The nuts and bolts of tonight's game: Sergei Bobrovsky (BOBROVSKY) made 32 saves, a handful more in the shootout, Artem Anisimov and Nick Foligno scored in regulation, and the Blue Jackets hopped on their flight home with two points in hand.
Fun night at the rink, eh? Let's break it down. You can dance if you want to, but that "break it down" (in this context) means that I'm going to analyze the game. Your call, I'm cool with either.
Ah yes, the game. There was a lot to like from a Columbus perspective, in particular how the Blue Jackets countered after the Predators scored an early goal in the first period. There was no panic, no flustered-ness, no meltdown...just a collective "alright, we've got this" and commitment to their team game.
Here are my three main thoughts (and a brief game breakdown) after this 3-2 shootout win to kick off the 2012-13 season...inside the blog post.
And here we are...good afternoon and happy game day, Blue Jackets fans! We're thrilled to be back in the saddle and bringing you the latest on what should be a wild and exciting ride this season.
It's just before 1:30 p.m. ET, which means the Blue Jackets have just wrapped up their morning skate at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and we're just hours away from dropping the puck on the 2012-13 season. Can you believe it? I've been pinching myself all day...so awesome to be covering a game tonight.
Here's what we know: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards just told assembled media that Sergei Bobrovsky will start in goal tonight for Columbus. The 24-year-old Bobrovsky is making his Blue Jackets debut and will face Pekka Rinne between the pipes for the Predators.
You know what that means. Take it away, Jay Onrait...
That picture is a solemn reminder of the hard-luck losses over the years in Bridgestone Arena. For whatever reason, the funkiest of the funky goes down under that roof and at times, it has been downright unexplainable.
I'm not here to explain the past, but I am here to explain what the Blue Jackets must do tonight to start the next chapter on the right foot. Let's skip over the emotions/energy/tempo stuff, because that's a given; these two teams do not like each other and I can't think of a better way to kick off the season.
As a player, the only motivation you need to "get up" for this game is to look at the calendar and see the opponent -- these guys would love nothing more than to begin their season by boarding Blue Jackets Air with two points in their back pocket.
Here are my "three keys" to success for the Blue Jackets tonight:
1) Start strong -- we know emotions will be running high, but Todd Richards' team must get something going early to build on for the rest of the hockey game. Slow starts have plagued the Blue Jackets over the years (especially in Nashville), so an early goal or efficiently-run power play might do the trick. They can't take penalties or get themselves behind the eight-ball, because there are few NHL teams more opportunistic than the Nashville Predators.
The full "three keys" for tonight's game can be found inside this blog post.
Some news just announced by the Blue Jackets: they have named three assistant captains to start the 2012-13 NHL season.
Derek Dorsett, Jack Johnson and RJ Umberger are the three players to wear "A"s when the team takes the ice tomorrow night against the Nashville Predators. Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards has said throughout Training Camp presented by OhioHealth that the team has no timetable on naming a full-time captain; rather, he prefers to let leadership rise from the dressing room and let the next captain be the perfect fit.All three players will sport the "A" for the first time tomorrow night, as the Blue Jackets open their 48-game regular season schedule against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Click the "full story" link below to read more about each player's path to the Blue Jackets and how they've evolved as leaders since arriving in Columbus.
Todd Richards took a deep breath, smiled and exhaled before answering whether he thinks his team is ready for tomorrow night's opener in Nashville.
Without a doubt, it's a loaded question that several coaches are asking themselves on the eve of one of the most anticipated NHL seasons in recent memory. In less than 100 days, the playoff seedings will be determined and 16 teams are going to zero in on the ultimate goal: a shot at winning the Stanley Cup.
The Blue Jackets weren't the only team with less than a week to get geared up for the 48-game sprint to the finish line, but Richards feels he and his staff covered most of the ground they laid out before camp began.
And with one more practice (not including tomorrow's morning skate) to fine-tune the details, Richards liked what he saw on the ice this morning at Nationwide Arena.
"I liked our practice today," Richards said. "I would still like to have more time to prepare, but we don’t have any time. There’s going to be areas that we have to make adjustments to and coach, but I liked our enthusiasm and energy there."
After taking Wednesday's practice off and doing some light skating by himself on Thursday morning at Nationwide Arena, the right winger's "minor lower body issue" appears to be under control and isn't holding him back from playing tomorrow night.
He skated the full hour-plus practice with his teammates today and showed no signs of holding back.
"As of right now, no (restrictions)," Atkinson told BlueJackets.com after practice. "I feel good and a lot better than I did the last couple of days. Today was just about testing it out and seeing how it feels, and it got better every day."
Todd Richards and the Blue Jackets managed to get through Training Camp presented by OhioHealth with no major injuries despite packing a lot of work into the short time frame, and it looks like they will be carrying the full complement on Blue Jackets Air this afternoon.
Richards said one of the concerns entering this year's abbreviated camp was trying to find a balance between intensity in drills and being cognizant of things that could expose players to injury, and he's thankful that the team will be traveling to the Music City in good health.
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 took a break from the ice for the fifth day of Training Camp presented by OhioHealth, a move that head coach Todd Richards said was necessary in order to manage the physical and emotional toll of the past week.
“They were long days, long hard days, and I think the emotion, the energy of it too, the excitement of the first day – I think it’s typical of a normal training camp,” Richards said after the team’s team meetings and off-ice workout this morning.
One thing had been clear after yesterday’s 20-minute scrimmage: the intensity of the first couple of days of camp had evaporated. According to Richards, this was typical of training camps not just in Columbus but around the NHL.
“It’s been talked among coaches before that you normally have a letdown after 3-4 days of camp,” Richards said.
This year, the exhaustion was heightened by the shortened camp and acceleration towards the start of the season. For Richards, deciding to give the players a break from on-ice drills was necessary for the coaching staff to make in order to prepare for the emotional escalation heading into the season opener against the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
“It’s going to be revved up, emotions are going to be high," Richards said. "It’s going to be cranked up, the arena’s going to be loud. Our players are going to be excited, their players are going to be excited, and we have to have our emotions under control.”