Welcome to the last Blue Jackets News & Rumors for the month of September. Training camp is well underway. More importantly, we have actual hockey games to discuss and recap.
The Blue Jackets opened their preseason with a pair of split-squad games against the Pittsburgh Penguins. We will talk game takeaways from each and then we’ll turn our attention to some early injuries. Yep. It has begun. We’ll then end with side dishes from around the team.
Blue Jackets at Penguins Takeaways
The first 40 minutes of the game from a Blue Jackets’ perspective was actually quite boring. They were down 2-0 after two thanks to a turnover and then a deflected goal off a defenseman’s skate. But then the Blue Jackets turned it on in the third period.
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On a power play, Jack Roslovic was in the right place at the right time. The puck deflected off his skate and in that made it 2-1. Then later in the third, David Jiricek did exactly what the Blue Jackets wanted from him. He converted defense into offense.
Jiricek stopped a rush at one end. Then he went to the other end and found Owen Sillinger with a perfect pass. Sillinger won’t score many easier goals than that one. It tied the game at two.
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After the teams didn’t score in overtime, the Penguins converted on both shootout attempts while the Blue Jackets were stopped on both.
Jiricek thought the team played really well in the third in the lead up to his tying goal.
“We were still in the game 2-0 after the second period,” Jiricek said. “We had some chances in the first and second as well. We just had to score the first one and after that, we were quite good.”
The Blue Jackets played an interesting roster that had a lot of players who were generally considered on the bubble. Acting head coach Jared Boll said he liked a lot of what he saw given the competition that’s out there.
“I think that’s exciting,” Boll said. That’s what you want as a player. It’s just an opportunity to play and show what you got. I think a lot of guys did a lot of good things and showed some good stuff. (There’s) still room for improvement and we’ll keep working at it but a great experience overall. The guys showed up.”
Don’t be surprised if you see players from this game play multiple times in the preseason. There is still a lot to sort out here.
Penguins at Blue Jackets Takeaways
The nightcap was a more entertaining game. Alex Texier, who was playing his first game at Nationwide Arena in more than a year, opened the scoring. His line with Adam Fantilli and Patrik Laine were clicking.
Carson Meyer then became the star of the night by scoring the Blue Jackets’ second and third goals. The third goal was shorthanded and thanks to a beautiful setup by Fantilli. Fantilli finished the night with a pair of assists.
After the Penguins made it 3-3, overtime was required again. This time, it was Jordan Dumais who called game. His snipe ended it. Kent Johnson and Denton Mateychuk assisted on the goal. How many times will this trio connect on goals in the future?
Zach Werenski played his first game since November 2022. He said on Monday at Media Day that he sort of feels like a rookie given how long he’s been away. He also said that timing will be a work in progress. He played with Damon Severson who made his Blue Jackets’ debut.
As for overall takeaways, it’s the first preseason game. We’re not going to get too in depth with this one. The Penguins played pretty well with an inexperienced roster. The Blue Jackets had the superior roster talent wise and needed overtime to win. It’s still the preseason for everyone though. The quality of play should get better as they go.
Head coach Pascal Vincent watched both games from the press box. Steve McCarthy coached the game in Columbus.
Early Injury Updates
The Blue Jackets on Wednesday announced some injury updates. The following players will be limited in the early going. There have not been any new updates to these since.
- G Daniil Tarasov (knee), day-to-day.
- RW Kirill Marchenko (back), day-to-day.
- D Jake Bean (abductor strain), week-to-week.
- RW Mathieu Olivier (leg), week-to-week.
In addition, head coach Pascal Vincent advised the local media that Yegor Chinakhov has an upper-body injury and he is listed as day-to-day. Perhaps the most concerning of these is Bean.
Recall Bean underwent shoulder surgery and missed most of last season. Being that this is a new injury certainly brings a level of concern for his availability for the start of the regular season and beyond.
The general thought was that Bean would have an inside edge to a roster spot given his experience and that he’s a left-shot defensemen. But until we get more clarity on how long he could be out, that will open the door for others to potentially step in.
Werenski, Severson, Ivan Provorov, Erik Gudbranson, Adam Boqvist and Andrew Peeke seem to be the six ahead of the pack to start out. Does someone like Jiricek now have a chance to crack the roster right away? What about someone else like Mateychuk or Stanislav Svozil? Nick Blankenburg could make his case too.
Opportunity awaits someone. “As Vincent said, the players will make the decisions for us.”
- Suddenly, Jet Greaves is in an interesting position. With Daniil Tarasov nursing an injury, there is a non-zero chance that Greaves could find himself in a position to make the Blue Jackets. He and PTO-invite Aaron Dell played in Pittsburgh and both did well for themselves. Here’s Greaves: “There’s opportunities for everyone in camp. We have a lot of guys here. So for me, it’s just control what I can control. Tarasov has his injury going on right now. Hopefully he gets healthy but for me it’s just about controlling what I control everyday. So just trying to be the best I can in each situation.”
- Greaves stopped 15 of 17 shots while Dell stopped all 11 in regulation and overtime before allowing the two shootout goals. Something to watch here. If the Blue Jackets elect to sign Dell to a contract, that would put them at 49/50 contracts per CapFriendly. This fact may be something to watch when it comes to Tim Berni’s status of if they need to make room later.
- The funniest line of the day came from Boll postgame: “Now I know what it’s like when you miss a shift or something. I understand why I probably missed a few shifts (in my career.) He was making key decisions about who to play during the game and in overtime/shootout. He also said he never thought he’d be in a position to be in the middle of the bench as a head coach.