It's Day 6 of Blue Jackets Training Camp presented by OhioHealth, and that means the club is in its final stage of preparations for tomorrow's season opener in Nashville. Can you believe it's almost time to drop the puck?
On the last day of camp, Todd Richards and his team will practice at 10:30 a.m. on Nationwide Arena ice, and BlueJackets.com has all your live updates, videos and photos throughout the morning on this blog. Keep it locked right here for analysis, line combos, and whatever else you need to get tuned up for tomorrow's game.
Follow the LIVE blog by clicking the "full story" link below.
When I arrived at the rink this morning and was told the Blue Jackets would not be holding an on-ice practice, I wrongly assumed this would be a rather uneventful day.
After sensing his team had lost a bit of its edge yesterday, Todd Richards decided to do most of their work in the weight room and the video room today. The Blue Jackets aren't the only team experiencing this, either; several clubs around the NHL have opted to take a day off in the middle of this compacted training camp schedule to preserve the energy.
The prevailing consensus from the players was that today's respite was welcomed, and they expect the energy level to be on an upward tick when practice resumes tomorrow morning at Nationwide Arena. Fully aware that time is of the essence, the sense is that tomorrow's practice will be a "down to business" type with final details being reviewed -- and Richards said this morning that there's still plenty of material to cover.
One big news item from today: it appears the Blue Jackets final roster is set. Boone Jenner and Tim Erixon were the two cuts from Training Camp presented by OhioHealth, with Jenner headed back to the Oshawa Generals (OHL) and Erixon to Springfield. David Savard and John Moore grabbed the last two spots on defense, with Moore the more likely of the two to pair up with Adrian Aucoin on opening night.
The full analysis of Day 5 at camp can be found inside this blog post.
The Blue Jackets have finalized their 23-man roster for the season opener in Nashville.
Boone Jenner and Tim Erixon were the two cuts made by the club today, head coach Todd Richards announced late this morning. The team did not hold a formal on-ice practice today at Training Camp presented by OhioHealth, instead conducting team meetings and off-ice workouts to get the energy level back up for tomorrow's skate.
In Jenner's case, he will return to the OHL's Oshawa Generals and be their No. 1 center and go-to player in virtually all situations. Upon his recall to Blue Jackets camp, Jenner was among the OHL's leading goal scorers and was fresh off representing Canada at the World Junior tournament for the second consecutive year.
Erixon, acquired from the New York Rangers in the Rick Nash trade this summer, heads back to Springfield (AHL) to play big minutes on the blue line for head coach Brad Larsen. Richards said it wouldn't surprise anyone if Erixon was recalled to the Blue Jackets in the near future, but for the time being, he wants Erixon logging important minutes for a Falcons team that has played well all season long.
The full story and a projected look at the opening night lineup are inside this blog post.
Today's practice definitely felt like a regular hockey season practice: we had a skate that lasted about an hour at Nationwide Arena, a full intrasquad scrimmage, a "talking to" from the head coach at center ice, and the lower body injury is back.
Unfortunately for Cam Atkinson, he's nursing a "minor lower body" issue that kept him out of today's practice at Training Camp presented by OhioHealth, but Todd Richards said afterward that he doesn't think it's going to be a lingering problem.
Atkinson dismissed its severity on the radio with 97.1's Beau Bishop this afternoon, so I think it's possible we could see No. 13 back on the ice fairly soon. His line mates missed him today; RJ Umberger and Derick Brassard both talked about how their line has come together and built off the momentum they had at the end of last year, and are looking forward to opening the season as a unit.
Richards was also asked if he thought Atkinson's status for the season opener in Nashville was in doubt, he didn't seem to think that was a threat.
"Right now, I'm not concerned," he said.
While Richards left the door open as far as practice for Thursday, he did say the team would certainly be skating on Friday morning before departing for Nashville. After plateauing a bit in terms of energy today, he wants to make sure the Blue Jackets are trending upward when they start final preparations for Saturday.
You can find full analysis for Day 4 inside this blog post.
