Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards let out a chuckle when told he was vocal out on the ice today.
"Maybe I was? I'll have to go back and ask my assistant coaches," he joked. "I liked our practice. We got out of it what we wanted to do as coaches, as far as planning our day and what we need to get better at."
It was a productive day for the Blue Jackets, who flew home from Pittsburgh after a 5-3 win on Saturday at CONSOL Energy Center and took the ice for a Sunday skate at Nationwide Arena. They practiced for a little more than an hour and covered several items of note for Richards and his staff, all in preparation for Monday night's game against the Minnesota Wild.
TRAINING CAMP CENTRAL
Columbus will dress a veteran-heavy lineup vs. Minnesota, including its top line from Saturday and No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. The Wild are expected to start Josh Harding in net, while Zach Parise, Dany Heatley and Mikko Koivu are not slated to play against the Blue Jackets.
We'll dig deeper into line combinations and what not tomorrow morning, but for now, here are some notes from today's practice:
- Jared Boll was not on the ice today. He played a little under nine minutes in Pittsburgh but I didn't see him leave the ice early during the game. Richards said he has an upper body injury and is going to miss some time, though the exact timetable isn't known.
- Nikita Nikitin, still recovering from a bruised foot suffered last week in Carolina, did not skate today and isn't going to play tomorrow against the Wild.
- Matt Calvert (groin) did return to the full practice today and stayed out for some extra time after the formal skate was complete. He isn't currently listed on the Blue Jackets roster for tomorrow's game, but Richards said they will make a final decision after the morning skate. It's a possibility that Calvert could play.
- Richards said he liked the Blue Jackets' game in Pittsburgh, especially from the standpoint that it felt like a regular season game and the intensity was evident right out of the chute. There were a couple of big hits early on that woke up both benches, he said, and he really liked how the Blue Jackets stuck together after Pittsburgh's three-goal second period.
- Aside from the three goals, Richards said the Blue Jackets did a good job executing in the offensive zone in that second period. He said it might have been better than their two-goal first period if not for the breakdowns.
- Dalton Prout will play against Minnesota and he looked sharp in practice today, mostly paired up with Tim Erixon on the back end.
We'll have much more lineup news after the morning skate.