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Everybody, in Jim Morrison’s voice: “This is the end. My only friend, the end.”

The Blue Jackets host the New York Islanders in the 2011-12 season finale in Nationwide Arena. A season that has been over since a 2-12-1 start — or was it done at 0-7-1? — now reaches its merciful end.

The burning question of whether or not Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash will play remains unanswered. Nash skated briefly this morning, said he felt “pretty good” and will take part in pre-game warm-ups before a determination is made.

“He is absolutely trying to play this last game,” Blue Jackets interim coach Todd Richards said.

Nash, who requested a trade earlier this season and is likely to be dealt this summer, left the rink without speaking to the media. He will talk after the game, the club has said.

It would be the first game Nash has missed all season.

Side dishes:

– G Steve Mason will start for the Blue Jackets, with Shawn Hunwick serving as his back-up. Saw Allen York on his way out of the rink, walking with a slight limp.

– Pretty cool scene in the Blue Jackets dressing room, as former NHL star Butch Goring — 1,107 games, 375 goals, 888 points with Los Angeles, Boston and the New York Islanders — sought out Jackets rookie winger Cam Atkinson. Goring is 5-10, 165 pounds. He admires guys like Atkinson, who not only survive but thrive in a league where almost every other player has a significant size advantage. “It wasn’t as big a deal when I played,” Goring said. “The average size then was 5-9, 5-10. The guys now are huge. I haven’t seen a lot of (Atkinson), but I saw his game the other night. He’s got some stuff.”

– Richards has reached the end of a 41-game interview. When he took over, the Blue Jackets were 11-25-5. They’ve gone 17-21-2 heading into tonight’s game under Richards. “I’m not going to comment on myself or what’s going to happen in the future,” Richards said. “My job is to get these guys focused on the game tonight. There will be plenty of time once this game is over with, and once we get done with the tasks of meeting with the players — the custodial things you have to do at the end of the season — I’ll probably have more time to tihnk about the final 41 games of the season.” Richards said he’s most proud of the consistency in the Blue Jackets’ game since he’s taken over. “We’re defending better, and it’s a credit to the players,” Richards said. “There hasn’t been a lot for them to play for, really, since the first month of the season. I’m real happy with the way we’re finishing the year.”

– RW Derek Dorsett has a six-minute lead on Philadelphia’s Zac Rinaldo for the NHL penalty minutes lead heading into the final game of the season. The Flyers play in Pittsburgh today, and given the recent flare-up between those clubs, it seems likely that Rinaldo is going to pick up a few PIMs today. Just a guess. Dorsett will know heading into tonight’s game how many PIMs he needs to claim the lead. Asked if he might go ‘gong show” to earn the belt, Dorsett just smiled. In other words, maybe. Dorsett has 12 goals and 223 penalty minutes this season, the only player over the last two seasons and only the fifth player since the lockout to have double-digit goals and 200-plus penalty minutes.

– The Blue Jackets are 8-1-4 all-time against the Islanders, including 5-0-2 in Nationwide Arena. The Islanders are the only franchise that’s never won a regulation game in Nationwide.

– Aaron Portzline

twitter: @aportzline

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