After playing a back-to-back, home-and-home series against the Carolina Hurricanes this past weekend, the Blue Jackets had the day off yesterday to rest and reenergize before Monday morning’s practice at Nationwide Arena.
Columbus dropped its first game against Carolina, but rallied from a 3-0 deficit to pick up one point at the home barn in overtime on Saturday night. One of the positives from the series? The ‘kids’ contributed a lot.
After switching up the lines, Kerby Rychel, Brandon Dubinsky and Josh Anderson formed a solid trio and energized the group, and Anderson scored the game-tying goal in the third period.
The three forwards were practicing together this morning, and head coach John Tortorella said they will start together on Tuesday’s game against the New York Islanders.
“I don’t think either team, in that little two-game segment there, created a whole bunch of offense,” Tortorella told the media after practice. “They ended up creating enough to get the four points and we get one. So we need to be better.”
Tortorella said he and the coaching staff made some adjustments during Saturday’s game to open up the ice, but said his team needs to be better collectively, both offensively and defensively.
The Jackets are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games and looking to bounce back and make up some ground during the month of January, and it all starts with preparation and practice.
There were 21 skaters on the ice this morning (12 forwards and nine defensemen) for a fast-paced, typical Tortorella practice. Additionally, left wing Markus Hannikainen (shoulder) skated with the team. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (groin) skated on his own today.
The Blue Jackets’ equipment was packed up after practice and they're heading to Brooklyn this afternoon. They play the Islanders (22-15-5) at Barclays Center on Tuesday night, and then turn around 24 hours later for a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (16-17-7) at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday.
Other stuff from practice:
- The top two defensive pairings remained the same: Ryan Murray-Seth Jones and Jack Johnson-David Savard.
- When asked, Tortorella said the third defensive pairing is wide open: “I think we have, with adding one guy, a right-hand shot, bumped players into areas that I think are more comfortable in that position,” Tortorella said. “I think (Murray) and (Jones) have played really well the first two games. I think Jonesy looked so much more comfortable the second game (moving) up the ice, some subtle plays, passing."
“I think we’re comfortable with (Murray-Jones) and (Johnson-Savard). The other guys are looking for those two spots, and we may rotate people in and out of there… so we’ll see as we go game-to-game.”
- Here’s a soundbite from William Karlsson on this morning's practice: “It was tough as usual,” he said. “I mean, you get right into it. That’s how you can describe it pretty much. It’s zero to one hundred. You just gotta be ready for it.”
- Anderson offered a newcomer's take, saying he loves the style of play and thinks it fits his game well: “Whenever you come out to Torts’ practices, you know he wants a full pace, hard work and it’s good. You feel better the next day.
“He likes guys that compete every shift,” Anderson said. “He likes young guys, so it’s a good compliment there. I think (his coaching style) is really suited to my game because I’m one of those guys that’s a two-way forward that looks at playing defense before offense. I really like to work hard and give my full effort every time I’m on the ice.”