game when Wisniewski got hurt, we were down to five (defensemen) and the game goes to overtime. I don't know if he tires out on the ice. He's a guy that can play a lot of minutes, play in every different situation...power play, penalty kill, four-on-four, five-on-five and against other team's top lines. He really gives you a lot of flexibility on the back end with how you want to use him. He's kind of injected our team with some enthusiasm. When you acquire a guy at the trade deadline, there's enthusiasm there. He wants to be a difference in our organization and a difference on our team. I've said it before...it's been really refreshing."

... and some pictures from this morning



11:20 A.M.:
Morning Skate quotes - Cam Atkinson


Atkinson has moved up to play with two new linemates, and BlueJackets.com was there to ask him about it.

On making the switch to play with Umberger and Brassard: "I just try to go out there and use my speed to my benefit. I've been trying to knock home a couple of rebounds (lately), but I feel good. Our line was doing well out there today so hopefully we can get a couple goals tonight. All three of us are very similar, but we have different style of play. Brass can score goals, but he's definitely looking to pass first. Umby is a big body who can score and go to the net...I can hopefully use my speed to take guys wide, and (the line mates) can pound in the rebounds."

On the defensive responsiblity against a fast Hurricanes team: "That's the main part of the game. They're going to try and create offensive chances, so that has to be our focal point. (The last stretch of the season) is about taking care of your body and nutrition. But you can't look ahead - you have to start with today and this is going to be a tough game.


10:55 A.M.:
Morning Skate quotes - Derek Dorsett

We caught up with Dorsett after the morning skate and talked about tonight's game, how to slow down the Hurricanes' skilled forwards and getting back to the "score first" mentality the Blue Jackets had during their recent four-game winning streak.

On if it's a challenge to face a team you only see once a year: "Not really. Nowadays, we pre-scout so much that we get a few of the game on video and we'll go over it before the game, and know what to expect. Lots of guys watch games, so it's pretty self-explanatory. Obviously, it's going to be a little bit different, but we'll get their systems and stuff before the game."

Does it come down to worrying about the Blue Jackets and their game plan? "That's what we're worrying about right now. It doesn't matter who we're playing, just about the way we play and what we have to do."

How difficult will it be to slow down a team with a lot of skill, like Carolina? "They're a hot team right now, and they're playing really well. They have a lot of skilled guys over there and they come at teams hard. They're maybe one of the teams that pushes the hardest, so we have to make sure we're ready for it."

On scoring first tonight: "Whenever you can get on the board early in the game, it's obviously a plus. Either way, we have to make sure that whatever happens, we keep playing for the full 60 minutes."



10:35 A.M.:

Steve Mason was the first goaltender off the ice after the morning skate, suggesting he's the likely starter tonight vs. the Hurricanes. In three career starts against Carolina, Mason is 3-0-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage.


10:25 A.M.:
The morning skate is wrapping up now. Derek MacKenzie looks to have been the last skater to reach interim head coach Todd Richards, so he gets the honor of skating an extra lap following the skate. As Richards told us yesterday, MacKenzie will not play tonight vs. the Hurricanes but is progressing toward a return.

As the players start to make their way to the locker room, we will catch up with them and get updates on tonight's starting goaltender.



10:05 A.M.:

It looks as if the lines used in yesterday's practice are going to be used for tonight's game. Interim head coach Todd Richards said yesterday that it would be a possibility, and it looks to be the case. Cam Atkinson will move up and play alongside R.J. Umberger and Derick Brassard, while Rick Nash will slot on the right side of Vinny Prospal and Mark Letestu.

Nash and Prospal had great chemistry together at the start of the season, so it's a combination that has worked before.

Here are the lines being used by the Blue Jackets in today's morning skate:
Umberger-Brassard-Atkinson
Prospal-Letestu-Nash
Russell-Johansen-Dorsett
Gillies-Boyce-Boll

Jack Johnson-Savard
Nikitin-Aaron Johnson
Lebda-Moore

Mason
York


9:55 A.M.:

Good morning from Nationwide Arena! It's a game day (and a Friday) as the Blue Jackets take on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight. We're posted up at the morning skate, so keep an eye on this blog for all the latest news and updates on the game. While we're waiting for the Blue Jackets to trickle on to the ice here, make sure to visit BlueJackets.com for today's edition of "GAME DAY," our exclusive preview breaking down the game vs. Carolina.

Here is the link to GAME DAY.



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