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Mixer's Mailbag: On PTOs and keeping pineapple off your pizza

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

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.

Cortney Matthews (@CortMatthews)
Can you run a 2 minute mile?

No, I can’t.

Can anyone do that?

For clarity: the Blue Jackets are required to complete a two-mile run in under 12 minutes during training camp. We’ll have comprehensive coverage of training camp across all platforms, but you will not see me taking part in the two-mile run.

Bert (@Yank2784)
Morning, Rob – thoughts for Monsters fans and who new this year do we have to look forward to?

There are some intriguing names in the Monsters mix this year, and it may not be who you expect. Off the top, though, one of the guys I’m looking at is Paul Bittner, who endured a tough year of injury and rehab last season and is healthy and ready to go this fall. He’s a player who could make a big impact in Cleveland; big guy (6-foot-4) who skates, has good skill and isn’t afraid to go to the net. He’s a hungry player coming into Blue Jackets training camp and he’ll be among the young players making a push.

Justin Scott, Jordan Maletta and Dante Salituro were UFA signings that are likely to start the year with the Monsters and you can expect them all to contribute. But here's a great thing about building a developmental program as the Blue Jackets have: you don’t need a large crop of new blood every fall because there’s so much talent already there.

The goaltending is strong, the defense is solid and the forwards are, by and large, younger players with NHL aspirations.

Jerry Sparks (@scurviebrother)
Will Torts be able to dedicate enough time to CBJ training camp if he is coaching USA too?

Remember back in January, when Torts was injured in the outdoor practice? He wasn’t kidding when he said he used that time away to plan out this year’s camp. The man has run a few training camps in his career, so he’s got a firm grasp on how it should be run and structured. He accepted the Team USA job well before he took over the Blue Jackets, and you can bet he already had a good idea of how the U.S. schedule was going to play out.

He will have his hands in both situations as much as time allows, but he’s worked extensively with his Blue Jackets coaching staff to outline what needs to get done (and when), and they’ll be checking in regularly. I don’t have any concerns, nor should you.

More importantly: this opportunity he has with Team USA is really, really cool and it’s a huge honor for him.

Erick Marcucci (@believeland19)
If not pizza, what do you put pineapple and ham on?

Here’s the thing: they should be kept separate.

Pineapple is delicious. It’s probably the best fruit on the planet, in the conversation with pomegranate and blackberries. It just doesn’t belong on pizza. Nor does ham.

Josh Sprague (@CBJSprague24)
Do you foresee any veteran PTOs being offered for training camp?

I do not. The Blue Jackets are reasonably deep at all positions and it’s shaping up to be a heated battle all over the map. Realistically, you would bring a veteran player into camp if he has a legitimate chance to make the team, and right now, I don’t see that possibility.

The goal is for the 2016-17 edition to be a young, fast team, and the Blue Jackets are going to give their young, fast players a big-time chance to make the NHL roster.

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