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At the Rink blog

Aucoin returning, will play on Jackets' first D pair

Friday, 02.15.2013 / 3:40 PM

By Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

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2012-2013 At the Rink blog
Aucoin returning, will play on Jackets' first D pair

LOS ANGELES -- The Columbus Blue Jackets are without defenseman James Wisniewski, but they will gain another big part of their defense Friday.

Adrian Aucoin will return from a lower-body injury that has kept him out since Jan. 29. Coach Todd Richards confirmed that Aucoin will be paired with Jack Johnson when the team hits the ice against the Los Angeles Kings.

Aucoin, 39, typically doesn't log huge minutes, but Richards likes the intangibles and the stability Aucoin supplies.

"It's Adrian's presence -- his presence out on the ice and his presence in the locker room," Richards said. "I think that really helps our group out."

Given it's Aucoin's first game back from injury, Richards said he will be aware of his minutes, but added, "I don't think he's a guy that you have to talk to too much, just because I think he knows it. He's been through it."

Wisniewski is healthy but stayed in Columbus to be with his wife for the birth of their child. Richards said his return is questionable for Saturday at the Phoenix Coyotes. Columbus plays at the Anaheim Ducks on Monday.

When Wisniewski does return, the Blue Jackets will have their core defense intact. Richards joked when asked if he wants to see the newborn as much as the parents.

"I think at this stage, I'm sure they're sitting in the room going, 'Come on, let's go,'" Richards said. "The No. 1 thing is that everything goes well."

Tim Erixon is expected to play in place of John Moore in the third defense pairing, with Cody Goloubef.

In goal likely will be Sergei Bobrovsky, who was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate. It would be his first start since Jan. 24.

Here is the lineup the Blue Jackets likely will use Friday:

Vinny Prospal - Artem Anisimov - Mark Letestu

R.J. Umberger - Derick Brassard - Derek Dorsett

Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Nick Foligno

Colton Gillies - Derek MacKenzie - Jared Boll

Jack Johnson - Adrian Aucoin

Fedor Tyutin - Nikita Nikitin

Tim Erixon - Cody Goloubef

Sergei Bobrovsky

Steve Mason

Scratched: James Wisniewski, John Moore, Nick Drazenovic

Injured: Cam Atkinson

Quote of the Day

They said, 'You're going to love the city. It's smaller than Philadelphia, but you're going to love it. You're going to love the fans. Just watching the playoffs last year, the fans seemed louder there than they did anywhere. I'm really excited about that.

— Forward Scott Hartnell on his upcoming season with the Columbus Blue Jackets