The Blue Jackets take the ice for their first official practice on Saturday morning.
At that time, they expect to have coach John Tortorella back on the ice and ready to resume his duties in Columbus following the World Cup of Hockey. They only have one day of practices before playing an exhibition game (two games, actually) against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, so time's of the essence right out of the chute.
"We're all excited to get this camp going," Cam Atkinson said yesterday.
For a team with plenty of returnees and a handful of new faces, the Blue Jackets know their No. 1 objective is to build toward opening night, and only that. They got ahead of themselves last season and things snowballed out of control, and before they knew it, they were trying to make up for lost time.
This time around, the focus is narrowed.
Today, the four groups will do their skating tests (which are anything but a cake walk) and that's it; no one's touching a puck until Saturday morning, which is something Tortorella outlined for the players before camp began.
Video: McElligott gets you ready for CBJ training camp start
Here are some other notes as we prepare to hit the ground running:
- Zach Werenski "tweaked a groin" in Traverse City, according to John Davidson, but the Blue Jackets expect him to be ready to go at the start of camp. The decision to hold him out of the Blue Jackets' final two games of the rookie tournament was purely precautionary.
- Paul Bittner's muscle injury is not expected to be long-term, Davidson said.
- Forward Aaron Palushaj is the latest addition to training camp, having signed a PTO this week. He arrived in Columbus in time for off-ice testing and the team dinner yesterday. Palushaj is a University of Michigan product who was drafted by Jarmo Kekalainen in St. Louis in 2007 (44th overall), and spent last season in the Flyers organization playing for AHL Lehigh Valley.
- The rest of the Blue Jackets' PTOs: center Jarret Stoll, defensemen Marc-Andre Bergeron and Keith Aulie, forward Mike Brown and goaltender Michael Houser.
- With Team North America eliminated from the World Cup of Hockey (courtesy of Sergei Bobrovsky and Team Russia's win over Finland earlier this week), the Blue Jackets are getting three more players back in the near future. Don't expect Ryan Murray, Seth Jones, Brandon Dubinsky, Jack Johnson or Brandon Saad to be on the ice with their respective groups this weekend, but they should join the team for practices early next week.
- Standard protocol for preseason game playing rosters is a day-before release. If tradition holds, we'll have lineups for the St. Louis split-squad doubleheader coming at some point tomorrow.