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Training Camp Report: Sept. 27

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets
The Jackets held their daily practice session today from 10:30 a.m. to around noon at the Dispatch IceHaus. The Jackets looked sharp running their drills and seemed rather enthusiastic about the start of the season. To a man, each player seams pretty anxious for the start of the season and focused on the Jackets making their first playoff push.

Training Camp Report: Sept. 26
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

Some notes from today:
NHL GAME ON PARTY: The NHL will hold it annual preseason party as the NHL/FHM Game On Party, presented by COLD-fX will be held at Marquee tonight in New York City. Blue Jackets Manny Malhotra, Rick Nash, Bryan Berard, Anson Carter and Jody Shelley were all invited to attend and flew to New York, shortly after practice.

Other invitees at the party were Commissioner Gary Bettman, New York Islanders head coach Ted Nolan and a host of players, including Eric Staal and Erik Cole of the 2006 Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes; Peter Forsberg, Simon Gagne, Robert Esche, Mike Knuble, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter of the Philadelphia Flyers; Arron Asham and Shawn Bates of the New York Islanders; Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres, to name a few.

There would also be a special appearance by the Stanley Cup, the oldest and most revered trophy in all professional sports.

Some celebrities were also invited, including actress Susan Sarandon; Michael Rosenbaum and Justin Hartley of "Smallville", David Sutcliffe and Matt Czuchry of "Gilmore Girls"; Cameron Mathison and Thorsten Kaye of "All My Children"; VH1's Matt Pinter; Tom Pelphrey, Stephanie Gatschet, John Driscoll and Marcy Rylan of "Guiding Light".

Check out FHM Magazine, as it salutes the NHL's 2006-07 season with a 7-page editorial feature including photos and interviews with some of the league's top stars in its November 2006 issue, on sale nationwide on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

BLUELINERS LOOKING TO SECURE ROSTER SPOTS: The Jackets still have nine defensemen on their roster and will look to trim the roster to seven by opening night. Incumbents Bryan Berard, Adam Foote, Ron Hainsey, Rostislav Klesla and Duvie Westcott have all secured spots while free agent acquisition Anders Eriksson is the leading candidate for the sixth spot on the roster.

The suspension of Klesla for the first two games of the season, as well as Berard still recovering from back surgery has put a wrinkle into that plan, however. Youngsters Kris Russell, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen and Aaron Johnson are competing for those minutes.

"It's up in the air right now," head coach Gerard Gallant said. "The young kid Russell is going to get another look. You have Tollefsen and Johnson still fighting for playing time and Eriksson also in the mix.

"We are going to see how things shake out after the exhibition game on Friday night and go from there."

KRIS NOT GETTING CROSSED OFF THE ROSTER: Defenseman Kris Russell, the Jackets' third pick, 67th overall in 2005, has put up quite the challenge to keep a roster spot when camp wraps up this weekend.

"I like the way he skates and the way he moves his feet, he is a skilled kid," Gallant said. "He is not a big guy by any means, but he skates very well and moves the puck very well. The new NHL gives him a chance to play."

Listed at 5-10, 167 lbs, Russell won the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the WHL Defenseman of the Year and took home the Brad Hornung Trophy as the WHL's Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year in 2005-06, where he scored 14-33-47 in 55 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers.

"Coming into camp, you don't know what's going to happen," Russell said. "I just try and take it day by day. Every day has been a great experience and you just go with it.

Though challenging for a roster spot, Russell still has another year of junior eligibility left.

"Everyone wants to play in the NHL but Medicine Hat has been good to me," he said. "It is a good hockey town and if I had to go back, there would be nothing wrong with that. It would help my development in getting more minutes."

Regardless of where he ends up this season, Russell has learned a lot just playing with the Jackets' defensemen at camp this preseason.

"Everyday you work as hard as you can and they show that. They show the work ethic that it takes to compete at the National Hockey League. Just watching them work as hard as they do that can only grow on a guy because you want to compete just as hard."

CBJ MAILBAG: Throughout the 2006-07 NHL season, would like to answer questions from Blue Jackets fans. E-mail your query to 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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