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Blues sweep preseason doubleheader from Jackets

Hartnell - Gagner - Atkinson line impresses in afternoon game

by Rob Mixer @RobMixer /

The Blue Jackets have gone full-bore into Camp Tortorella since Thursday morning. Forgive them if their legs were a little heavy on this fine Sunday.

You'd hear that sentiment echoed by the head coach himself, who knew going into these split-squad games that his team might not have a lot of gas left in the tank. As a result, Columbus took a pair of losses (one in St. Louis, the other at Nationwide Arena), but the outcome doesn't bother Tortorella.

He said at the start of camp that it would be easy to identify the players who put the work in over the summer, and even so, those players would have a tough go in the first preseason games. That's just the way it is, and Tortorella was not the least bit surprised to see it unfold how it did.

"They did their work the last couple of days," Tortorella said after a 5-0 loss at Nationwide Arena on Sunday night. "They pushed, and it suffers in these games."

If we're grading performances here, the early game featured a few more highlights than the nightcap.

A newly-formed line of Scott Hartnell, Sam Gagner and Cam Atkinson showed well at Scottrade Center, accounting for all three Blue Jackets goals and two of them (Hartnell and Gagner) had multi-point efforts.

They were a bright spot in what became a messy game, with St. Louis pulling away in the third period. But as Tortorella saw in tonight's game in Columbus with his own eyes, his coaches in St. Louis told him that many players hit the wall later in the early game.

Again, no surprise.

"(The demanding practices this week) doesn't make for a great game, but that's camp," Tortorella said, adding "I don't give a damn about the results today."

Asked what he could take away from these games: "Absolutely nothing…I knew it was going to be a mess."

So on they go to Boston, where a few NHL regulars will be making their preseason debuts. Brandon Saad and Seth Jones, back from the World Cup of Hockey, jump into the lineup.

Curtis McElhinney will see game action for the first time, and Gagner is getting right back in, as well. Game time is 7 p.m. from TD Garden, and you can listen live on 1460 ESPN Columbus, or the CBJ App.




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