Atkinson inching closer to a return

Monday, 02.11.2013 / 1:30 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today


Watching games with an empty, helpless feeling is getting pretty old for Cam Atkinson.

On injured reserve since Jan. 27 (and retroactive to Jan. 23) with a lower body injury, the 23-year-old forward is aching to get back in the lineup and help a Blue Jackets offense that has been struggling to score goals.

Before his injury, Atkinson had scored one goal in Columbus' first three games -- a beautiful breakaway goal in the home opener against Detroit -- after scoring 17 goals and 38 points in 33 games with Springfield (AHL). His goal-scoring presence has been missed in recent weeks, but with some patient rehabbing and constant monitoring of his injury, Atkinson is optimistic that he will be back on the ice soon.

Along with two other injured Blue Jackets, John Moore and Adrian Aucoin, Atkinson took part in his first team practice today since the injury. All three hope to be on the Blue Jackets' upcoming road trip to California, but Atkinson in particular has the Feb. 15 game in Los Angeles circled as a potential return date.

"It's been a tough few weeks, that's for sure," Atkinson told BlueJackets.com after today's skate. "In talking with (athletic trainer Mike Vogt) and our management, he wanted me to rest and try to get as close as possible to 100 percent. I know that I'm not going to be there this entire year, but I want to get to a point where I'm near that level and if I tweak it, it doesn't set me back.

"I definitely felt great today and great yesterday, and it was awesome to be back out there with the boys."

As someone looked to as a key member of the Blue Jackets' offense, and particularly on the power play, watching from the press box in a suit and tie is the last thing in the world Atkinson wants to be doing.

But it's no reason to rush back before he's ready, he said, and he's committed to improving and evaluating his progress every time he skates. The results have been positive in his last few sessions on the ice and he's confident that he's on the right track.

"With this injury, it has been and will be a day-to-day process," Atkinson said. "It's going to be nagging me along the way but it's about mental toughness and prepare yourself before and after games and practices.

"It's probably the worst feeling, knowing that you can help the boys and contribute offensively. But I'm excited and preparing to get back out there as soon as possible and I can't wait for when I do."

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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