They've run, or biked, as fast as possible for two miles or 12 minutes.
They've scrimmaged for two days straight, finishing with a series of lung-burning, leg-weakening conditioning laps that probably felt endless. Now, it's time for the Blue Jackets to play some actual hockey against somebody other than themselves.
Columbus starts its preseason this week with a set of back-to-back games Monday and Tuesday at Nationwide Arena, first against the Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m., Fox Sports Go, BlueJackets.com, 1460 ESPN Radio) and then hosting the Chicago Blackhawks the following night.
"I'm a little concerned about these two games for us, because they have skated and skated, and it's been really hard for them," said coach John Tortorella, whose demanding training camps are now well-known across the NHL. "You've got to be really careful, as far as how you evaluate [these guys], because I think we're going to have some tired players out there tonight - but I'm looking at the guys I just don't know a lot about, that I have not seen. I've heard about [them], but I have not seen [them] play, so I just act according that way."