After my eyesight failed me yesterday, I can now confirm that Cam Atkinson stepped on the ice this morning at the OhioHealth Ice Haus.
And if that wasn't embarrassing enough, I miscounted the total number of players who were skating. In my defense, a couple of the guys left early so I didn't have a full count. It's reassuring to know that I'm not totally falling apart just prior the season.
On to today's business: a few new arrivals joined the growing group that's already in Columbus. Atkinson and Derek MacKenzie are the two latest to lace 'em up with their teammates, and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was back on the ice for the full session.
After a drill-heavy practice on Wednesday, today's skate was mostly a scrimmage between the guys - and it was a lot of fun to watch.
Out-of-town NHLers like Dave Steckel (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Nate Guenin (Anaheim Ducks), both former Ohio State Buckeyes, were skating with the group today while former Blue Jacket Jody Shelley took the day off.
There were a few Blue Jackets prospects practicing today, as well -- Cody Goloubef, Will Weber and Trent Vogelhuber have been regulars since the informal skates began and were all in attendance today. With each passing day, I become more convinced that there's a bright NHL future for Weber. Reminds me a lot of Jan Hejda, but a much better skater.
Other observations from today's practice:
-- Really liked seeing the line of Umberger-Brassard-Atkinson back together once the scrimmage began. Those three had serious chemistry going on down the stretch in 2011-12, and I think they stand a good chance to (at the very least) open the season as a unit this year. Brassard and Umberger made no bones about it a year ago: they love playing together.
--Justin Goldman of The Goalie Guild was kind enough to share his insights with me on several Blue Jackets goaltenders earlier this summer. One of the first guys we talked about -- and it was a lengthy conversation -- was Bobrovsky. Goldman thinks there's a ton of potential with the 23-year-old Russian, who is widely known as a tireless worker and a great teammate.
-- Goldman mentioned Bobrovsky's footwork has one of his best physical assets, and I agree. He's agile but economical and easily puts rebounds out of harm's way. He made an out-of-nowhere blocker save on Adrian Aucoin that had the veteran blue liner gazing at the rafters.
--One of the highlights was an awesome passing play, give-and-go style between Ryan Johansen and John Moore. Johansen fluttered a backhand pass across the slot to Moore, who was flying in from the point. Moore went top-shelf over Bobrovsky's blocker for a beautiful goal, but really, the goaltender had no chance. It was that good.
--When Adrian Aucoinhas the puck, he scores. That's what earned him the nickname "The Closer" in Phoenix; he won like, five straight games in the shootout for the Coyotes at one point. Call it veteran savvy.
-- Another day of me being impressed with Artem Anisimov's game. Always in a good position, not afraid to use his puck skills and looks comfortable in the middle of the ice. Could he open the season as the Blue Jackets' No. 3 center? Definitely possible.
If they skate tomorrow, we will absolutely update the blog with more. Thanks for reading!