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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nathan Horton close to Blue Jackets' debut

By on 12/31/2013 03:22:00 PM

The long-awaited debut of Columbus Blue Jackets' prize free agent Nathan Horton is reportedly imminent.

The 28-year-old winger, who won a Cup with the Boston Bruins and was expected to instill that winning attitude on a Columbus club that has been downtrodden, has been on the shelf since having surgery on his shoulder during the offseason and hasn't come close to donning the sweater - but he is accompanying the team on their week-long, four-game road trip beginning tonight in Colorado.

But according to speculation and gut-instinct on the part of club beat reporters, it is likely that Horton will not play until the team returns to Columbus:

"I don't know when it's going to happen," coach Todd Richards said last week, "But I'll tell you this: He's prepared. He watches our games, even though he's not playing. He has a pretty good idea of what we want to do. There's a level of professionalism there. You can tell he's been somewhere with a winning culture."

For his part, Horton would prefer to make his debut in Columbus to reward the home crowd for their patience, telling the Columbus Dispatch, "I want to play as soon as I can.  It'd be great to do it at home, but as soon as I'm ready, I'll be out there. I've been waiting so long to play. It'll be tough the first few games, but I want to get out there and contribute."

"Honestly, before this skate I didn't think I was going to play." Horton continued, regarding playing on the upcoming road trip. "Depending on how I feel tomorrow, and maybe after I do this for a couple more days, maybe closer to the end (of the trip) I can play."

Whenever he starts playing, it will be a boon for the floundering Blue Jackets' fading playoff hopes


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