The Blue Jackets are set to take on the Minnesota Wild tonight at Xcel Energy Center. Game time is set for 8 p.m. ET. It is the second of two preseason meetings between the clubs, as Columbus defeated Minnesota 3-2 in a shootout at Nationwide Arena this past Tuesday.
To view the playing rosters for both teams for tonight’s game, click here.
Speaking of Tonight’s Lineups
The roster for tonight’s game looks very similar to the roster that completed the 2009-10 season. Of the 20 players making the trip to Minnesota for tonight’s game, all but three (Ethan Moreau, David LeNeveu, David Savard) played for the Blue Jackets last season.
“It’s more of a veteran lineup tonight,” Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel said. “Both tonight and Saturday we’ll dress some real good lineups and we’ll see where it goes.”
The first five games, Arniel has mixed and matched the lines to see if players played better with another. Also, with the training camp roster larger, it allowed him, the coaching staff and hockey operations to see what some of the younger players had to offer playing against some NHL competition. The roster now stands at 38 and has to be pared down by at least 13 players before the club departs for Sweden following Saturday’s preseason game against Atlanta.
“I have tinkered quite a bit here with lines,” Arniel said. “The first five games I tried to get some different looks. Tonight, some of the units will go back to what I saw on video from last season. It doesn’t mean that’s the way I am going to start the year in Sweden against San Jose, but I want to see these guys now in a comfortable role.”
Those lines include a first line of Kristian Huselius-Antoine Vermette-Rick Nash and a second line of R.J. Umberger-Derick Brassard-Jakub Voracek. The third line will consist of Ethan Moreau-Samuel Pahlsson-Derek Dorsett and a the fourth line is Chris Clark-Derek MacKenzie-Mike Blunden.
Russell Getting Closer to Return
Defenseman Kris Russell has been out the past week-plus after suffering a knee injury during the second annual Owners Tournament held on Sept. 19. He has been working on getting back on the ice and skated today. Arniel said he is getting closer to a return.
“He’s doing a lot better,” Arniel said. “He got in some contract drills this morning and his skating has come along and he’s starting to feel a lot better. We haven’t gotten him fully into battle drills, but he’s started to do some pushing and shoving where he had to do some weight bearing on his leg and so far everything seems pretty good.”
Arniel is hoping that Russell will be able to play in the Blue Jackets exhibition game at Malmo (Sweden) on Tuesday, but will not push him.
“I think if we can get him in a few of our practices here before we leave, maybe we get a chance to get him in that exhibition game in Malmo,” Arniel said. “We’re going to take it day-to-day. I don’t want him tweaking it to make it feel like he has to get in the game before the San Jose game.”
Friday’s Playing Roster, Practice Times and Groups
The Blue Jackets playing roster for tomorrow night’s game can be found by clicking here.
Here is tomorrow’s practice schedule:
Playing Group (10-11 a.m., Nationwide Arena) – Blunden, Clark, Clitsome, Commodore, Filatov, Fritsche, Garon, Guenin, Guite, Holden, Johansen, Klesla, Kubalik, LeNeveu, MacKenzie, Mayorov, Moore, Murray, Savard, Sestito, Wilson
Non-Playing Group (11:30-1 p.m., Nationwide Arena) – Boll, Brassard, Dorsett, Hejda, Huselius, Mason, Methot, Moreau, Nash, Pahlsson, Stralman, Tyutin, Umberger, Vermette, Voracek