DETROIT -- On the eve of their first legitimate road trip of the season, the Blue Jackets are hoping they'll be at full strength when they arrive at Joe Louis Arena tomorrow morning.
GAME DAY CENTRAL
They practiced for about an hour today at Nationwide Arena and were down four forwards: Marian Gaborik, Nick Foligno, Blake Comeau and Matt Calvert. The other 19 players were present and accounted for, including both goaltenders and Ryan Craig, who was recalled from Springfield (AHL) on Friday.
Here's the latest on those not practicing on Monday...
- Gaborik has the flu, according to Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards, and will not be traveling to Detroit with the team. He will fly into Detroit by himself in the morning so he has ample time to recover and is expected to play against the Red Wings.
- Calvert (lower body) has been ruled out of Tuesday's game and will not be on the team's three-game road trip. He's going to be re-evaluated later this week and a timetable on his return is not currently known.
- Comeau was feeling better today after getting cut above the ankle near his skate boot on Saturday, and skated on his own while the team practiced this morning. He's going to travel to Detroit, skate again tomorrow morning, and make a determination after the morning skate as to whether he can play.
- Foligno and his wife Janelle welcomed their first child, a baby girl early Monday morning. Milana Maria Foligno weighed in at 7 lbs. and 1 oz., and this is probably the point in the story when I mention something cheesy about her being eligible for the 2031 NHL Draft...but I won't. Foligno is expected to rejoin the team Tuesday in Detroit and play against the Red Wings.
Richards and the coaches spent some time this morning going over a few systematic details and refining some things before flying out to Detroit, but at the forefront of their minds was putting Saturday in the past and re-focusing for another strong test on Tuesday.
The Red Wings were 3-2 winners in their Columbus Day matinee in Boston, and despite being without No. 1 goaltender in Jimmy Howard, played pretty well against a Bruins team that beat the Blue Jackets over the weekend.
And according to Brandon Dubinsky, the Blue Jackets need more of the style of game they played against the Bruins but creating more offense is at the top of their list.
"We're getting better, without a doubt," Dubinsky told BlueJackets.com. "We still have some things that need ironed out and we could be a little better in our own zone, but we're on the right track. This group's confident and we're going to stick with it.
"We're getting our chances and I think we can still create more. That's going to come from going to the net and getting traffic there. We have to get some dirty goals...we're going to win hockey games by getting those tips and rebounds and cashing in."
- No immediate update on Howard was available, but reports indicated that he suffered a hand injury during the Red Wings' game in Philadelphia over the weekend. He was a late scratch in Boston and his status for Tuesday's game isn't known.
- The Blue Jackets had success against Detroit last season (4-0-1 record) but they know things have changed for their former division rivals over the summer. GM Ken Holland bolstered the offense by adding Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss in free agency, giving the Red Wings a legitimate secondary scoring line behind Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
"We have to make it hard on them and not give them anything for free," Dubinsky said. "That means playing in their end of the rink, and if they want to create chances, they have to come 200 feet to make something happen."