Back by popular demand (really, because I need something to do), the mailbag returns for a second straight year. Remember: send your questions to @RobMixer, and as always, food questions move to the top.
Eric Straßhofer (@StrassAndBrass)
How do you think the goaltending situation is going to shake out? (Will) Korpisalo take the backup job from McElhinney?
This is one of those “storylines to watch” in training camp, isn’t it?
Joonas Korpisalo made a real strong account of himself at the NHL level – particularly when Sergei Bobrovsky was out with an injury – and carried the load for a good amount of time at only 21 years old. That’s not easy to do and he did so with a quiet confidence that turned many heads around the league, and I’d say he’s certainly got a chance.
But…there’s always a but.
Don’t forget about Anton Forsberg, also known as the 23-year-old goaltender who didn’t lose a game once he got the net in the Calder Cup playoffs and led the Monsters to their first-ever championship. He was rock-solid, confident, sensational at times, essentially checking all the boxes for what you look for in a young goaltender in a high-pressure situation. He’s in the mix, as well, making for three motivated players vying for a single spot on the roster.
Competition is a very, very good thing. I have a feeling we’re going to see a heated race.
Ryan Real (@ryanreal)
Are there any plans to change the current goal song/celebration? Because it's perfect as is imo.
You’ll be happy to know there are no plans to change the Blue Jackets’ goal celebration or goal song.
Jess P (@JPizz45)
Are the Team USA practices at NWA going to be open to the public?
I have some exciting news for you: the answer is yes.
During Team USA’s World Cup of Hockey training camp in Columbus (Sept. 5-9), all practices will be free of charge and open to the public. A full practice schedule will be released by the Blue Jackets and USA Hockey in the near future, so be on the lookout for that.
One note on the practices…the morning skates on Sept. 9, prior to the Team USA vs. Canada pre-tournament game at Nationwide Arena, will be closed to the public. We’re hoping to do some fun, interactive stuff on social media during the entire camp and we’ll have more information in the weeks ahead.
If you don't have your tickets for that game yet, you can buy them here.
Jacob Barker (@CBJake2)
You don't bring players up to develop. You bring them up to help win. Who specifically from (Lake Erie) can we expect to help with that?
If we’re going based on your statement, I think there are several Lake Erie Monsters who can help the Blue Jackets win games this year. What they did as a team, and not just individually, was really special and laid the foundation for many of them to potentially “grow up” through the organization together.
I’m not saying the Columbus situation will be identical to these, but two points of reference here are the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning, who have had several top prospects experience success together at the AHL level and then be significant factors on their NHL teams. The Blue Jackets believe they have prospects ready to make the jump and also make an impact, and their bodies of work seem to run concurrent with that belief.
Guys like Josh Anderson, Zach Werenski, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Dean Kukan fit the bill and they fill needs. There are many others on the cusp, as well, and I’ve said before that I think a surprise name or two will make their way into the mix before training camp is wrapped up. Should be fun.