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Jackets getting healthier on the blue line

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Three exhibition games remain on the Blue Jackets’ schedule and thankfully, they’re getting some good news on the injury front — particularly on defense.

Entering training camp, not much was known about second-year defenseman Ryan Murray’s status, other than that he was not skating with the team and was on a pre-planned schedule for skating and workouts.

Murray, recovering from a knee injury that hampered him late in 2013-14, resumed skating on his own within the last week and the news got better Sunday.

Finally, Murray was able to rejoin his teammates for a full practice (albeit non-contact) and go through drills, feel the puck again, and start to get back into a normal rhythm.

Though Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said Murray has not been cleared for contact, he was optimistic that the 21-year-old sophomore blue liner would return to the lineup sooner than later.

“It’s always good to have players back out on the ice and taking part in drills, so that’s a positive sign,” Richards said. “Ryan was a big part of our team last year and he’s going to be a big part of our future, and the quicker we can get him back on the ice playing, the better it is for everyone.”

Also, Richards said he has not yet ruled Murray out for the Jackets’ season opener on Oct. 9 in Buffalo. They remain optimistic that his recovery will continue smoothly and he could be a candidate to play on opening weekend.

More good news comes in the form of Tim Erixon, who blocked a shot in Columbus’ exhibition opener in Carolina and hasn’t played since.

Erixon, who said his knee was pretty swollen in the days after the incident, returned to practice this week and will be in the lineup tonight when the Blue Jackets face the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.

It’s pretty much a dress rehearsal for the Blue Jackets, as well as those in the mix for roster spots as training camp winds down. Erixon hasn’t had the benefit of game action like Cody Goloubef has, and both players are zeroing in on being full-time NHLers in 2014-15.

Here’s what the Blue Jackets defense is expected to look like tonight:




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