The Blue Jackets have had seven healthy defensemen for more than a week now, a luxury that delights coach Todd Richards. It prompted him to quote legendary basketball coach John Wooden yesterday.

“It’s one of my favorite Wooden quotes: ‘A coach’s greatest motivating tool is his bench,’ ” Richards said. “It’s a nice problem for us to have. If you have an extra player, it’s a motivating factor. It keeps everybody honest.”

Tim Erixon was a healthy scratch last night against the Vancouver Canucks, becoming the third defensemen in three games to watch from the press box. It wasn’t a knock on Erixon’s game. The 22-year-old rookie has played well, posting a plus-4 rating that’s tops among defensemen and tied with right winger Cam Atkinson for best on the team.

But Richards wasn’t displeased with John Moore when he scratched him two games ago against Calgary, either. Rather, the coach is playing them off each other, and Moore was good on Saturday in Nashville, Richards said, so he stayed in the lineup.

“Johnny’s best assets are his legs, and when he’s using his legs he’s a very effective player,” Richards said. “It opens up passing lanes for him. He can use it to get right past the first forecheck. That’s what he did; that’s what you like to see.”

Moore paired last night with veteran Adrian Aucoin. The group could get more crowded in the next few days when James Wisniewski returns from a broken foot.