08:25 AM ET 02.21 | The countdown is on in Columbus. Between 8 and 12 Blue Jackets gathered [Monday] for an optional skate in Nationwide Arena. Even in an almost-empty rink there's an air of nervousness and anticipation. GM Scott Howson told The Dispatch [Monday] that no trade is imminent. "We're waiting for the right deals," Howson said. "We're getting closer. But we're not there yet." The Jackets have three games to play before the big day, beginning with Tuesday's game in Nationwide Arena against San Jose. The Sharks have won all three games (two by 2-1 scores, another a 6-0 blowout), and all three games have been chippy. ... The Blue Jackets expect to get defenseman Nikita Niktin back in the lineup, interim coach Todd Richards said.