I’ll begin today’s notebook with a personal anecdote: there is nothing better than willingly subjecting yourself to temperatures 40 degrees cooler than the outside air.
It only means one thing – hockey season beckons.
The Blue Jackets, in preparation for said hockey season, were back to work today for three more practice sessions split between the OhioHealth Ice Haus and Nationwide Arena. After two days of review and systems work, today's practices featured special teams work, with power play and penalty killing drills eating up a decent chunk of time.
With one final practice before the open of their preseason slate tomorrow against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nationwide Arena (a 7 p.m. puck drop), there were some things that needed to be covered – particularly for those in the lineup for the game.
Here are some observations from Sunday’s practices:
- Another strong showing for sophomore center Alexander Wennberg, who has been talked about a lot these first few days. Earlier this weekend, he told reporters that he’d added “five or six pounds” of muscle in the offseason, and he’s been mighty impressive so far.
- Wennberg is also quite excited about the prospect of adding Cam Atkinson to the right side of his line with veteran Scott Hartnell. Atkinson put up yet another 20-goal season in 2014-15, and there are plenty of folks who think he’s primed to touch the 30-goal plateau this year.
- Speaking of Atkinson, he missed Saturday’s practice due to soreness, coach Todd Richards said, but was back on the ice today.
- We mentioned Ryan Murray on Friday and we’ll do it again today, because he’s looked excellent in the first three days of practice. Things seem to be going smoothly with new defense partner David Savard, as well.
- Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky celebrated his 27th birthday today. I can imagine he celebrated by doing what he loves: stopping pucks and riding the stationary bike.*
*that’s a joke
- Joonas Korpisalo, who by all accounts had a great showing at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, was particularly sharp this morning and has been locked in during this camp. It’s a big year for the big Finn, entering his first full season of pro hockey and competing for a starting job in Cleveland with Anton Forsberg.
- Perhaps a sneak preview at the Blue Jackets’ No. 1 power play unit? This was the alignment used in today’s final session: Ryan Johansen operating on the half wall, Brandon Saad occupying the slot area, and captain Nick Foligno at the front of the net. Fedor Tyutin and Jack Johnson were running the points. #fun
- The lineup for tomorrow’s preseason opener was released on Sunday afternoon. Among the notables: the Hartnell-Wennberg-Atkinson line, an exciting kid line of Milano-Karlsson-Bjorkstrand, and a couple of regular defense pairings of Murray-Savard and Connauton-Prout.
- Korpisalo will get the start in goal and be backed up by Brad Thiessen.
- View the full roster by clicking HERE.