Blue Jackets notebook: Age doesn’t deter old-timers
The Blue Jackets’ Adrian Aucoin and Vinny Prospal made their NHL debuts in the mid-1990s, right about the time longtime NHLers Jan Erixon and Mike Foligno were settling into retirement.
If a hectic, six-day training camp doesn’t make Aucoin and Prospal feel old, the fact that Erixon’s son, Tim, and Foligno’s son, Nick, are now sharing a dressing room with them in Columbus might put it in perspective.
“On one side I feel great because I’m still here,” said Prospal, who turns 38 next month and is in his 16th NHL season. “On the other side, I feel a little bit sad because of how fast it actually went.
“But just try to find somebody who has more fun celebrating goals than me. Just find him! It has nothing to do with age.”
Aucoin, who will turn 40 this summer and is in his 18th season, was one of the last NHL players to use a wooden stick. He stopped two years ago, but only because his equipment provider no longer offered them.
“It’s all cyclical, right?” Aucoin said. “The other day, (Blue Jackets president of hockey operations) John Davidson came down and said, ‘Oh, you were born in 1973? That was my draft year!’
“Now it’s on me. I’m pretty sure some of these kids were born after my draft year.”
That’s true. Jackets centers Boone Jenner (1993) and Ryan Johansen (1992) were born after Aucoin was drafted by Vancouver in the fifth round in 1992. Also, 18 of the 25 players in camp are 26 or younger.
“I love having guys like that around,” Nick Foligno said. “When I broke into the league (with Ottawa in 2007-08), I was teammates with Luke Richardson, who played with my dad.
“They have so many great stories, and they’ve lasted this long for a reason. They know what it takes. I discreetly try to hang around them, try to be a sponge.”
Aucoin said none of his young teammates has called him sir or mister just yet.
“But I haven’t been made yet,” he joked. “I haven’t scolded them like my children yet.”
Don’t hold back
Asked for a progress report on Jenner, coach Todd Richards said he wants to see less politeness and more “pow.”
Jenner, a second-round pick in 2011, is a physical force, but he hasn’t shown that during camp — too much respect for his teammates, coach Todd Richards said.
“We’re missing the exhibition games where you can go out and really play the game the way that you’ve learned it, and the way he’s always played it,” Richards said. “The only way we’re going to get better out there is to have some intensity.
“If I’m going into a corner and I’m turning away from you because I have respect for you and I’m not going to hit you, I’m not making myself better. I’m developing bad habits. And I’m not getting you ready for the game either, because come Saturday it’s going to be quick, and it’s going to be physical and it’s going to be intense.”
That said, Richards said there has been “no clarity” in the roster decisions that need to be made by Friday afternoon.
Jenner, Johansen and Matt Calvert are fighting for the final spots at forward, and Tim Erixon and David Savard are trying to win the No. 7 job on defense.
The Blue Jackets won’t name a captain anytime soon. The alternate captains will be revealed on Saturday, Richards said. … Yesterday’s 20-minute intrasquad scrimmage ended 0-0. “We were trying to execute what we’ve been talking about the last few days,” Richards said. “There’s still a lot of work ahead of us. That’s probably why I’m not sleeping well, because I know we have lots to work on and only (three) days left (before Saturday’s opener).” … Richards, citing fatigue among players, has scheduled only a half-day of practice today. It is open to the public.