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Overheard: Morning Skate

by Staci Pawlak / Columbus Blue Jackets


The Dallas Stars are in town, and the Blue Jackets took the ice today for a brief morning skate to prepare for tonight’s contest at Nationwide Arena. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m., and the Blue Jackets will look to rebound against their 1-0 loss against Chicago on Sunday. Here is what some of the players and coaches had to say after today’s morning skate:

Injury update:

The Blue Jackets will have to find a way to win without some of their key players in the lineup, including forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov.

“Guys are going to have to be thrust into some different roles,” coach Todd Richards said.

Dubinsky and Anisimov are both “progressing” according to Richards, but there is no timetable for their return.

“(Dubinsky) has been out skating the last couple of days, and that’s how we’ll continue,” Richards said. “As long as he keeps feeling better, we can continue to push him along.”

Anisimov has been doing some light exercises after being released from the hospital last Friday. He sustained what appeared to be a head injury in Thursday night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Blue Jackets aren’t only hurting on the offensive side of the puck – they are also trying to fill a defensive hole left by injuries to defensemen Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski.

Wisniewski is out for “an extended period of time” due to a broken foot that he got after blocking a shot in the Chicago game.

Richards said Johnson has an upper body injury and shouldn’t be out for more than a week.

“It’s nothing serious with Jack,” Richards said.

Dorsett says “No Excuses”

The Blue Jackets have struggled offensively this season, and Derek Dorsett is tired of making excuses for the lack of goals.

“I’m not in the business of taking things out of games we don’t win anymore,” he said after the morning skate today.

“We’ve been doing that too much here, and bottom line is, yeah, we’ve played good in some of the games, but we didn’t win, and that’s what we’re in this business for, to win.”

“We have to be better.”

Joey’s back:

The Blue Jackets recalled Ryan Johansen from the Springfield Falcons over the weekend, and the forward spent Sunday traveling to meet the team in Chicago and returned to the lineup that night. Richards said that Johansen was sent down to the American Hockey League because he needed to regain his speed, and “Joey” thinks that he did just that against the Blackhawks.

“They wanted me to go back down and get some confidence back – kind of get my swagger back, and I think I did that,” he said after the morning skate.

“I played some good hockey down there, and I feel really good about coming back up now.”

Richards was also impressed with how Johansen played during Chicago’s game.

“He looked fast. He had some speed and some jump to his game.”

Kekalainen Era begins:

Of course, the No. 1 storyline around the Blue Jackets has been the appointment of Jarmo Kekalainen as general manager. Kekalainen joined the team on the road and has been able to take in three games, but tonight’s game marks his first at Nationwide Arena as the club’s general manager.

Kekalainen talked to the Columbus media today for the first time after today’s morning skate. Watch the video from his press conference this morning:

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