Snow falling on John H. McConnell Blvd. set the backdrop for the Blue Jackets' practice this morning at the OhioHealth Ice Haus.
Practice started around 11 a.m., and a handful of fans and media members watched from the stands as the players participated in a rather light session on the ice.
In addition to the usual names and faces, forward Matt Calvert took part (in a limited capacity) in practice. Calvert (lower body) was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 30 and was not given a timetable for a return. He said he felt good, but his next step is being cleared for contact.
In other Calvert news, the forward said he and his wife Courtney welcomed a son, Kasey Matthew, on Monday. Both mom and baby Kasey are doing well.
It appeared, based on the skate, that Scott Hartnell and Fedor Tyutin could draw back into the lineup for tomorrow’s game against the Calgary Flames. When asked, coach John Tortorella said he hasn’t decided yet and would reveal the lineup on Thursday.
Goaltenders Sergei Bobrovsky and Joonas Korpisalo were both on the ice, with Tortorella withholding the identity of tomorrow's starter until Thursday.
Here’s a few soundbites from Tortorella’s media availability after practice:
- The Blue Jackets will practice at 11 a.m. Friday on the Winter Park outdoor rink, presented by Worthington Industries. Here’s Tortorella’s take on an outdoor practice: “It’s a blast. It’s a blast and, for us now, we need to change something. We’re trying to change things to try to get it as fresh as possible. When you’re going through the grind we’re going through, even if a team is winning consistently, you need to change things throughout the year.
“We’ve been up and down like a toilet seat here, and we need to just change just to try to give them something fresh. That’ll be a blast, and I wish we could do more of it because players are entertainers. They want the public out there. I think it’ll be really good for the community and us as a hockey club.”
- When asked about forward Boone Jenner (who is tied for the team lead with 16 goals), Tortorella said: “He is a glue guy that is so important to winning. (We) use him in all different situations, blocks shots, on the wall, power play guy, scores another power play goal last night. He’s a guy, if you’re going to win consistently in the league, he needs to be in your lineup. He needs to be playing the minutes that he plays.”
- Tomorrow’s game against the Calgary Flames is the first time they've seen each other this season. Does it matter for players' preparation?
“The way we’re approaching this is, I thought we did some good things last night," Tortorella said. "We hurt ourselves, which is something we’re trying to get out of our game, but I want to get them in here quickly, skate for a little bit, move the blood, there will be an optional skate, there’s no tape. We just need to get ready to play our next game right now.”