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Hockey is Back! Blue Jackets host Buffalo to open preseason tonight! Prospects will get a good look in all games

The Blue Jackets are back and are ready to knock down that door that has kept them from advancing past the first round of the playoffs.

Several players answered that yearly question at the September 12 Media Day and are eager to prove they are worthy of making the playoffs again and getting a chance to advance.

The team just started training camp last Friday and are already playing exhibition games.

The games will be played very quickly with five between now and next Sunday: Buffalo tonight, Chicago Tuesday at home; Friday and Saturday on the road at St. Louis and Pittsburgh and Sunday back home against The Blues.

For the fans, do not expect all the usual star players to be on the roster every game. For example, in Monday’s game, there will only be 8 NHL players on the roster with Pierre-Luc Dubois, Brandon Dubinsky, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Sonny Milano, Markus Hannikainen, David Savard, Markus Nutivaara and Scott Harrington highlighting the veteran players. Your goalies will be Matiss Kivlenieks and Brad Thiessen.

The object during preseason is not necessary winning games but to evaluate the young prospects and to develop team chemistry. Thus, head coach John Tortorella will be watching the games from upstairs and will let the assistants handle the bench. ”I like watching, because I don’t know the prospects, and I want to give the assistants some time on the bench, too, to converse with the players in a different way, to feel that type of what that job is,” he said.

CBJ head coach John Tortorella says he will be watching in most exhibition games to evaluate the younger talent (photo by Stuart Mason)

The Buffalo Sabres will bring a few of their younger players to Columbus. Forward Tage Thompson, whom the Sabres acquired in an early July trade with St. Louis where they gave up center Ryan O’Reilly. The Sabres are also traveling with defenseman Taylor Fedun, forward prospect Alexander Nylander and veteran forward Patrik Berglund.