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As Columbus searches for ‘identity,’ Dubinsky resumes practicing

Brandon Dubinsky, Taylor Beck

Columbus Blue Jackets’ Brandon Dubinsky, left, controls the puck as Nashville Predators’ Taylor Beck defends during the second period of a preseason NHL hockey game Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)


With a little holiday break, the Columbus Blue Jackets contemplated their tough start, telling the Columbus Dispatch that they’re still trying to “find our identity.”

Perhaps it’ll return when Brandon Dubinsky gets back into the mix?

The 28-year-old participated in his first team practice of 2014-15 on Thursday, with the team website describing him as a “mostly-full participant.” His return could possibly come in the next week, give or take.

“It was great to have him out on the ice,” Head coach Todd Richards said. “It’s a step in the right direction. (It) didn’t look like the speed or anything like that, like he was out of place – but you could tell that he hadn’t been out there in a while. The more reps you get, the more opportunities he gets to skate with us, the better.”

While Ryan Johansen is their most dangerous scorer and Sergei Bobrovsky is the workhorse goalie, Dubinsky may very well be the best example of the sort of versatile, tenacious hockey the Blue Jackets play on their best days.

After all, not many players are strong in the faceoff dot (52.9 percent last season), effective in possession stats despite challenging workloads, physical enough to rank second on their team in hits and able to pitch in 50 points to boot.

That’s not to say that Dubinsky is a cure-all for Columbus, but in a season that’s been marred by injuries, he’s been one of the most glaring omissions. The Blue Jackets must be delighted by the possibility of a looming return.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins