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Jackets using preseason to adjust to new rules

The League has announced a rule change this year in terms of how faceoffs will be executed

by Alison Lukan AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

20 more players from the 2017 Blue Jackets Training Camp presented by OhioHealth get the opportunity to show what they can do in a game situation.

One thing the team will be focused is their faceoffs. The League has announced a rule change this year in terms of how faceoffs will be executed.

Players must be set, and not move, while the linesman says "set, set" before dropping the puck. There were no verbal cues before.

Should either player move, he will be tossed from the faceoff dot and another player will take his place. That part is normal for what teams are used to. But if the replacing player moves at all, the team will be assessed a bench penalty and go on the penalty kill.

Video: Blue Jackets look to rebound in St. Louis

The Jackets got a taste of this on Tuesday night. They were called for a faceoff violation twice in their 5-2 loss to Chicago. The first one resulted in a 5-on-3 advantage for the Blackhawks and was part of a four-minute-long penalty kill for the Jackets.

In total, through 18 preseason games that have play by play available at NHL.com, 18 faceoff violations have been called.

As a result, Tortorella says the ramifications of the faceoff rule are far riskier than the advantage of winning a faceoff in and of itself.

The team plans to implement a new faceoff strategy tonight.

"If our guy gets tossed, I'm not hell bent on winning the faceoff," Tortorella said. "It's too dangerous right now for a guy that doesn't take many faceoffs to go in there thinking 'I'm going to win this.' If you anticipate, if you jump, you're in the box. It's really dangerous."

The coaching staff anticipates that the season is going to start off with a lot of special teams time as players get accustomed to these rules and they just want the Jackets to be on the right side of that.

"We're going to go about our business," Tortorella said. "We better not complain about it, there's no sense in complaining about it. We just have to be good at (taking faceoffs)."

And it's not just the players who have to get used to this. Tortorella was quick to acknowledge that the cadence of saying "set, set" in a standardized way is a challenge. Do you pause between words and the puck drop? How long is the pause? The linesmen are just trying to do their job as they've been instructed to do it.

"It's a lot of work for (the officials)," Tortorella said. "It is what it is and we're just going to work at it and try to be the best that we can."

NOTES:

  • C Sam Vigneault has suffered a broken finger and is estimated to be out 4-6 weeks.
  • Brad Thiessen will start in net against St. Louis. Last season, in 12 games with the Monsters, he had three shutouts and a .924 save percentage. In 2015-16, the 31-year-old played 22 games, again had three shutouts, and a .929 save percentage in Cleveland.
  • Calvin Thurkauf will play at center. Named Team MVP last season for the Kelowna Rockets, the 20-year-old played primarily on the wing as part of the Jackets' Traverse City tournament, but had his best game of the competition when he played at center.
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