Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel elected to have his players abstain from the traditional morning skate today.
He wants his club (0-4-1) to have all of its collective energy focused on tonight’s matchup with the Dallas Stars.
It’s the second game between these two clubs in less than a week, and the first contest in Dallas was a typical Western Conference hockey game. Columbus had its engine going for the first half of the game, leading 2-1 thanks to a goal from Alexandre Giroux. But the Stars had an answer, putting on a three-goal rally in the final 30 minutes to earn the win.
The Blue Jackets want tonight to be different. They held a team meeting this morning and went over more details of how they plan to attack the Stars defense, a game plan they felt worked well on Saturday night when they followed it. When they strayed from the plan, they got into trouble.
Center Derick Brassard, a winger to this point in the season, will shift back to his natural center position tonight and play pivot on the top line with Rick Nash and R.J. Umberger. That trio has spent some time together in the past, and Brassard said he knows he must also shoot more pucks in addition to looking to make plays.
“It’s been hard (playing wing), but at the same time I just try to keep working and have the right attitude,” Brassard said. “I’m going to play against the best ‘D’ on the other team.
“We need to find a way to score goals. Hopefully we will have to right combination (to do that).”
CARTER ON THE SHELF
The Blue Jackets placed center Jeff Carter on injured reserve today as he nurses a hairline fracture in his foot. Arniel said the injury first occurred while blocking a shot during training camp, and reoccurred when Carter blocked a shot in Dallas on Saturday.
At this point, the team is referring to Carter’s status as “week-to-week,” and thus Brassard will skate on the top line for the time being. Familiarity and past chemistry with his two line mates is something that Brassard will lean on, he said.
“I just need to try and find my two wingers,” Brassard said. “We need to work hard and we’ll make some space in the offensive zone. We have to win some battles, and if I have a chance to shoot the puck, I will. And if I have a chance to get it to Rick, obviously I’m going to find him.
“We needed to try something else and this is a good challenge for me.”
CORBEIL TO THE SHOW
Backup goaltender Curtis Sanford suffered an injury during yesterday’s practice, causing the Blue Jackets goaltending situation to go into a temporary flux.
With No. 3 goaltender Allen York currently out of the Springfield (AHL) lineup due to a shoulder injury, general manager Scott Howson elected to recall Mathieu Corbeil from Saint John of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Corbeil was a fourth-round draft pick of the Blue Jackets in 2010, and holds a 7-2-0 record with a 2.61 goals-against average for the Sea Dogs in nine games this season. He is coached by former Columbus head man Gerard Gallant.
As of 10:30 a.m. today, Corbeil was in Philadelphia awaiting a flight to Columbus. Arniel said he anticipates Corbeil to arrive prior to game time.
According to NHL rules, Corbeil is an emergency recall and must be returned to Saint John within 24 hours of his recall.
HERE COMES CODY!
When the Blue Jackets elected to assign Matt Calvert to Springfield yesterday, Arniel said the club was seeking to add a player with “stiffness” to the lineup in return.
Cody Bass, recalled from the Falcons yesterday, will be in the lineup tonight for Columbus and the safe bet is he will be responsible for generating energy early in the game. Arniel said Bass was impressive in training camp and nearly made the team, and this opportunity is ideal for a player of his ilk.
“He’s an energy guy,” Arniel said. “I don’t know if we had enough guys (with Jared Boll out) that will get in on the forecheck like he can. When he came to training camp, he played real hard. We’ll give him a shot here, and we could certainly use his energy.
“We want him to give us something we don’t have a lot of right now. If he can give us a spark that way, that’s what we need.”