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Jackets Journal: December 16

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel was very direct in assessing today’s hour-long practice filled with high-intensity, work-first drills.

“I didn’t think we worked very hard last night, so it wasn’t like we were short of energy,” Arniel said.

“Last night, after going back and watching that game, (the Kings) were just ripe. We got the one-goal lead, we weren’t playing very good, and they would have rolled over and died had we kept working and got that second goal.”

This comes after his team played far from its best game in a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings last night at Nationwide Arena, a game in which the Blue Jackets gave up over 40 shots but only 11 scoring chances. Curtis Sanford was forced to make a career-high 39 saves in the losing effort, but that wasn’t what concerned the head coach.

“This team, sometimes, you’ve got to remind them how hard they have to work night in and night out,” Arniel said. “Our forecheck was null and void last night, so we did some drills to improve that.

“Our power play wasn’t shooting the puck, so we worked on some things there. We talked about containing and boxing out, so there was some design to all three of those drills.”

Jeff Carter

In recent games, the Blue Jackets have received some tough defensive assignments: Jarome Iginla, the Canadiens’ speedy top line, the Sedin twins and Anze Kopitar last night. With Sammy Pahlsson out of the lineup on Tuesday, Arniel opted to use the Jeff Carter line against the Sedins to measurable success.

Having those options was primarily born from Pahlsson’s illness, Arniel said, but he’s been happy with the results. Kopitar was the only player to have an impact, setting up both goals for the Kings last night.

“I did like the way that line handled the (Sedins),” Arniel said. “There wasn’t a lot happening between the Kopitar and Carter lines, but because of some penalties and stuff we kind of got crossed up and Kopitar was the difference in the game – he created both goals.”

Next up is the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team featuring an abundance of star power and key players that love to shoot the puck. At the top of that list is Steven Stamkos, who doesn’t need any introduction to his opponents on the ice.

“We’ll see how they’re all matched up, and if they’re spread out,” Arniel said. “I know they’ve had some (scoring) troubles, so they might change things up. A guy like Stamkos…he’s a shooter and you’ve got to know where he is all the time.

“It doesn’t take much to get that shot away. That will probably be a different look (defensively); now I’m looking at our defense and who the winger is against him, too.”


- Defeseman Fedor Tyutin did not practice today, but Arniel said he’s just ailing from some bumps and bruises. His absence is merely meant to get him some rest in preparation for tomorrow’s game.

- Derek Dorsett participated in the full session and Arniel said if he shows up tomorrow with no issues and is cleared to play, he will be in the lineup against the Lightning.

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