The Blue Jackets held an optional practice this afternoon at Nationwide Arena, a day after returning from their west coast road trip. The Blue Jackets host the Ottawa Senators tomorrow night, their second game against the Senators in 11 days.
Eight players were missing from practice. Players having "maintenance days" included Scott Hartnell, Artem Anisimov, Fedor Tyutin, David Savard, Ryan Johansen, and Ryan Murray. Nick Foligno and Matt Calvert missed due to injury. The rest of the team skated in half-ice rush drills for most of the session, with goaltending coach Ian Clark working with the goaltenders and several shooters down the other end of the rink.
Other stuff from the rink:
- Cam Atkinson took part in all drills on Monday and said he feels certain he is ready to play on Tuesday night. Todd Richards said he has not yet received the go-ahead from the medical staff, but expects to insert Atkinson in the lineup as soon as he receives clearance. Richards said that if Atkinson cannot play tomorrow night, he plans to dress seven defensemen as he did in Los Angeles.
- Foligno had an MRI this morning after undergoing a precautionary x-ray in Los Angeles, and everything has come back negative. Foligno was diagnosed with a "stinger" and is day-to-day.
"My spinal cord looks good and there are no fractures. Now it's just making sure that the stiffness goes away and that's the worst part right now," said Foligno. Foligno was having some difficulty turning his head, but said the training staff worked on him that morning and it did feel better after treatment. Foligno would not rule himself out for tomorrow night.
- Richards said Calvert has been placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury suffered against the Ducks on Friday night. With Calvert placed on IR, Alexander Wennberg has been recalled from AHL Springfield and will remain with the club.
Boone Jenner continues to make progress, and skated on Monday with a glove on and handling pucks.
- When asked if he was happy with the team's performance at this point of the season, Richards did not mince words.
"No. Being .500 is mediocre, it's average. We have injuries, but it's no excuse. We have to find solutions," said Richards. "As a coach, I need to be better and players playing need to be better. We need to find a way to win games. There's a way to win the game tomorrow and we need to find it."
Richards was happy with his team's performance for stretches in Los Angeles, but is still looking for a full 60 minute effort.
- Moment of levity: Tim Erixon was asked what he was going to do with the puck from his first NHL goal. He responded that he didn't know where it was, and that he had handed it to a member of the staff and hadn't seen it since.