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Practice Report: Jan. 20

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

3:00 P.M. -- POST PRACTICE UPDATE: we spoke with some of the Blue Jackets players today after their practice at Nationwide Arena, and they all talked about how they were happy with how the team kept its foot on the gas pedal. They started a little slow but really picked it up in the second and third period, and Richards said he thought the Blue Jackets started to wear down the Predators in the third.

I had a good chat with Derek Dorsett about his line and what parts of the Blue Jackets' game plan worked against Nashville. You can find the full story here.

Here are some of the things Richards covered in his chat with the media today:

-- Richards said the Blue Jackets don't plan to change much after last night's game, and it was evident with all of the lines and pairings staying intact for practice today. There are some guys with minor bumps and bruises, he said, but nothing significant enough to keep players out of the lineup Monday night vs. Detroit.

-- The Blue Jackets have not named a starting goaltender for tomorrow, Richards said, but I would be surprised if Bobrovsky didn't go right back in the net after a strong 32-save effort last night. Given the lack of change throughout the lineup today at practice, I think Bobrovsky going back in the net makes sense. That means Steve Mason could get his first start of the year either in Phoenix or Colorado when the Blue Jackets make that back-to-back road trip midweek.

-- Richards reiterated that it's still too early to determine who's meshing with each other and which lines are working, but he was encouraged with their "team game" against the Predators. The structure was there and the commitment to doing the right things defensively (blocking shots, getting clears, taking away passing lanes) were what stuck out to him.

-- The Red Wings aren't going to be in a pleasant mood, either. As we mentioned earlier, they took a beating from the Blues last night in a 6-0 loss; Jimmy Howard was pulled and the Red Wings only put 14 shots on goal in the entire game. I think we'll see a much different (and hungrier) Detroit club tomorrow night at Nationwide Arena.

-- Detroit practiced today at Nationwide Arena and there was some news out of it. Howard will start in net tomorrow, coach Mike Babcock told the assembled media, and Thomas McCollum has been recalled from Grand Rapids (AHL) to serve as back-up. Regular No. 2 goalie Jonas Gustavsson is reportedly suffering from a groin issue.

-- Todd Bertuzzi will miss "weeks" with mononucleosis, and Jan Mursak is also out of the Red Wings' lineup tomorrow with a reported collarbone issue.

Keep an eye on later tonight as we launch "GAME DAY" No. 2 of the season, previewing what should be an exciting home opener at Nationwide Arena.

12:35 P.M. -- After a brief but energetic skate that lasted around 40 minutes, Todd Richards has gathered his team at center ice and we're done for the day. Some important things covered in preparation for Detroit, it would appear, and they will do more work at tomorrow's morning skate.

12:10 P.M. -- Next round of drills is geared toward getting traffic at the net, which led to the Blue Jackets' first goal of the game in Nashville. All four lines are going back inside the zone as a unit, getting the forecheck started, then moving with speed through the middle of the ice. The assistant coaches are serving as opposition defensemen this morning...and thankfully for them, they're wearing "virtual" yellow jerseys.

12:00 P.M. -- By my count we have everyone present and accounted for at today's practice. 14 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders. Blue Jackets are working on some neutral-zone breakout drills to begin the session.

11:45 A.M. -- Good morning, Blue Jackets fans. I think it's safe to say that everyone had a wonderful night. What a way to start the 2012-13 season, right?

After a flight home right after the game, the Blue Jackers are slated to hit the ice here at Nationwide Arena in about 15 minutes' time. We'll bring you all the updates from practice (it is closed to the public today), and tell you everything you need to know about what happened at the rink today.

We're not sure how long practice will last today, but there's a chance it could be a quick one just to go over some structure things pertaining to tomorrow night's home opener against the Detroit Red Wings. Speaking of the Wings, they will certainly be in a foul mood upon arrival at Nationwide -- they were drubbed 6-0 by the St. Louis Blues last night at Scottrade Center.

A brief review on last night's Blue Jackets lines:

Umberger - Brassard - Atkinson
Dubinsky - Anisimov - Dorsett
Foligno - Johansen - Prospal
Calvert - MacKenzie - Boll

Tyutin - Nikitin
Johnson - Wisniewski
Moore - Aucoin


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