Players on the Columbus Blue Jackets will soon have a little extra rest, thanks to a new measure put in place by head coach John Tortorella.
On an experimental basis, the fiery bench boss has dropped the long-standing tradition of the morning skate. Tortorella believes it will keep his players mentally and physically ready.
"When I can, I want to start trying to keep the team away from the morning. We bring them in here one time a day during practice days, but on game days we bring them in twice," Tortorella said. "It doesn't make any sense. With our schedule coming up the way it is, we are trying to get our guys out of the building as much as we can."
The Blue Jackets have seven games in the next 12 days, beginning Tuesday versus the Washington Capitals. Columbus has posted a 7-4-2 record through 13 games and sits just three points shy of a playoff spot.
"These guys are creatures of habit and routine, but that routine in our league I think is wrong, as far as these pre-game skates and all of the over-coaching that goes on," Tortorella added. "They can come in and just play the game."
Tortorella said he's tried this method during a previous coaching stint.
"But then the players end up getting their back up because of that routine that was brought in, who knows when in this game," Tortorella said. "This part of the schedule lends itself to us to do this because we have some practice days before games. I just want (the players) as fresh as possible.
"When we get (the schedule) in July, I look for days off, not to see how many days we can practice. I do not want to practice two days in a row at all this year. We practice too much, we coach too much. If we don't have them here, then we don't have to coach them."