Following last night’s 4-2 home victory over the Minnesota Wild, Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel admitted that the roster situation wasn’t yet clear.
It was a candid comment from the coach, especially given that his players have only one exhibition game remaining to put their stamp on this year’s camp. Arniel dressed a stout lineup last night at Nationwide Arena, and plans to do more of the same tonight at RBC Center in Raleigh.
The Hurricanes are expected to dress most of their NHL regulars, including All-Star goaltender Cam Ward. For the Blue Jackets, it will be Steve Mason going the distance for the second consecutive game after making 32 saves last night.
“He’s being solid in there, and it’s a good first step these three games,” Arniel said. “This will be the first chance for him to go back-to-back and put last night away.
“We’re real happy with where he’s at. His frame of mind has been pretty good.”
There is a lot to like about Mason’s game during the preseason contests, including his positioning, poise and confidence. Mason and goaltending coach Ian Clark have worked hard to get him in top form for the regular season opener next week, and so far, the results have been encouraging.
“There was a lot of work put into (my game) during the summer time, going back to fundamental things,” Mason told BlueJackets.com this morning. “I’ve worked on taking out the unnecessary movements and limit the trouble on the ice.
“It’s paying off so far, and though it’s only preseason, I’m feeling good about my game.”
STRIVING FOR CLARITY
Arniel and general manager Scott Howson have maintained that roster decisions will largely be made by on-ice play. Through the first two weeks of camp, those decisions aren’t getting any easier, but they may be getting closer to being made.
The team will play tonight’s game against the Hurricanes, then return home for an off day tomorrow. They will practice Sunday and anticipate getting down to their final roster numbers before departing to Oxford, Ohio for team-building exercises early next week.
“I wouldn’t say that if one of the young guys had a tough game (tonight) that it would be a bad situation,” Arniel told BlueJackets.com.
“We’ve got a pretty good idea of where we’re going (with the roster), but we’ll take one more dress rehearsal to see what’s out there.”
at Carolina Hurricanes
RBC Center | Raleigh, N.C.
Game time: 7 p.m.
Watch: Click here to watch game streamed live on BlueJackets.com
Listen: Click here to listen live on 1460 ESPN
Here is the full Blue Jackets roster for tonight’s game against the Hurricanes. The roster includes extra players, but does not include those injured or on injured reserve.
FORWARDS: Jeff Carter, Maksim Mayorov, Derek Dorsett, Derick Brassard, R.J. Umberger, Vinny Prospal, Sammy Pahlsson, Martin St. Pierre, Alexandre Giroux, Tomas Kubalik, Ryan Johansen, Cam Atkinson, Jared Boll, Antoine Vermette, Rick Nash.
DEFENSEMEN: Radek Martinek, Marc Methot, John Moore, Aaron Johnson, Kris Russell, Grant Clitsome, Nick Holden, David Savard, Fedor Tyutin.
GOALTENDERS: Steve Mason, Curtis Sanford.