The Blue Jackets have 18 players back in training

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Eighteen of 19 Columbus Blue Jackets who missed practice Friday returned on Saturday.

The Blue Jackets said in a statement Friday that they “have kept a number of players out of today’s scheduled training out of caution and in accordance with NHL COVID-19 protocols.” It is not known how many of the 19 players were selected for this reason.
Forward Mikko Koivu was the only player not on the ice after missing practice on Friday. Goalie Elvis merzlikins, who was on the ice on Friday, did not practice on Saturday.

“Everyone’s doing the same thing,” said coach John Tortorella. “You know, I look at it this way: if we’re complaining about something here, regarding what’s going on in the world in real life, we have to shake our heads. So we have the chance to do the things we love. . And is it different? Yeah. Is it going to be more and more different every day? Probably. ”

According to the Blue Jackets website, of the 40 healthy players at the camp, 21 were on the ice on Friday, including 10 from their NHL squad: forwards Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cam Atkinson, Kevin Stenlund and Riley Nash; defenders Zach Werenski, Scott Harrington, Gabriel Carlsson and Facebook Facebook logo Sign up for Facebook to connect with Dean Kukan; and Merzlikins and goalkeeper Joonas Korpisalo.

“We’re going to have situations like this again,” Tortorella said. “I was driving early this morning, waiting [a phone call], and I was ready to go one way or another, small group or large group, scrum or no scrum, all these things that’s in your head. You say not to be prepared, I think what it is, you’re almost more prepared, because you’ve got all the audibles in your head and what you need to do, because that’s the way it is. This is the landscape. ”

Columbus is scheduled to open his season at the Nashville Predators on Jan. 14.

The Dallas Stars’ first two games of this season, at the Florida Panthers, were postponed Friday after six players and two staff members recently tested positive for COVID-19. These games, also the first of the season for the Panthers, were scheduled for January 14 and 15.

The Pittsburgh Penguins said they called off practices and a scrum scheduled for Saturday “out of caution due to potential exposure to COVID-19.”

NHL.com columnist Nicholas J. Cotsonika contributed to this report

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