Umberger: "we have to be crisper and execute"

Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 2:00 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today

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.

"I think every team is going through this right now," Umberger told BlueJackets.com after practice. "We practiced today and it showed a little bit, both mentally and physically with our sharpness. It’s our job to retool and finish this week off strong before we go into Nashville. The last three days, our intensity level has been really high and the adrenaline has been rushing.

"Even in a normal camp, they always say between day three and four is your toughest because fatigue sets in and your mental (game) can be a challenge. It’s up to us to get energized and back at it again because our turnaround is really fast here."

Off ice preparation is just as important as what they're doing on the ice, Umberger said, and getting ready for the upcoming season cannot be confined to the rink. A strong, consistent work ethic is spotlighted even further in a compacted schedule because the work cycle is going to feel like it never stops.

"You have to make the most of every moment here," Umberger said. "When you’re away from the rink, you have to be thinking about systems and preparing yourself. The practices leading up to Saturday – even the morning skate Saturday – we have to be crisper and we’ve got to execute.

"I’m sure there will be a lot of grey areas going into that game because it’s also new for a lot of guys, but bottom line it comes to work ethic. It’ll carry you through, and there’s no reason for us to be outworked."

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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