User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Soccer
Golf
Auto
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Blue Jackets tune up while waiting

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The waiting has been the hardest part for Columbus Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards.

Advertisement
``It's the Christmas morning that I remember when I was a young kid, 10 or 12 years old,'' Richards said of the arrival of the NHL season. ``I'm excited.''

The NHL and the union agreed last weekend to the framework for a labor contract and worked to put the deal in writing. The players ratified the deal on Saturday, three days after owners unanimously approved the contract.

Once a memorandum of understanding is signed, training camps can open and the countdown to the season can really begin. The league hopes that camps start on Sunday and that a 48-game regular season will get going on Jan. 19.

``Business is business, but it's nice when business is over,'' new Blue Jackets president John Davidson said. ``Hockey players like to play hockey, and now that the business is done with - and it was trying, no question about that - now we can get back to doing what we do best.''

The Blue Jackets, coming off the worst record in the league last season, were greeted by a 100 or so fans Saturday who watched their unofficial workout. Richards and the rest of the coaches won't be on hand until the contract is finalized.

About a dozen players were on the ice, with others undergoing physicals and others still flying in from hockey outposts. Defenseman Nikita Nikitin was expected to arrive from his native Russia, where he was playing for Avangard Omsk of the KHL.

Fedor Tyutin, who also was playing in the KHL, said he was beaten down by his lengthy flight. He was on the ice going through his paces next to those who had just traveled across town.

This is a transitional year for the Blue Jackets since the huge trade this summer which sent the club's best player, left wing Rick Nash, to the New York Rangers in a deal that involved four players and two draft picks.

Richards took over for the fired Scott Arniel at midseason last year and led the way to an 18-21-2 mark. His interim title was removed during the offseason.

The 25-man roster he expects to open practice with on Sunday doesn't include a lot of household names. He said an emphasis on playing with more effort will override not having Nash, who had been the face of the franchise.

``We have guys who have been here for a long time, we've got new guys, we've got some young guys, we've got old guys,'' Richards said. ``There's plenty of faces for the franchise.''

Goalie Steve Mason, the rookie of the year in the Blue Jackets' only playoff season in 2008-09, has struggled the past three seasons. He is being pushed for the starting job by newcomer Sergei Bobrovsky, who played last season for the Philadelphia Flyers before being acquired for three draft picks.

Mason believes the Blue Jackets are improved.

``This is going to be a hard-working group. That's the way we're going to win games - we're going to outwork teams, we're going to grind them down and we're going to be really hard to play against,'' he said. ``Going into this season, teams might look at playing against the Blue Jackets as a free pass but we're going to make sure we change that perception pretty quickly.''

One of the players who came to Columbus in the Nash trade was forward Brandon Dubinsky. He worked out with the team in the summer, before the lockout started in mid-September, and got to know his teammates.

``Obviously, it's been a long wait,'' Dubinsky said. ``Especially for me, getting traded during the summer and being anxious to get the season under way with a new team and a fresh start.''

---

Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Red Wings agree to deal with DeKeyser
Ducks re-sign Smith-Pelly to deal
Habs to have four alternate captains
Ovechkin: Right knee 'doesn't bother me'
Blue Jackets sign top pick Milano
NHL rules changes crack down on diving
Wild sign RW Niederreiter to 3-year deal
HBO ices show leading to Winter Classic
DC's Nationals Park to host Winter Classic
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NHL Pro Hockey Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2013 NHL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 2196
Bruce Marshall + 1208
Joe Williams + 62
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last 7 Days  
   
   
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1956
Bill Marzano + 603
   
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 900
Tony Stoffo + 553
Bill Marzano + 341
Yesterday's Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Yesterday  
   
   
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 2026
Joe Williams + 1559
Bill Marzano + 989
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy NFL Perfect Lineup Contest