This is becoming a familiar refrain: the Blue Jackets spent the majority of their Wednesday morning practice focusing on the power play.
Todd Richards has spoken at length about the topic since training camp began, re-stating the emphasis he and his coaching staff have put on making sure they don't go through the same man-advantage struggles that they did last season.
From day one of camp, the power play has been a front-burner issue and they haven't relented since.
And when you look around the NHL, there's a constant: teams with really good power plays (and not necessarily those with high efficiency rates, but those who can use their power play to make a difference in the game) tend to do well in the long run. The Blue Jackets want to be one of those teams that takes advantage of mistakes by the opponent, and if teams parade to the penalty box, Richards wants his group to pounce.
Richards was rather succinct when asked about the heavy amount of power play work.
"We have to get better," he said. And that's been their objective all week.
Here were the power play units today:
Forwards: Jenner/Calvert - Dubinsky - Johansen
Point men: Letestu - Tyutin
Forwards: Gaborik - Anisimov - Atkinson
Point men: Johnson - Wisniewski
The forward lines and defense pairings did not change from those used in practice on Tuesday.
Others notes, odds & ends from Wednesday:
- Fedor Tyutin left practice early with a lower body injury, Richards said. He will be evaluated later today and tomorrow, but the early indications are that it's not a major issue. There is a chance that Tyutin could miss the opening weekend of games, Richards said.
- Jared Boll did not take part in practice, and with two days left until the season begins, Richards said he's growing less optimistic that Boll will be ready on Friday "simply because he hasn't practiced with us."
- As for line combinations, Richards said he really hasn't seen much from the trios aside from the Jenner - Dubinsky - Gaborik that he can form an evaluation with. It's only been two days of practice, but if things go well on Thursday, there's a strong chance these lines could be intact for opening night.
- Talked with Cam Atkinson about his line with Johansen and Calvert, and he's really excited about what the "kid line" can do. Atkinson said he loves playing with Johansen and thinks they can open space for each other, and with someone like Calvert on the opposite wing, they should have the puck often and be able to make some plays.