After a day to re-charge and get rested for the rest of a busy month of February – much of which will be spent at Nationwide Arena – the Blue Jackets returned to the ice for an hour-long practice at the OhioHealth Ice Haus this morning.
The road ahead sees the Blue Jackets play five of the next six games on home ice, and looking a bit further, eight of the remaining 11 games this month will be played within their friendly confines. It’s by far the most significant stretch of home-ice hockey for Columbus this season, but interim head coach Todd Richards doesn’t want his club to rest on its laurels or get comfortable in the second half of the season.
Today’s practice was a typical Richards-run session: a high tempo with drills that bring the energy level up right from the outset.
Here are the Blue Jackets lines from practice today:
Extra forward: Johansen
Both goaltenders (Steve Mason, Curtis Sanford) took part in the full practice.
NEWS AND NOTES
-Richards gave a brief injury update on defensemen James Wisniewski (ankle) and Nikita Nikitin (knee), both of whom are currently on injured reserve. The defensemen are back on the ice and doing light skating, Richards said, which indicates they are on track to return as original projected. The return dates are not set, he added, but are at least 1-2 weeks away.
-Brett Lebda did not skate today and the Blue Jackets will likely be without their newest defenseman for a period of time. He suffered a hand injury Friday night in Anaheim and did not return to the game. There has been no official update to his status since then.
-Reports suggest the Minnesota Wild, who will be in town for Tuesday’s game at Nationwide Arena, are expected to have captain Mikko Koivu back in the lineup this week.