After returning from the annual Western Canada trip on Saturday, the Blue Jackets had the day off on Sunday to rest and reenergize before getting right back into the thick of things on Monday morning.
The Blue Jackets held a light practice at the OhioHealth Ice Haus at 11:30 a.m., again without head coach John Tortorella, who continues to recover from broken ribs. In his absence, associate coach Craig Hartsburg and assistant coach Brad Larsen led the team’s practice and will continue to do so until the bench boss is cleared by the medical staff.
After spending the last week on the road, the Blue Jackets will now enjoy a five-game home stand at Nationwide Arena, which kicks off on Tuesday against the New York Islanders and lasts until Feb. 19 against the Buffalo Sabres.
One familiar face back on the ice this morning was defenseman David Savard, who was placed on injured reserve on Jan. 22 (retroactive to Jan. 13) after suffering an oblique strain at Toronto.
Savard fully participated in the team’s practice, although he is unlikely to play against the Islanders tomorrow. Tortorella said Savard is still “day-to-day.”
“It’s been a little while since I came back from my ankle injury, and only five games I think and I was out again, so I’m excited to be back on the ice with the team and practicing with them,” Savard said. “I can’t wait to be back in games.”
Savard added that he has been feeling better every day, a good sign, and doing a little more every day. He traveled with the team on the road trip, and has felt more comfortable with each new round of contact and battle drills.
“We’re trying to push it a bit more every day and see how I react the next day,” Savard said. “Hopefully, if I didn’t feel anything on the ice, that’s a good sign, so the next day we can push a little further.”
Another note from practice: Jared Boll was struck with a puck to the throat/neck area and left practice to be evaluated. Tortorella said he was being checked out and there would be an update in the morning.
Here’s a few other notes from Tortorella’s media availability:
Asked about goaltender Joonas Korpisalo’s role on the team, Tortorella said: “To me...there’s just so many positives in watching the process he’s going through as we’ve has these injuries to two of our goalies, not just ones, so he’s earned the No. 1 spot right now. More importantly, he has gotten the opportunity to really jump into the process of becoming a National Hockey League goalie.”
When asked how to make Nationwide Arena a tough building to play in, here were the head coach’s thoughts: “Of course, it’s wins, but it’s not always the result. It’s how you play. I think part of it, we’ll come into wins because I think people will be more involved as far as the crowd. It gives it that atmosphere. It’s both of them: our play, the crowd gets involved, being hard, being a stingy team at home, a no-nonsense team at home, and that’s how you establish how people perceiving coming into this building.”