From tonight’s Scrimmage, we learned a lot, the most important being that our team is strong going into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. For starters, we learned from the press box how everyone was split up for this evening to stay socially distant and safe. Those who are traveling to Toronto, including players who were not in the scrimmage tonight (like Nick Foligno and Josh Anderson), coaches, and a lone cameramen, were all on one side of the OhioHealth Ice House. Those like our traditional announcers for games (Jeff Rimer and Jody Shelley) who will not be accompanying the team to Toronto, were housed on the opposite side of the stadium. Each group had their own ways in and out for zero contact. The team may not be in the NHL bubble yet, but the Columbus Blue Jacket’s are already taking precautions.
Another big update in recent days, and especially tonight is Josh Anderson, a Right Wing who puts the power in powerhouse. He was spotted skating during practice after being out for months after a fight in Vancouver resulted in major shoulder surgery. He has been placed on the roster, but precautions are still being taken, he has yet to see ice time with the full team yet. However, it is said he will be making the trip with the team to Toronto, and could be available later on in the playoffs, should the CBJ make it as far. If he were available this would be a major asset to the team against any opponent.
Tonight was limited, it was not a full team vs. a full team, but rather select players. Joonas Korpisalo goaltended for Team Blue, while Elvis Merzlikins goaltended for Team White. The two backup goalies were suited up, but neither met ice, and I feel tonight was a chance for Head Coach John Tortorella to decide in a mock game setting, who may take the position of starter for many positions, but particularly goaltender. This is just a theory, but with him leaving his original starter and backup in the entire time, both being a starter at some point during the regular season, taking over as their counterpart was injured, this theory would make sense. The surprise, the final score was a Team White win, 7 – 3, meaning fewer goals were scored on Merzlikins than Korpisalo. What could this mean for Toronto and Korpisalo to maintain his starter position? It is anyone’s guess right now, as this is just a screenshot of extensive practice viewed to the public, but a changeup could certainly be on the way.
It is also a new development that there will be an exhibition game, the Blue Jackets against the Boston Bruins will take place on July 30th, with scheduled puck drop at0 7 PM. Before this, the team will have a day off on Wednesday, July 22 before two more days of practice July 23 and 24th. The team will then journey to Canada on July 26th for Covid-19 testing and isolation before games start, “in the bubble” shortly thereafter, for the Blue Jackets that is July 30th as noted above.
The games against Toronto will be a best of five, and so far the first two have been scheduled with times, while the others remain with just dates.
August 2 8 PM
August 4 4 PM
August 6 TBD
August 7 TBD
August 9 TBD
In order to win advancement, the Blue Jackets must come out on top in 3 games, and as with any playoff, not all of these games may be played should a sweep happen. As of tonight, I feel we have a very good shot, not just from seeing our goaltenders back in action, but our scorers as well. In the mock game, against those they practice with daily, I find it impressive that 10 goals total were scored between the two teams. I can’t wait for the first game on August 2 as it is not just the return to hockey, but also my first game review as a writer for Skullking Sports! So, with that I say go Jackets, we will see you live in Toronto in t-minus 11 days and counting!