This is becoming a familiar refrain: the Blue Jackets spent the majority of their Wednesday morning practice focusing on the power play.
Todd Richards has spoken at length about the topic since training camp began, re-stating the emphasis he and his coaching staff have put on making sure they don't go through the same man-advantage struggles that they did last season.
From day one of camp, the power play has been a front-burner issue and they haven't relented since.
And when you look around the NHL, there's a constant: teams with really good power plays (and not necessarily those with high efficiency rates, but those who can use their power play to make a difference in the game) tend to do well in the long run. The Blue Jackets want to be one of those teams that takes advantage of mistakes by the opponent, and if teams parade to the penalty box, Richards wants his group to pounce.
Welcome back to Trivia Tuesday!
Before we get to this week's question, let's take a look back at last week's question.
We asked how many times in RJ Umberger's Blue Jackets career has he scored 20+ goals in a season. The correct answer? He's done it four times during his Columbus tenure.
Congratulations to Ross Tamburro, who had the correct answer and won a replica hockey stick signed by the entire 2012-13 Blue Jackets team.
With that, it's time to ask this week's trivia question.
Recently, we celebrated the birthday of one of the newest Blue Jackets, Ryan Murray, as well as his fellow Blue Jackets teammate, Sergei Bobrovsky. With a few October birthdays quickly approaching (David Savard and Nick Foligno) and in sticking with the birthday theme, we move on to the following question...
QUESTION: What months during the year do the Blue Jackets (on the current roster) not celebrate a teammate's birthday?
Same rules as always: fill out the form below with the correct answer, click submit and you are automatically entered to win a replica hockey stick signed by the entire 2012-13 Blue Jackets team. Good luck!
After Monday's practice, Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards hoped he would have the majority of his injured players back for today's skate.
The good news is that he did. Artem Anisimov was back, Nikita Nikitin as well, and Marian Gaborik returned from Slovakia where he was attending his grandmother's funeral. The lone absence today was Jared Boll, who skated on his own after the team practice and has yet to be ruled out for opening night.
You know what means, right? The Blue Jackets went through an hour-long practice and used a new set of line combinations, presumably some of the trios they hope to employ on opening night against Calgary. They worked on the power play - and really, few days have gone by without hammering away at it - and touched on a few more systematic things on their second day of a four-day practice week.
And so, it begins.
The Blue Jackets took the ice this morning for an hour-plus practice on the main ice at Nationwide Arena, beginning final preparations for their opening night showdown with the Calgary Flames. It was very business-like today for Todd Richards and his coaching staff, hitting hard on some systems items and also getting the players revved back up after a light weekend.
First, some housekeeping items: the Blue Jackets were without Artem Anisimov (day-to-day), Nikita Nikitin (illness), Marian Gaborik (personal) and Jared Boll (upper body) for today's skate. According to Richards, three of the four - save for Boll - are expected back in the coming days if all goes well. Richards wasn't ready to rule out Boll for opening night, but he admitted it was a bit of a long shot.
Derek MacKenzie returned to practice today and it's a step in the right direction for his recovery. He sported a red non-contact sweater and didn't skate with a set line, but took part in several drills and looked good in his first practice back.
After a great day yesterday at Double Eagle for the Blue Jackets Foundation Golf Classic, the Blue Jackets got right back to work this morning at Nationwide Arena.
They skated for roughly 45 minutes, working on a few systematic aspects of their game before wrapping up with a half-ice three-on-three game (which is always really entertaining to watch, but can't be fun if you're a goalie).
A good sign for the Blue Jackets was Curtis McElhinney's return to practice about missing roughly a week's time with a lower body injury. He participated in the full skate, looked pretty sharp and with a day off Sunday, should be back on the ice for Monday's practice.
The big news today were the cuts: Todd Richards confirmed after practice that the team has made its last wave of pre-opening night roster moves.
Click here for the latest round of roster moves...