With back-to-back exhibition games coming up on Wednesday and Thursday (and following a disappointing special teams performance last night against Minnesota), it was back to work on the power play for the Blue Jackets today.
They skated for about 45 minutes at Nationwide Arena, and it was almost exclusively a power play session. Todd Richards was pretty clear after Monday's 2-1 shootout loss to the Wild that the power play simply wasn't good enough, whether it was their puck movement, execution or work ethic.
TRAINING CAMP CENTRAL
And that was a focal point as the Blue Jackets went through several drills on the main ice, looking to get things back on track before their final two preseason games.
Over the course of the practice, the penalty killing units played with no sticks, in three-man units, four-man units and with their sticks turned upside down. Richards wanted to see crisp movement, pucks at the net and a commitment to the secondary scoring chances.
It was a good work day, one they needed to get through and start to get the power play in order. Richards said it was one thing they really wanted to get better at after last season's struggles, and there's still plenty of work to be done to get where they want to be.
With that said, here are some notes and nuggets from Day 14:
- Cam Atkinson did not practice today, but Richards said his absence was a maintenance day after being a little sore post-game on Monday. Atkinson played over 14 minutes in the shootout loss.
- Derek MacKenzie is day-to-day with an upper body injury suffered last night against the Wild, Richards said, and he was evaluated this morning at the arena. Jared Boll, also out with an upper body ailment, doesn't have a specific timetable but Richards said he can't count him out to return for opening night: "He's a tough kid."
- Cody Bass' rotten luck with injuries took another brutal turn last night. He fractured his thumb on a follow-through attempt, Richards said, and it's going to have him out for a period of 4-6 weeks. Bass was right in the mix for a fourth-line spot on the opening night roster, too, especially due to the absences of MacKenzie and Boll.
- Jack Skille, who has had a solid training camp, is a candidate to see some time on the fourth line with the aforementioned players out, Richards said. There are other candidates he's looking at, as well.
- Talked to a handful of players about the hybrid icing rule being tested during the preseason. Most guys don't mind it, but admitted there's still an unfamiliar or uncertain feeling during games because everyone (coaches, players, officials) are still getting used to it. Look for a full story on the subject very soon.
- Richards spoke very highly of young center Michael Chaput today, and for good reason. "He thinks the game at a high level," Richards said, and he's been really impressed with the maturity and hockey IQ that Chaput possesses. With 10 days left until opening night, Chaput is still on the training camp roster and definitely has a shot at cracking the roster.
- Rosters for tomorrow's game in Buffalo will be released later today (updated at BlueJackets.com/TrainingCamp), but Richards confirmed Sergei Bobrovsky will not play in that game. His final exhibition start will be Thursday at home against Carolina.