TRAVERSE CITY - You can drop a game in the NHL Prospects Tournament and bounce back to make the final. What you can't do, however, is go 0-for-2 in the first pair of games and expect anything other than an early flight on Tuesday evening.
The Blue Jackets are two-time defending champions and they stubbed their collective toes on Friday night against the Detroit Red Wings, who took advantage of careless penalties and put six goals on the board in the West Rink at Centre Ice Arena.
Yes, this is one of the Blue Jackets' youngest Traverse City teams in quite a while, but they know they can play better.
Development coach Chris Clark said there were some things they'd look to clean up before their second game (Saturday night against St. Louis), and there could be some lineup changes as well.
Here are some brief observations:
- The post-game talk centered on Sonny Milano, who's entering his second season of pro hockey and should, all things considered, be one of the more dominant players in this tournament. He was exceptional on Friday night, zipping around the rink and making good decisions with the puck - including shooting from all angles. He was rewarded with a goal and seemed to mesh well with Pierre-Luc Dubois at center.
- Intrigued to see Jeremy Brodeur in this tournament. He was one of the OHL's top goaltenders last season and, along with fellow Traverse invite Lucas Perissini (who played Friday), is looking to open some eyes among Blue Jackets management and potentially earn a contract.
- As you may know, Zach Werenski is serving as captain of the team, assisted by Milano and Nick Moutrey.
- Some of the guys we expect in Cleveland this year: Justin Scott, Jordan Maletta, Markus Nutivaara, Paul Bittner, had solid performances in their first games of the tournament. One of the hallmarks of the Blue Jackets' back-to-back tournament wins was their team speed and how quickly they did things away from the puck, and that's going to be keyed on by new coach John Madden as well.
- Moutrey was quite noticeable and played an aggressive, agitating game against Detroit. He's got to be one of the spark plugs in order for this club to play late into Tuesday night.
- Just a reminder: all games in the NHL Prospects Tournament are streamed live online and on your mobile device. You can find games on BlueJackets.com, RedWings.com, FOX Sports Go app and the Blue Jackets app.
- Our social media channels feature an inside look at the tournament both on and off the ice. Some of the players will be taking over the Blue Jackets Snapchat this week, so be on the lookout for that.