COLUMBUS, Ohio -- After the conclusion of on-ice sessions at Nationwide Arena on Fri., Sept. 13, Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards met with the media. Here is a transcript of his media session.
Todd Richards: "The reason why we haven't scrimmaged yet was to have time to practice and get our systems in place. Getting ready for Sunday's game, we have to get our guys somewhat game-ready. A lot of the guys that played up in Traverse City, there are going to be a handful of guys that are not going to be scrimmaging tomorrow, just because they've played games. Really what I'm looking for is the guys that haven't played, putting them in, it's not going to act like a game that's for sure because you're going against your own team, but going up and down the ice, faceoffs, those types of things."
"It's not going to be long based on the amount of time we have too because it's still the third day of training camp. With the CBA, we can only be out on the ice for so long so the plan is to do one period, 25 minutes, stop time. We're going to have a group out on the ice practicing first, over at the ice house, then we're going to come over and scrimmage. The other group will be getting warmed up by another coach so when we get over there we can just play. Then that group is going to go practice, just so we aren't losing a full day of working on something. It gives us a chance to work on the power play tomorrow."
Q: Is there anything specific you are going to look for in that scrimmage or is it just about getting the pace up?
TR: "Watch certain players. We saw certain players up in Traverse City that we've got in the scrimmage tomorrow that did a good job up there. That was playing against their peers--can they play at the NHL level? Can they play against men? And to me, that's what I want to see."
Q: Does anything that happens in that scrimmage maybe affect who you decide is going play on Sunday, or is that something you have already determined?
TR: "We probably still have about two or three spots left to fill out roster-wise getting ready for Pittsburgh. We've tentatively penciled in really the first four games. Again, there are open spots for every game, but looking more at our players and how we want to put them and where we want to put them in back-to-back games. You've got to be careful with guys like Boll and Gaborik because of the surgeries they had in the summer. We're going to manage it that way. As I said yesterday and I think I told you guys and I know I told our players that first day of camp was that we have eight games and our plan is for all of our guys to play five out of the eight games."
Q: Have you heard any grumbling from veterans about that? Did they seem to be pretty cool with that?
TR: "They might be grumbling, I don't know, I haven't heard anything. But again, to me, we need to be ready to go, game one. That's what I'm shooting for and this is what gets us ready for game one by playing a number of games. We've got to re-establish ourselves again. There are two stories that can be written about this team this upcoming year. One of them is going to be that it was a fluke last year, the other is that these guys are for real. I want it to be the second one, and I believe that too, that this team is for real. But we have to come out and prove it to people again."
Q: Have you noticed the new nets?
TR: "I have. I noticed them, obviously looking at them, and I also noticed a difference in size, but I haven't really noticed it because when we get them practicing, I'm looking at a lot of other things. I don't know; it's a subtle change. I think it will create a little more space, but it's not one of those changes where you look and think 'oh, there's a big difference.'"
Q: Is something like that a quick adjustment, or is it something that you have to pick up on?
TR: "The players are the guys looking at the net and shooting and what do they see? For me I'm too old to see a difference so it doesn't really matter."
Q: Is everyone healthy so far?
TR: "So far."