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Foligno: outdoor practice "a blast" for team, fans, city

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets


Nick Foligno has not played since taking a high hit from Carolina’s Brad Malone on Jan. 8, but he feels as though his return is closer than it is farther away.

He practiced yesterday at Nationwide Arena and took the ice for the full session today at Winter Park pres. by Worthington Industries, one that was attended by hundreds of fans on a day when wind chills dipped to 13 degrees.

The last few weeks have been frustrating for the Blue Jackets captain, who’s had to sit and watch as his team goes through a 2-5-1 dip since Jan. 5.

“I felt really good out there today,” Foligno said. “I have to go through the protocols and (see) what the docs think, but as far as how I felt today, that was a real good step in the right direction and I’m looking forward to it.

“It was fun to be out there with the full group and especially out here today. It was a blast.”

Matt Calvert also returned to practice with the Blue Jackets after taking part (in a limited capacity) on Wednesday at the OhioHealth Ice Haus. The news was made official this afternoon with both Foligno and Calvert being activated off injured reserve; more information on whether or not they play tomorrow in Boston won’t be known until after the team’s morning meeting.

Back to the outdoor practice because it was fantastic.

The scene itself was tremendous: hundreds of fans in the bleachers, around the glass, and even passersby dropping in to catch part of the team’s practice. Employees in the surrounding office buildings walked out on the balconies for a birds-eye view.

The players’ dads were in attendance (they’re also traveling with the team to Boston), and also, wives, girlfriends and children of some of the players stopped by to watch and take family photos on the ice.

“It was awesome,” Foligno said. “Even in the background you could smell the fire, and it was just like being a kid. It’s such a great thing for a lot of people, especially around here and being able to have a luxury like this. It’s a great idea from the city’s perspective to have this for people to enjoy and we had a blast out there today.

“To see how many people showed up – on a work day, too – it was great. I saw one kid had a great sign that said ‘school – no, CBJ – yes’ and that was pretty cute. We’re going through a tough year, obviously, but to see their support means a lot to us. We’re in this together and we’re trying to make them proud.”

RELATED LINKS

- 2016 Winter Park Central

- Public Skating Sessions

- Foligno, Calvert activated off IR

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