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Training Camp Report: Sept. 26

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets
The Jackets, down to 28 players on its roster after sending eight players to Syracuse this morning, no longer has to practice in groups as the roster continues to dwindle down and begins to take shape. The club was on the ice for nearly two hours with practice starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Dispatch IceHaus, as players compete for those last few roster spots.

COMPLETE CAMP COVERAGE:
Roster Moves V (Sept. 26)
Roster Moves IV (Sept. 25)
CBJ 4 - CAR 2 (Sept. 24)
CHI 4 - CBJ 2 (Sept. 23)
CHI 5 - CBJ 2 (Sept. 22)
NSH 8 - CBJ 1 (Sept. 21)
Roster Moves III (Sept. 20)
Training Camp Report: Sept. 20
CBJ 4 - BUF 1 (Sept. 19)
Roster Moves II (Sept. 19)
Training Camp Report: Sept. 18
Roster Moves I (Sept. 18)
CBJ 2 - NSH 0 (Sept. 17)
Training Camp Report: Sept. 16
Training Camp Report: Sept. 15
Training Camp Info

WELCOME BACK: With the club returning from a scheduled off day on Monday - which was on the heels of four games in a four-day span - head coach Gerard Gallant put the team through a grueling workout on the ice today, lasting nearly two hours.

"This time of year you just try and get everything sorted out, you have a lot of things to work on getting to know your new line mates," LW Jason Chimera said about practice. "It usually runs a little longer this time of year."

WELCOME BACK PART TWO: Blue Jackets captain Adam Foote, who returned to the ice on Sunday for the team's morning skate, had his first on-ice workout since undergoing off-season surgery today.

"He was terrible," Gallant joked when asked about Foote. "No Adam is fine. I was really happy with the way he looked and he was skating well and did the full practice without any pain."

Foote is expected to make his preseason debut this Friday night at Carolina.

BALASTIK FANTASTIC ON THE SHOOTOUT: Despite winning the game, 4-2 over Carolina on Sunday night, the two teams competed in a shootout to get practice on that aspect of the game.

Jaroslav Balastik, who converted a team high 6-of-9 attempts last year, led off for the Jackets, scoring on Carolina goaltender John Graham.

"I like the shootout," Balastik said. "It was a great idea and it is very exciting for the players and the fans. I really like it."

Balastik, who ranked fifth in the NHL last season in shootout goals, admits he does get a little nervous going one-on-one with the goaltender with the game on a line.

"You always get a little bit nervous," he said, "If you are not nervous, something is wrong with you."

Despite the nerves, Balastik appears calm and collected on the shootout and always has a game plan.

"I have three or four options on the shootout," he said. "I know when I take the puck from the red line where I am going to shoot it. I know what I want to do."

Rick Nash, Fredrik Modin, David Vyborny and Gilbert Brule followed Balastik in the shootout not converting on their attempts. Anson Carter scored to give CBJ a 2-1 lead in the sixth round but Justin Williams converted to prolong the sudden death shootout. Geoff Platt and Eric Boguniecki missed before Kevyn Adams scored on Pascal Leclaire to give Carolina the 3-2 shootout win.

Leclaire stopped 5-of-8 attempts.

"Pazzy is very good on the shootout," Balastik said. "It is not easy to score on him in practice."

WHAT OFF DAY?: After working non-stop since training camp began on Sept. 16 and hitting the pinnacle of the preseason with four games in four nights last weekend, the club had a scheduled off day yesterday. Each player spent it a little differently but Jody Shelley had a laundry list of chores on his day off.

"I cleaned my garage," Shelley said. "I cleaned off my lawn mower, it was full of grass, and I washed my truck. Not much besides that, just relaxed with my wife and my dog and listened to some tunes. It was a nice day."

Shelley typically spends his off days trying to "just relax and not do much and just get away and try and get ready for the next day's practice. But you are always thinking about hockey."

Jason Chimera, however, was thinking more about sofas and candle sticks than hockey sticks on Monday as he and his wife, Sarah, are tyring fill up their new apartment.

"We went looking for furniture," he said. "We need everything to furnish our apartment."

MANNY 'MANING' THE TOP LINE?: With the squad expected to be without No. 1 center Sergei Fedorov for 4-6 weeks, as well as losing Alexander Svitov, also a centerman, for the next 2-3 weeks, Manny Malhotra was working out with Rick Nash and David Vyborny on the team's top line at practice today.

"He will do fine in that role," Chimera said. "Manny can handle his own. I hope he steps up, with Svits and Fedorov out, as he will probably have to jump up and take that spot. He will play that role just fine. "

Malhotra, who gelled last season on the team's third line with Chimera and Trevor Letowski, was projected prior to camp to again center that energy line, though with Dan Fritsche on the wing replacing the departed Letowski.

"Dan and Trevor are similar type players in that they both work hard and hit the corners hard," Chimera said. "It was unfortunate to lose Trevor, but I do not see a problem with Dan playing there, he has had a great preseason."

But Chimera will miss his centerman, should he play on one of the top lines while Fedorov is out.

"I have played with him for a year and a half now," he said. "[Manny] is a good player. We are very similar type players and kind of feed off of each other, it is fun to play with him."

CBJ MAILBAG: Throughout the 2006-07 NHL season, CBJ.com would like to answer questions from Blue Jackets fans. E-mail your query to CBJ.com for possible inclusion in a future mailbag column, which will be published every other Sunday, starting at the end of September. Letters can be addressed to any member of the organization and may be edited for brevity, length and/or content. Please include your name and location along with your question. Click on the CBJ mailbag to submit your question: CBJ Mailbag.

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