The Blue Jackets made a late lineup change for tonight's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nationwide Arena: Matt Calvert is out with a "sore groin," coach Todd Richards announced after today's practice sessions.
Calvert was originally slated to play the team's first exhibition game, but Richards made the change today after it was deemed Calvert would be better suited to rest the groin rather than push it early in camp. In his place, Broc Little will dress for his first NHL game and skate alongside Artem Anisimov and Marian Gaborik.
Talk about getting thrown into the fire, right? But Richards isn't too concerned - Little has been a consistent offensive producer and had success in Europe, and he's looking forward to seeing what the kid can do playing with "two pretty good players."
"If this is Game 72, he's in the lineup," Richards said of Calvert. "But this is an exhibition."
Richards said there's no clear timetable for Calvert returning to practice, but he did not skate today with either group and isn't expected to practice tomorrow. Depending on how the groin feels, he could return later in the week but the Blue Jackets aren't committed to a specific timetable.
Calvert has been mentioned by Richards as a candidate to play left wing with Gaborik and Anisimov, though it looks like that trio will have to wait a little longer before taking the ice together.