After taking the day off on Sunday, the Blue Jackets practiced today at Nationwide this morning. While the club has not discussed anything officially, there were some tweets from Aaron Portzline to give some clues into what took place.
- The Missing: Current injury list members Jared Boll (Back), Andrew Murray (Knee), and Anton Stralman (upper body) did not practice today, but apparently Mike Commodore (hand) did. Could that mean we see him back in the lineup on Wednesday? If he practices tomorrow without aggravating his injury, it seems like a reasonable possibility.
- Drills & Laps: Though it doesn't sound like the team was asked to perform a bag skate, it sounds like the coaches were not satisfied with the team after the 1 and 1 split this weekend, and the players were made to feel it today. Hard drills and several sets of laps were reported, including full-gear laps for the goaltenders. After some reflection, I approve. While I'm certainly glad they won on Saturday, I like that the coaching staff is not letting a win on Saturday excuse poor efforts on Friday. It gets back to the attitude change that has been talked about for the last few years. One isolated result is not enough. Consistent performance is being demanded.
- Short-Term problem?: It sounds like Anton Stralman is expected to practice tomorrow. If he does, and meets the approval of the coaches and trainers, he might also be ready to go on Wednesday, which means we'll get to deal with more line shuffling. Jared Boll, on the other hand, sounds like he's already been counted out. You have to wonder if the team may end up putting him on LTIR if the scrapping winger doesn't improve soon. One way or the other though, I hope Nate Guenin didn't get too comfortable - I wouldn't be surprised to see him return to Springfield this week if one or both of Commodore and Stralman come off the shelf, at which point...
- Where to, Mac?: Guenin's (projected) return to Springfield means the team has 11 defensemen assigned to their AHL affiliate. Though according to the Dispatch's Tom Reed, who spent the weekend in Springfield (and apparently will be staying with the team most of this week), the club has no immediate plans to send any of the d-men to the Ft. Wayne Komets, I can't help but think something has to give. Even the suggestion that callups and injuries will "relieve the logjam" seems a bit like wishful thinking. I don't care how many guys you expect to shuffle around, when you're one skater short of two full blue lines, you need to find a way to get them playing time.
All in all, I'd expect a motivated team Wednesday, regardless of who goes, but it'll be worth keeping an eye out to see just who will be available as the team goes for their first home win. (Side note - did you realize this is the first time the team's ever won their first two road games? Strange, but encouraging. Now they just need to clean up their own house.)