The Blue Jackets are mere hours away from beginning preparations for the 2013 NHL season, with Training Camp presented by OhioHealth scheduled to begin at noon tomorrow in the OhioHealth Ice Haus.
Nice to read that, isn't it? Excitement and anticipation are in the air, and they've never smelled better.
Head coach Todd Richards and his staff -- including new assistants Keith Acton and Craig Hartsburg -- will take the ice for the first time Sunday for a six-day camp leading up to a 48-game regular season slate. The Blue Jackets are scheduled for 48 games in 99 days, so this week is pivotal to get everyone organized, on the same page, and ready to go when the season begins on Jan. 19.
Blue Jackets players have spent the past week or so skating on their own in the OhioHealth Ice Haus, holding "informal" practices for about an hour each day to get the legs going for training camp. It's like a bonus week for training camp for some guys, and several of the players said the additional ice time is crucial because camp is usually two to three weeks long and features roughly eight preseason games.
With exhibition games and normal ice time not an option this time around, there's going to be a quick learning curve for the team over the next week.
Here's the rundown on Blue Jackets training camp:
-- The club has recalled the following players from Springfield (AHL) for camp: Cam Atkinson, John Moore, Ryan Johansen, Matt Calvert, David Savard and Tim Erixon. Atkinson and Moore arrived Saturday in Columbus, while the rest of the group is expected to arrive in time for Sunday's on-ice session.
-- All practices held in the OhioHealth Ice Haus are free and open to the public. With Sunday as an exception, there will be one practice on Nationwide Arena ice and one in the OhioHealth Ice Haus each day, through Wednesday. Camp practices for Thursday and Friday will take place at Nationwide Arena.
-- The Blue Jackets will have 25 players in training camp, including center Boone Jenner of the Oshawa Generals (OHL). Jenner's 30 goals have him among the top goal-scorers in the OHL and he recently played for Team Canada at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Ufa, Russia.
And the full training camp roster:
FORWARDS: Artem Anisimov, Cam Atkinson, Jared Boll, Derick Brassard, Matt Calvert, Derek Dorsett, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, Colton Gillies, Boone Jenner, Ryan Johansen, Mark Letestu, Derek MacKenzie, Vinny Prospal, R.J. Umberger
DEFENSEMEN: Adrian Aucoin, Tim Erixon, Jack Johnson, John Moore, Nikita Nikitin, David Savard, Fedor Tyutin, James Wisniewski
GOALTENDERS: Sergei Bobrovsky, Steve Mason