“It’s going to be fun to get back on track,” Huselius said. “It will be good to get into game situations again. It’s exciting.”
Johansen Gets First Taste of the NHL
Blue Jackets 2010 first round pick Ryan Johansen did not look out of place in his first NHL game. He played on a line with captain Rick Nash and left wing R.J. Umberger. Johansen was scoreless with one shot in 15:35 of action.
“It was unbelievable,” Johansen said. “Even though we lost, it was still a fun game and for it to be in Columbus was exciting. Having those two guys next to me was a lot of help. Even on the bench they were giving me tips. I am learning and just trying to take in as much as possible.”
Nash praised the play of Johansen, as did Umberger.
“I think after he got the nerves out the first couple of shifts, he was a lot better,” Nash said. “He has great hands, good skill.”
Added Umberger, “You can see the kid’s talent. He has a lot of poise with the puck and he sees the ice really well. You can see that he’s going to be a good player. It’s going to take him some time to learn the speed of the game and move the puck quicker, but you can see he has a great talent.”
Head coach Scott Arniel was impressed with Johansen’s outing.
“I thought he did lots of good things,” Arniel said. “Playing with those guys, he created some things out there. We wanted to put him with two good players and see what he could do and I thought he did a good job.”
With one game under his belt, Johansen is only hoping that he can improve from here. He’d like to continue to focus on the little things.
“At my age, I think every 18-year-old knows the big things that they need to do out there,” Johansen said. “It’s just the little, key points that help your game and make that big difference. I’ve learned a lot of those so far in quick little plays and I think it has helped my game a lot.”
New Team, New Outlook
Center Kyle Wilson spent the past two seasons helping the Washington Capitals American Hockey League affiliate, the Hershey Bears, to back-to-back Calder Cup championships. A key piece to both runs, Wilson became an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. Rather than re-signing with the Washington organization, he chose Columbus.
“I felt, in Washington, they had a lot of guys, especially up the middle,” Wilson said. “It really wasn’t a great opportunity for a centerman and coming here, I felt I would get a fair crack at it. They (Columbus) have given me a shot to show what I can do and that’s all you can really hope for as a player.”
Now in Training Camp with Columbus, Wilson is one of a group of players battling for a roster spot with the Blue Jackets.
“You really can’t think about everybody else,” he said. “You have to go out there and give it your best, and if they feel like you are good enough to be an NHL player, they’ll find a spot for you. Whether they move someone else, or move you to a wing or whatever, they’ll find a spot. That’s what I am going to focus on and hopefully it has been showing.”
Wilson made his preseason debut with the Jackets this past Tuesday night in Atlanta and tallied two assists in the 5-2 win.
“(The first game) was good. The pace was okay and I felt my legs were there,” Wilson said. “Things are building up and I feel that I am going to be ready by (regular) season time.”
Practice Times and Groups for Friday
Playing Group (10-11 a.m., Nationwide Arena) – Blunden, Clark, Clitsome, Commodore, Garon, Goloubef, Huselius, Klesla, Kolarik, Kubalik, LeNeveu, Methot, Moreau, Murray, Pahlsson, Prout, Sestito, Sigalet, Stralman, Umberger, Vermette, Wilson
Non-Playing Group (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) – Boll, Brassard, Calvert, Dorsett, Filatov, Francis, Frischmon, Gabriel, Guenin, Guite, Hejda, Holden, Johansen, Machesney, MacKenzie, Mason, Mayorov, Moore, Murovich, Nash, Neuber, Ratchuk, Regner, Ruth, Savard, Tyutin, Voracek