Blue Jackets notebook: Jason Day trades golf spikes for skates — and scores
Jason Day, center, talks with Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson, left, and defenseman James Wisniewski during the Presidents Cup. Day and Wisniewski play golf together.
Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin returned to practice yesterday after missing the previous four because of a lower-body injury, giving Todd Richards a full complement of 23 players to work with for the first time this regular season.
But it was a 24th skater who drew the most smiles yesterday in the Ice Haus.
PGA Tour pro Jason Day — outfitted in full pads and helmet — joined the Jackets for a post-practice shoot-around.
Day, a good friend of Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski, said it was his first time on ice skates. But the world’s 16th-ranked golfer acquitted himself well. He was no wall-hugger.
“I felt like I was OK on my feet,” said Day, who was accompanied by Wisniewski during his convincing 6-and-4 win over Brandt Snedeker during Sunday’s singles play in the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village Golf Club, where both he and Wisniewski are members.
“But I was getting the death wobble out there a little bit,” Day said yesterday. “The death wobble is not good when you’re flying into the wall. It’s amazing how good these blokes are. It’s unbelievable.”
Day, a native of Australia who married an Ohio native and lives in Westerville, said he has played about 30 rounds of golf with Wisniewski in recent years.
Wisniewski is a former club champion at Muirfield Village. He won a charity auction for the right to accompany Day on Sunday and got clearance to bring his buddy onto the ice yesterday.
Day was so impressive — he slipped at least one shot past goalie Curtis McElhinney — that Wisniewski joked that his friend had secretly been renting ice time and skating on his own.
“Somebody gave him a stick and he’s been shooting tennis balls in his basement,” Wisniewski said. “He tries to hit the doorknob in his basement. That’s why he was excited to go out there and shoot some pucks.”
Wisniewski threw a hip check into his friend a couple of times. One left Day crumpled along the end boards.
“If you ever do this, make sure you wear all the pads,” Day said.
Let it go
The Blue Jackets had an average of six penalty minutes in their first two games (fourth-lowest in the NHL) and did not have a major penalty.
It has been a credit to their positional discipline, Wisniewski said, but also a bit of a surprise. A flurry of whistles in other games last week had the Jackets expecting to spend more time in the box.
“All you can hope for is consistency,” center Brandon Dubinsky said. “Hopefully, they’re not calling the third period one way and the first period another.”
The officiating crew called only four minor penalties during the Jackets’ 3-2 shootout win over the Islanders on Saturday.
“They let us play,” Dubinsky said. “We even talked about it (during intermission). We said to make sure we’re harder on (the Islanders) because they’ve got their whistles in their pockets.”
Boll on brink
Coach Todd Richards said right wing Jared Boll (lower body) is likely to make his season debut at Buffalo on Thursday.
“I think Jared is ready to go,” Richards said.
Tyutin was a full participant in practice but is more likely to play his first game on Saturday against visiting Boston, Richards said.