Crashing the Net: Dubi and the Smurfs, Wiz news and more
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Who’s in and who’s out ruled the roost as the Blue Jackets wrapped-up their morning skate in advance of Tuesday night’s tilt with the Buffalo Sabres.
Two days after defenseman James Wisniewski was a healthy scratch against the New York Rangers, he’s back in the lineup Tuesday night. Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards wouldn’t elaborate past saying his being scratched on Sunday was performance-based today after the morning skate.
"I haven’t had a conversation yet with him," said Richards when asked about what Wisniewski might be doing wrong.
A team official did confirm to FOX Sports Ohio that Wisniewski was asked for a list of 10 teams that he would NOT accept a trade to, per his contract. Being asked for that list is somewhat standard for players with this type of contract. That leaves 19 teams that might be in the running for a decent defenseman with a somewhat friendly contract by next Monday at 3 p.m.
"I don’t think you’re sitting a guy to send a message to the whole team," said Richards about the Sunday scratch of Wisniewski. "I think it might have that effect. But it wasn’t done because of that."
With reports surfacing that the Blue Jackets are shopping Wisniewski, expect him to play tonight’s game against the Sabres with an edge.
Dubinsky missing from practice
Center Brandon Dubinsky was absent from the morning skate. Todd Richards said he wasn’t feeling well and was sent home, although Richards does expect him to play Tuesday night.
"After my conversation with Dubi and my conversation with Mike Vogt (trainer)," said Richards, "is that he’s going to be fine." Richards did say that in the event that Dubinsky can’t go, he may dress seven defensemen.
Jack Skille was also absent from practice and Richards confirmed that he’s day-to-day.
New name for second line
If you missed the post-game show on Sunday, you missed Blue Jackets LIVE analyst Bill Davidge giving the second line of Matt Calvert, Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson a new name. During the post-game show after the Rangers game, Davidge referred to that line as the "Dubi and the Smurfs" line.
Matt Calvert laughed when asked about the new name for his line and expanded on the fact that this line has been kept intact for quite some time.
"I think the great thing about playing on that line," he said, "is when we’re going we can match up with any line in the league. For whatever reason, we rise to that challenge.
"It starts with Dubi and we take it as a challenge. We all can skate and we all battle hard. It’s usually a fun game when you get to play with the best players in the world."
Bobrovsky skating with team
Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was on the ice for morning skate with the team. Todd Richards has said that he expects Bobrovsky to get back into the lineup before the end of the month. The Blue Jackets have three games left in February against Buffalo (tonight), Montreal (Thirsday) and New Jersey (Saturday). Anton Forsberg will start tonight with Curtis McElhinney as his back-up.
"It gets more reps for Bob," Richards said of having Bobrovsky practice at one end of the rink with the team. "Because Curtis is backing-up (tonight), it gives him (McElhinney) one-on-one time with Ian Clark to get the work that he needs. He doesn’t need to face all the shots. It was just some one-on-one work and cleaning up his game a little."
Blue Jackets projected lines
Forwards: Hartnell / Johansen / Wennberg
Calvert / Dubinsky / Atkinson
Dano / Anisimov / Foligno
Tropp / Letestu / Boll
Defense: Johnson / Savard
Tyutin / Goloubef
Wisniewski / Connauton
Goal: Forsberg with McElhinney as backup
Scratches: Skille, Leopold