The Blue Jackets took the ice at Nationwide Arena this morning with 24 skaters, one short of their complete training camp roster. Cam Atkinson was the lone absentee, but both he and Todd Richards said there's not much cause for concern.
Richards met with the media following today's practice, which lasted just under an hour, and said Atkinson was out with a "minor lower body issue." Other than that, no specifics of the injury were provided.
In the absence of Atkinson, the Blue Jackets mixed and matched line combinations for their second straight day of intrasquad scrimmaging, starting the morning with Nick Foligno on the right side of Derick Brassard and R.J. Umberger. The line of Dubinsky-Anisimov-Dorsett remained intact and looked good in both scrimmaging and drills for the third straight day.
Richards also said that, at this time, he doesn't have any concern that Atkinson could miss opening night on Saturday in Nashville, but he doesn't want to make any predictions either way.
"He'll come in tomorrow, we'll re-assess, and see where he's at," Richards said. "I'm sure there's other teams dealing with similar issues whether it's minor or major. If you're out an extended period of time, you're going to miss a good amount of games."
A few minutes into today's intrasquad scrimmage at Nationwide Arena, Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards blew his whistle and ground everything to a halt.
Though he kind of figured this would happen eventually, he wanted to get out in front of it before it became a problem: he could tell fatigue was starting to set in, and the intensity of the scrimmage was suffering. After a brief, one-way conversation with the players, they got back at it and finished with a strong fourth practice at Training Camp presented by OhioHealth.
The hitting picked up -- and Boone Jenner led the way finishing checks all over the ice -- and the pace followed suit. With only three days separating the Blue Jackets from an opening night date against the Nashville Predators, Richards was far more pleased with the second half of practice than he was with the start.
Part of the issue was the limited number of players skating; every line is double-shifting and playing twice as much as it would in a normal game situation, so the legs take a little bit to get acclimated.
According to R.J. Umberger, who has been skating on the team's top line during training camp, the onus is on the players to put a bit of a "crash" day in the rearview mirror and focus on three key days ahead.
10:15 A.M.: Good morning and welcome to Day 4 of Blue Jackets Training Camp presented by OhioHealth. The team is set to take the ice in just a few minutes at Nationwide Arena, and the practice is free and open to the public. If you're coming down to the arena, make sure to enter at the McConnell Street doors.Be sure to check out our official Twitter feed with all the content from yesterday's practice, and stay tuned to both the CBJ Today blog and Jackets TV for interviews and coverage after practice.
All you have to do is click "full story" to get everything you need!
No fewer than three times in the past three days have I stopped to think "what day is it?" and reminded myself that lunch at 4 p.m. is probably better than no lunch at all -- but that's the beautiful thing about hockey season. Go, go, go and enjoy the ride. You can sense it as things are starting to ramp up around here and the excitement is becoming more palpable with each passing day.
On a brisk Tuesday morning at Nationwide Arena, the Blue Jackets assembled for their third straight day of practice and this day began with a few drills to get the legs going. After the warm-up, it was time for an intrasquad scrimmage and our first true "competitive" look at the players since camp opened.As part of my daily emptying of the notebook from practice, I asked Blue Jackets fans on Twitter for their input: who do you want to know more about? So this is my attempt to answer as many of those questions as I can (and it's going to end up in a long post, but that's cool, right?)
Here we go! (your questions answered inside the blog post
When the Blue Jackets acquired Sergei Bobrovsky this summer, they hoped for an all-out battle between he and Steve Mason for the No. 1 goaltending spot in training camp. They now have that competition.
Todd Richards said he figured Bobrovsky -- who won 16 of 24 games in a starting role in Russia's KHL during the lockout, including one of the league's best goals-against averages -- would come into camp as the sharper of the two netminders, and after a few days of practice, Mason would catch up.
To this point, the goaltending situation has transpired pretty much how he'd anticipated, but Richards knows there is a long road ahead before anything is settled.
In the first three days of Blue Jackets Training Camp presented by OhioHealth, the pace has been high and there's been virtually no slowing down for a team that wants to make sure it's ready for its season opener in four days.
Usually that means a lot of pucks coming the goalie's way, and both Mason and Bobrovsky have shown well in the first set of practices.