Originally written on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 10/27/14
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A dozen or so Columbus Blue Jackets players went through a light workout on Monday, their first unofficial meeting since the NHL and the players' union reached a tentative agreement a day earlier after a lengthy lockout. All said they were pleased just to get back to work. "It's just great to see all the boys back in Columbus here and skating together," defenseman James Wisniewski said of the skatearound at the public rink adjoining Nationwide Arena, where the Blue Jackets play their games. Somebody had to pay the rental fee to reserve the ice time, although no one was quite sure who did it. Forward R.J. Umberger, who spent his idle time as a volunteer coach with his former college team at Ohio State, helped organize things. Goalie Steve Mason, Wisniewski and forwards Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, Derek MacKenzie, Jared Boll and Tomas Kubalik worked up a sweat along with team newcomers Nick Foligno, a left wing, and Adrian Aucoin, a defenseman. Another former Ohio State player, Toronto Maple Leafs center Dave Steckel, also joined in. It's an odd time for the players. They recognize that there is a lot of anger from fans who are upset over the lengthy delay to the start of the season. On top of that, there are businesses -- local parking lots, restaurants, bars and hotels -- who suffered as a result of the lockout. "It's obviously going to be a little bit of a process to get everyone back in and to get the whole community back on our side," said Boll, who has served as an enforcer in his five years with the Blue Jackets. "But it'll happen. Once the players get back in here people are going to start getting the itch to be back here watching hockey again. It'll work out. And I'm looking forward to it." The Blue Jackets group was expected to meet every day this week, with a few players added along the way. Since the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL owners and players union has yet to be vetted and approved by both sides, no official workouts can take place. So that means no coaches, no use of training facilities and no current minor-league players. If things work out, practices could begin later this week with the first games a week or 10 days after that. But right now, as a member of the Blue Jackets front office put it, "We're all in limbo." Several Columbus players are still overseas, including defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Artem Anisimov, goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and center Artem Anisimov who all play in Russia's Continental Hockey League. Vinny Prospal is in his native Czech Republic playing for another team. Several other younger players are biding their time with the Blue Jackets' top minor-league affiliate, the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. When the CBA is finally signed and full-bore practices begin, Columbus is expected to have around 25 players in camp, give or take a few. That probably includes young forwards Cam Atkinson, Ryan Johansen, Matt Calvert and defensemen Tim Erixon, David Savard, John Moore and Nick Holden, who have all played at Springfield during the lockout. Brandon Dubinsky, acquired along with Anisimov and Erixon in the blockbuster deal last summer that sent Blue Jackets' career scoring leader Rick Nash to the New York Rangers, had yet to arrive in Columbus after playing for the Alaska Aces of the ECHL. No one yet knows when practices will officially start, or when the games will begin. The length of the season, when it ends and how many rounds of playoff games also have yet to be decided. It is assumed that the teams will play 48 games in a shortened season and then continue through the typical four rounds of playoffs, although nothing is set in stone. Still, the mood of those on the ice was upbeat. Wisniewski, who watched the Blue Jackets stumble to an NHL-worst record of 29-46-7 in his first season, believes the key to the shortened season is a fast start. "You almost have to outsmart teams at the beginning -- know your systems, don't have mental breakdowns where you give up 2-on-1s and give up those easy goals," he said. "We have some new guys to get the systems down. And we have young legs. We have to be one of the younger teams in the league. We only have four or five 30-year-olds on our team. Everybody's in their 20s and eager to start." Foligno was picked up in a trade this summer for defenseman Marc Methot and then signed a free-agent contract with Columbus. He's expected to be one of the key people to provide scoring in place of the departed Nash. "I'm so happy to be here, and so excited for the season to start," he said. "I'm really looking forward to a good season here. He's not alone.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Texas A&M Aggies bench Kenny Hill for freshman Kyle Allen

Josh Smith's reaction to Faried's criticism: 'He's a clown'

Magic, Mia Hamm among owners of new MLS franchise

Michael Vick broke teammate’s finger with bullet pass

Wes Welker: 'I feel like the weak link' in Broncos' loaded offense

Greg Hardy will not play this season after trial postponement

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Chip Kelly on not weighing in on injuries: ‘I’m not Dr. Miyagi’

Saints vs Panthers: preview and prediction

Kevin Youkilis retires after 10 seasons in MLB

Ricky Williams says he retired due to poor quarterback play

Judge rejects request to move Aaron Hernandez murder trial

Jason Garrett optimistic that Tony Romo can play Sunday

WATCH: Russell Westbrook gets into it with heckling fan

PHOTO: The best sports-themed Halloween costume this year

WATCH: Jameis Winston forces fumble after throwing INT

Bruce Pearl dressed up as fellow Auburn coach Gus Mazhahn

WATCH: Jimmy Graham head-butts bench

Seahawks host football team from H.S. shocked by shooting

WATCH: Cavs intro in LeBron James’ first game back was wild

Did latest World Series win establish Giants as a dynasty?

Cavaliers give fans instructions on how to do 'Chalk Toss'

Explaining the Penguins loyalty to Marc-Andre Fleury

WATCH: Man obliterates house after Cowboys MNF loss

WATCH: Entire history of Nike in just under three minutes

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Welker feels like 'weak link' in offense

Cavs intro for LeBron was wild

Greg Hardy won't play this season

Michael Jordan rips Obama's golf game

Torii Hunter in radio ad opposing gay marriage

Curt Schilling praises Bumgarner

GALLERY: Best of sports pumpkins

Top storyline for each Week 9 game

Williams' response to criticism

WATCH: Chevy guy totally bombs

Bumgarner pitches Giants to title

Report: Cubs to hire Maddon as manager

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.