Blue Jackets vow harder practices after Saturday’s debacle vs. Hurricanes – [Update News]

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Blue Jackets view Saturday’s debacle vs. Carolina as a thorough butt-kicking, not an epic meltdown. That’s an important distinction, and it explains the approach to Monday’s practice.

Yes, the Blue Jackets were 4-0 ahead against the Hurricanes. And yes they blew that lead, the first time in the franchise’s history the Jackets have lost after taking a 4-0 lead — or a four-goal lead of any kind — in 21-plus seasons on the ice.

However, coach Brad Larsen considered that a secondary concern. The larger problem was Carolina’s inexplicable outperformance of the Blue Jackets right from the beginning, which made the final score (7-4) inevitable.

“We have to get better in our battles,” Larsen said. “That’s number one. I thought (goaltender) Daniil (Tarasov) played well, and I thought we did a good job of using (Carolina’s) aggression against them. We made a lot of the rush.

“But the glaring thing was our initial one-on-one battles, the extended play in our zone, not being able to close things out. It’s something we’re going to attack head-on here for the next several weeks until we get it right, until we get better at it.”

Monday was a tough day for the Blue Jackets.

Defenseman Zach Werenski tested positive for COVID-19, but the Blue Jackets were waiting for subsequent tests before he landed in the NHL’s protocols. Two negative tests would be required to confirm the positive. The club did not release the results until Monday night.