The Blue Jackets gathered on Nationwide Arena ice this morning for an hour-long practice, geared toward preparing for tomorrow night’s opponent – the Carolina Hurricanes. They spent the first half of practice working on offensive-zone plays, breakout sequences and creating scoring chances from different areas of the zone.
Special teams was a focal point of the latter half, with a lot of time spent on the power play, which has hit a rough patch following a red-hot stretch after the trade deadline. Both units got work in and interim head coach Todd Richards kept the tempo high, just as the Hurricanes have done throughout their recent stretch of solid play.
Carolina has won four consecutive games, and has done so against strong opponents: the Hurricanes’ victories have come against St. Louis, Minnesota, Winnipeg, and the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh. Kirk Muller’s team has not only received timely scoring from a variety of sources, but goaltender Cam Ward is in top form and they got defenseman Joni Pitkanen back from injury.
Here are the Blue Jackets lines from today’s practice:
And, the Hurricanes lineup as they skated in Wednesday’s game vs. Florida:
Jiri Tlusty-Eric Staal-Chad LaRose
Jeff Skinner-Jussi Jokinen-Tuomo Ruutu
Drayson Bowman-Brandon Sutter-Patrick Dwyer
Derek Joslin-Tim Brent-Anthony Stewart
Tim Gleason-Bryan Allen
Jay Harrison-Justin Faulk
Joni Pitkanen-Jamie McBain
KATZENMOYER PAYS A VISIT
One of the things learned about defenseman Jack Johnson upon his trade to Columbus was that Andy Katzenmoyer’s Ohio State football jersey was one of the first he owned. Growing up in Indianapolis, Johnson was in the middle of Big Ten football country and Katzemoyer was his boyhood idol. Though he eventually attended college at the University of Michigan, Johnson respects the tradition at Ohio State and the rivalry with the Wolverines.
Today’s visit was a total surprise to Johnson, who took pictures and had a brief conversation with Katzenmoyer and friend, Megan Ellis.
NEWS AND NOTES
- Richards said James Wisniewski (upper body) is progressing in his recovery after taking a puck to the face in Calgary. He felt better when he came to the rink this morning, but no other update on his status was given.
- Derek MacKenzie (upper body) will not play tomorrow against the Hurricanes, Richards said.
- As far as goaltending goes, the Blue Jackets have five games in seven nights beginning tomorrow night. The weekend back-to-backs (vs. Edmonton, at Detroit and vs. Florida, at St. Louis) both this week and next could present an opportunity to start Allen York, but Richards did not commit either way. He said it’s not been ruled out that Mason could play in all of the remaining games.