Features

"Easy decision" for Blake Comeau to return to Columbus

Monday, 09.09.2013 / 7:00 AM / Features
By Rob Mixer  - BlueJackets.com

Blake Comeau didn’t want much to do with unrestricted free agency. He knew exactly where he wanted to be: in Columbus with the Blue Jackets.

After coming over in a deal with the Calgary Flames at the NHL trading deadline, Comeau needed “maybe a week or two” to figure out that the Blue Jackets were the team he wanted to stick with. It has been a good fit for both parties, as GM Jarmo Kekalainen praised Comeau’s versatility and the depth he brings to the lineup when the club signed him to a new one-year contract earlier this summer.

When Artem Anisimov and Matt Calvert were hurt late in the season, Comeau was called upon by Todd Richards to play higher in the lineup – and he proved capable of handling the responsibility.

Factoring in all of those things and the fact that Comeau strongly believes in the team’s direction, re-upping in Columbus was a no-brainer.

“It was a pretty easy decision for me,” Comeau told BlueJackets.com. “With how strong we finished and the great group of guys we have, I could see this is a team on the up and I really wanted to be part of that. We were so close last year to making the playoffs, and I wanted to make sure I could come back here and help this team get over the hump.

“I feel like I fit in from the start. I can bring different things to the game even if I’m not scoring goals; I can play physical, kill penalties and do those little things every team needs. I have the capability to contribute offensively, but if I’m not, I have to make sure I’m bringing something else to the lineup.”

Comeau chipped in some offense down the stretch, scoring a big goal in the Blue Jackets’ dramatic 4-3 overtime win in Denver on Apr. 15 and assisting on Cam Atkinson’s empty netter during an unforgettable season finale at Nationwide Arena.

While their late-season push was a great experience for everyone in the room and the Blue Jackets fan base, Comeau said the entire team understood why they weren’t going to be playing postseason hockey.

“It doesn’t really matter how we finished because we didn’t make the playoffs,” Comeau said. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance to play for the ultimate prize, and I think everyone learned from that and realizes how important a good start is for us. That’s something we’ll be looking for – coming out of the gates quick.”

The first step toward making sure they start better takes place this week, as the Blue Jackets open training camp with medicals on Wednesday and on-ice practices beginning Thursday morning at the OhioHealth Ice Haus. They play their first preseason game on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and then it's all downhill to the Oct. 4 opener against Calgary.

Unlike last season's abbreviated training camp and hectic start to the season, teams have a full camp this time around but that doesn't mean that preparation beforehand is any less important. Along with several of his Blue Jackets, Comeau arrived in town earlier than usual, skating and getting "up to speed" so everyone's on the same page when camp begins.

"This is my seventh year in the league so I’m used to what to expect as far as camp goes," he said. "In this day and age, everyone knows that they need to come in in top shape, and we only have a couple days of practice before we play an exhibition game. You don’t have a lot of time to adjust to the speed of the game, which is why it’s great that we have so many guys here now scrimmaging and getting ready.

"You can tell the guys are all ready to go. We can't wait."

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 2 2 1 0 3
M. Calvert 2 2 0 3 2
R. Johansen 2 1 1 -1 2
B. Dubinsky 2 0 2 0 2
D. Savard 2 0 2 1 2
B. Jenner 2 0 2 -1 2
D. MacKenzie 2 1 0 0 1
M. Letestu 2 1 0 1 1
A. Anisimov 2 0 1 -1 1
C. Atkinson 2 0 1 1 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 1 1 0 .905 3.00
 
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