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Training Camp notebook: Day 5

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets


After a split-squad sweep last night, the Blue Jackets were back on the ice this morning and afternoon for Day 5 (yes, this is Day 5…hard to believe) of training camp at Nationwide Arena.

A pair of 4-3 victories - one in regulation at PNC Arena in Raleigh and the other in overtime against St. Louis on home ice - had the Jackets feeling pretty good last night but Monday morning brought a new agenda.

Todd Richards’ message after the St. Louis game last night was that today is all about getting better than they were the day before, and that will be their approach to each day of practice. We tend to hear that a lot in sports, but Richards and his coaching staff weren’t letting off the gas pedal in the Monday sessions.

“Snap the puck! Hard passes, quick passes here!”

Richards didn’t like the execution and lack of conviction on the first couple of drills, so he brought things to a halt to reiterate his message.

Once again, it was a quick, intense practice that follows the theme from Day 1.

In the afternoon group, Scott Hartnell was a mainstay on left wing with Artem Anisimov at center and Cam Atkinson on the right side.

Tuesday’s lineup against Pittsburgh features several veterans (you can find the full lineup HERE). Sergei Bobrovsky will start, Richards said, and is expected to play two periods before giving way to Oscar Dansk.

Some notes from the morning group:

- Matt Calvert, Alexander Wennberg and Boone Jenner were not on the ice with Group A this morning. All three played in last night’s win over the Blues but only Jenner left the game early; post-game, Richards said Jenner’s absence was precautionary and there’s “not a lot there,” meaning the ailment is a minor one.

- GM Jarmo Kekalainen said all three players were absent for maintenance. Nothing major.

- Jack Johnson and David Savard were paired together again in the morning group, and Richards is getting a good look at this duo early in camp. They’ve been together for each camp practice and in their first preseason game on Sunday night.

- Mark Letestu and Nick Foligno, who played together Sunday afternoon in Raleigh, were back together in the morning group. Corey Tropp took the reps on right wing.

No expectations on a return timetable for Ryan Murray or Nathan Horton, Richards said. “Right now, it’s just day-to-day.”

- Richards spoke highly of Jared Boll today and rightfully so; he was noticeable on Sunday and he’s been impressed with the work he put in over the summer.

- Richards on Boll: “He’s a fierce forechecker and obviously a physical player; when you get him moving around on the ice like that - and I saw it two years ago - he’s a really effective player. I’m sure there is a little something (to prove), when you have a year with all the injuries he had. It’s disappointing, it’s frustrating. He’s worked hard this summer. You just look at him and see the shape that he’s in, and it’s noticeable from up top how he’s moving out on the ice. He wants to go out and show people.”

- Richards said that, while it was only one game, he was encouraged by what Simon Hjalmarsson brought to the table last night: “Some good, some areas he’s got to work on just like any new player coming over. It’s a different style of play compared to European hockey - different rink size, there’s some differences. A lot of it is just getting comfortable, too. I think there’s lots of adjustments…time and space (being one), being able to make quick plays. I think he thinks the game well. It’s also the work away from the puck, getting him to work away from the puck.”

- Another day at center for Brian Gibbons, who also played the middle on Sunday against St. Louis. He spent a lot of time on the wing in Pittsburgh but the Blue Jackets are getting a long look at him as a center during camp.

- Only one concern for Richards as he watched Johnson drop the gloves with Maxim Lapierre last night: “Just Jack’s safety…he’s big enough, he’s tough enough, he can handle himself. You’re just worried about one little thing going wrong.”

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