Notebook: Back to work (Sep. 30)

Monday, 09.30.2013 / 2:00 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today

And so, it begins.

The Blue Jackets took the ice this morning for an hour-plus practice on the main ice at Nationwide Arena, beginning final preparations for their opening night showdown with the Calgary Flames. It was very business-like today for Todd Richards and his coaching staff, hitting hard on some systems items and also getting the players revved back up after a light weekend.

First, some housekeeping items: the Blue Jackets were without Artem Anisimov (day-to-day), Nikita Nikitin (illness), Marian Gaborik (personal) and Jared Boll (upper body) for today's skate. According to Richards, three of the four - save for Boll - are expected back in the coming days if all goes well. Richards wasn't ready to rule out Boll for opening night, but he admitted it was a bit of a long shot.

Derek MacKenzie returned to practice today and it's a step in the right direction for his recovery. He sported a red non-contact sweater and didn't skate with a set line, but took part in several drills and looked good in his first practice back.

"Really good sign," Richards said. "We'll know more tomorrow and see how he feels tomorrow, and if we can take it another step, we'll take it another step."

Here's how the lines looked today - and mind you, they were missing an entire line of players so only three full units were in use...

Jenner - Dubinsky - Comeau **

Calvert - Johansen - Atkinson

Umberger - Letestu - Foligno

And the defense pairs...

Murray - Wisniewski

Tyutin - Johnson

Erixon - Savard

Bobrovsky

McElhinney

**Comeau was skating in Gaborik's normal RW spot today. 

Some other notes from today:

- Richards said Gaborik is en route to Columbus from his native Slovakia, where was tending to a family matter over the weekend. He's expected back tonight and on the ice for practice tomorrow morning.

- Anisimov's injury is the same one which caused him to miss the third period of the final exhibition game, Richards confirmed. He's listed as day-to-day.

- As for line combinations, Richards said he's looking intently at line combinations in practice this week after he and his assistants put them together in the last few days. He acknowledged part of their thinking was trying to find more offense from Ryan Johansen, who was used in mostly a shutdown role at the end of last season.

"I know with (Umberger and Foligno) last year, he was pretty good," Richards said of Johansen. "That line was pretty good...but can we get more offensive output? It's no different with Anisimov. We have lots of pieces that we can try and move around and use in different spots."

- Today's comedy was Richards referencing Lloyd Christmas of "Dumb and Dumber" fame, when asked if there was a chance the Blue Jackets would name a captain this week: "So you're saying I got a chance? It would be a real low percentage."

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 1 1 1 0 2
D. MacKenzie 1 1 0 0 1
M. Letestu 1 1 0 1 1
B. Dubinsky 1 0 1 1 1
B. Jenner 1 0 1 -1 1
F. Tyutin 1 0 0 -1 0
J. Wisniewski 1 0 0 0 0
B. Comeau 1 0 0 -1 0
N. Nikitin 1 0 0 0 0
J. Skille 1 0 0 -1 0
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 0 1 0 .875 4.07
 
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