The Boys Are Back In Town

Tuesday, 09.04.2012 / 1:40 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today

It's usually right about this time each year that the hockey bug starts to show up, and NHL players are no different.

While the players enjoy spending time at home during the summer months and going about their offseason workout regimens, "home" comes beckoning in the form of a frozen sheet of ice and several of their teammates once the calendar turns to September.

And despite a busy and fun holiday weekend for several Blue Jackets, many have settled into Columbus in recent weeks and are gearing up for the 2012-13 season.

"Busy and fun" could also describe the offseason for the Blue Jackets, who were one of the league's most active teams during the summer. They added (and upgraded) at every position on the ice: forwards, defense, and goaltending. Listening to coach Todd Richards speak last week, you get the sense that he's starting to envision how these players are going to fit together.

Though training camp isn't officially slated to begin for another two weeks or so, a sizable group of Blue Jackets players (and others from around the NHL) have been gathering at the OhioHealth Ice Haus for informal skates a few times each week.

Former Blue Jackets enforcer (and current Philadelphia Flyer) Jody Shelley has been skating in Columbus, as has former Ohio State Buckeye center Dave Steckel, who is now a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Columbus prospects Will Weber and Trent Vogelhuber have joined the group, which will continue to grow in the coming days.

The guys have been getting some work done despite the casual nature of these practices. Today, there were several odd-man rush drills and a lot of work put in within the offensive zone -- drills focused on puck possession and creating chances at even strength. Sergei Bobrovskyskated for the first 30 minutes of the session before heading out for an off-ice workout.

Other notes from today's informal skate:

-- Brandon Dubinsky and Vinny Prospal spent a lot of time working together today, and the two have some familiarity as former New York Ranger teammates. Dubinsky's an aggressive skater in the middle of the ice, and Prospal has that knack for finding the open guy in the slot area.

-- You can immediately see the reward for a rigorous offseason from Ryan Johansen. He's added at least 16 pounds of muscle and looks far more solid on the puck. He's building up to the ideal frame for an NHL center iceman, and looks poised for a breakout season at just 20 years of age. Keep an eye on the kid.

-- Bobrovsky looked good in limited action. Poised, quick, smart with his puck decisions. One thing sticks out: he's always working on his game. Checking his positioning, confirming angles, you name it. The guy doesn't take a second to relax after a drill.

-- Derick Brassard was flying out there today, as was recent arrival John Moore.

-- Derek Dorsettis clearly taking a larger leadership role on the team, and it doesn't take long to recognize it. He's active in every drill, giving direction and encouraging teammates regardless of results.

-- I've determined how to characterize Dorsett's game: he's like a bull in a china shop that knows what it wants to buy. I'll leave you with that for today.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Johnson 3 3 1 1 4
B. Dubinsky 3 0 4 0 4
M. Calvert 3 2 1 3 3
R. Johansen 3 1 2 0 3
B. Jenner 3 1 2 -1 3
D. Savard 3 0 3 1 3
C. Atkinson 3 1 1 1 2
D. MacKenzie 3 1 0 0 1
M. Letestu 3 1 0 0 1
J. Skille 3 0 1 -1 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 1 2 0 .904 3.32
 
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