Fast start key to shortened season, players say

Monday, 01.07.2013 / 12:45 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today


The New Jersey Devils won the Stanley Cup in June of 1995, with the National Hockey League playing a 48-game regular season that began in mid-January. Circumstances are similar to what the league and its team face now, with the season likely to begin in the next two weeks.

For the Blue Jackets, the season can't come soon enough and nine of them took to the ice this morning at the OhioHealth Ice Haus in anticipation of things getting under way. More players are expected to arrive in the coming days and more are arriving today pending travel arrangements, but the prevailing emotion of excitement was the theme of the morning.

After a 70-minute or so skate today - which also featured former Ohio State forward Dave Steckel (Toronto Maple Leafs) - the focus shifted toward the re-shaped Blue Jackets and the club's outlook for what figures to be a fast and furious NHL season.

Who has the advantage? What do players and teams need to focus on to stay fresh? There was a variety of thoughts and ideas, which will no doubt be discussed in further detail once formal meetings and practices begin.

"You have to get out to good start, and you have to stay healthy," James Wisniewski told BlueJackets.com. "We can't have a start like we had last year and be 1-7, that just can't happen. If you can start off hot, you're literally sitting pretty.

"The other key is making sure you come in and (take care of yourself). Lots of guys haven't played games in at least eight months, and there a lot of things you have to be aware of both mentally and physically."

While the NHL schedule has yet to be released, Wisniewski and his teammates have already discussed multiple approaches to the season and how to position themselves for the best start possible.

He said teams that play well at the beginning and the end are in a prime spot to make the playoffs, and with every game meaning so much, the Blue Jackets want to make sure they aren't one of the teams that fall behind early. By adding veterans over the summer, Wisniewski feels there won't be a lot of "getting up to speed" but more refining what they've already learned.

"We have a lot of good leaders here," Wisniewski said. "We have very smart guys...we're going to know each other. We've been talking amongst ourselves throughout the lockout and know what to expect. (Head coach Todd Richards) is really good; he's going to know the fine line between getting us back into shape and not pushing us too much."

And when breaking down the team's newest additions as well as its strengths, Wisniewski confidently said he thinks the Blue Jackets are well-suited for this season.

"We're the type of team that's going to be in your face every single shift," Wisniewski said. "Every line can skate, we're physical, our 'D' are mobile and we have great offensive skill with a good first pass. I'm really looking forward to the season."

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 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Johansen 82 33 30 3 63
J. Wisniewski 75 7 44 0 51
B. Dubinsky 76 16 34 5 50
C. Atkinson 79 21 19 -4 40
A. Anisimov 81 22 17 -2 39
N. Foligno 70 18 21 5 39
R. Umberger 74 18 16 -3 34
M. Letestu 82 12 22 1 34
J. Johnson 82 5 28 -7 33
B. Jenner 72 16 13 6 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 32 20 5 .923 2.38
C. McElhinney 10 11 1 .909 2.70
 
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