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Overheard: Morning Skate

by Staci Pawlak / Columbus Blue Jackets

After a successful home-and-home this weekend against the Detroit Red Wings, the Blue Jackets are getting ready to take on the Vancouver Canucks tonight at Nationwide Arena at 7 p.m. The Blue Jackets beat the Canucks in OT last Thursday on a goal by Matt Calvert.

Here are some of the main snippets from this morning’s skate:

Dubinsky Returns

By now, you’ve heard that Brandon Dubinsky will return to the line-up tonight. Right now, he is slated to play center on a line with Cam Atkinson and Matt Calvert.

After sustaining a knee injury that has kept him out of the line-up since February 16, Dubinsky said he made the decision yesterday to come back.

“I just wanted to make sure I was prepared to play the right way – the way that I need to play to help this team and try and help them continue building on the success they’ve had of late,” he said.

“I think you’re always anxious to try and get back as soon as you can, and I’m excited to get ready to go tonight.”

Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said Dubinsky is a player who adds energy and offense to the team, but he doesn’t want him put too much pressure on himself for his return.

“He can’t come in and try to do too much and think he needs to be the difference,” Richards said. “He needs to step in and just add to our team in the way that we’re playing.”

Calvert said Dubinsky is an “all-around” player who always contributes in many different situations, not just five-on-five play. He looks forward to playing with Dubinsky on the same line tonight and believes the two had good chemistry before Dubinsky got injured.

“He’s a guy I look up to, try and base my game on his – work hard, be gritty,” Calvert said. “He brings leadership in everyone.”

No. 1 Star

Of course, the chatter of the last couple of days has been the stellar play in net from Sergei Bobrovsky, who was named the No. 1 Star of the Week by the NHL yesterday.

Bobrovsky posted a 4-0-0 record last week with a 0.77 goals-against average and a 0.972 save percentage. He also recorded his first shutout of his NHL career against the Red Wings on Saturday, stopping all 30 shots from the Detroit players that game.

“He definitely deserved that,” Richards said. “Watching first-hand what Bobby was able to do was great for our hockey team.”

“He’s making the saves he needs to, and he’s making the saves that we probably aren’t planning on him making,” he said.

“There’s no question – obviously, when a goaltender has been playing as well as it is, it gives you an opportunity to win every night,” Dubinsky said.

Scouting the Canucks

There isn’t much that has changed in the way these two teams play, but while the Blue Jackets are enjoying the confidence that comes from a winning streak, the Canucks will be looking to bounce back from a 4-2 loss against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday.

Regardless, the Blue Jackets say they need to be ready for Vancouver’s best.

“Any team that loses their last game is going to be hungry,” said Calvert. “That being said, I think we’re going to be ready ourselves. Whatever team that comes up, we have to go play our game.”

“This is our next biggest game, and our focus has to be on tonight, and nothing else,” Richards said. “Our guys have done a good job focusing and managing that part of it, but we can never get ahead of ourselves.”

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