Jackets Journal: February 22
Boll and Sanford closer to returning to the lineup
The morning after an eventful 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks, the Blue Jackets held an optional skate this morning at the OhioHealth Ice Haus. In total, 13 skaters were in attendance including all three healthy goaltenders: Steve Mason, Curtis Sanford and Allen York.
Right winger Jared Boll, placed on injured reserve on Tuesday with a foot injury, took part in practice today and that’s a good sign for a player who has been out since Feb. 9. It’s an injury the Blue Jackets know all too well; center Jeff Carter suffered a foot injury earlier in the season that caused him to miss 10 games.
Despite being on the ice with his teammates, Boll said the timeline for his return isn’t clearly defined.
“It was feeling really good, and then after a few skates it came back a little bit,” Boll told BlueJackets.com. “The pain has been pretty bad, so I’m just going to have to take it day-by-day every morning when I wake up and see how it feels.
“It’s a little bit (like Carter’s). The pain went away and then picked back up the past few days, and it’s pretty tender right now. We’ll see how it is the next couple of days.”
SANDMAN ENTERS SHORTLY
Sanford told BlueJackets.com after practice that expects to get back into game action very soon, perhaps as early as Friday against Colorado. He’s been sidelined since Feb. 9 with an upper-body injury, and was placed on injured reserve last week.
The skating and shooting practices have done well to speed up the recovery, he said, and will leave it up to interim head coach Todd Richards to decide if he starts vs. the Avalanche.
“I’m feeling great… it’s good to be back,” Sanford said. “I’ll be in the lineup on Friday, for sure, and obviously the coach decides who plays, but I’ll definitely be back in.”
In his absence, Mason has stepped up and helped the Blue Jackets pick up victories both at Nationwide Arena and on the road. He was a big factor in their 2-1 win over St. Louis last week, and played well Tuesday night vs. San Jose. Goaltending duos are a tight pair, Sanford said, and he’s been thrilled to see Mason get back in form.
“It’s been great to see, and we’ve needed it,” Sanford said. “It seems like the team has come together, too, and everyone is playing well as a group. It’s good for him, even since he’s got the new gear, you can see the confidence in him and he’s playing a lot bigger in the net.”
Crediting improved play to new goalie gear can seem odd, Sanford acknowledged, but the style of equipment has a big hand in confidence.
“He’s being more aggressive which helps because he’s such a big guy,” Sanford said. “You have to feel good in what you’re wearing, and it’s key when you feel big in there. Right now it’s one of the big things that have been helping him.”