Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Puck Drops Here 10.9.14: Columbus Blue Jackets Preview #CBJ

By @CLulovics

Training camp has wrapped up and the NHL preseason for the Columbus Blue Jackets has come to a close.  The Jackets finished the 2014 preseason with a record of 7-1, their only loss coming against the Pittsburgh Penguins and scoring 28 goals while giving up 17.  The preseason success has the fan base even more excited for the upcoming season which opens up Thursday October 9 in Buffalo against the Sabres.  Game time is 7 pm and can be seen on FSO (check local cable listings).  Then two days later the home opener is Saturday October 11 at 7 pm against the New York Rangers also at 7pm.  If you are heading down for the opener there will be a fanfest outside the arena starting at 3pm. Festivities include music, food, drinks and this year fans can welcome players coming to the arena with a red carpet.  Single game tickets are currently on sale.

The Blue Jackets signed center Ryan Johansen to a 3 year deal worth $12 million. He will receive $3 million the first 2 years of the deal and $6 million in the third year. Johansen will still be a restricted free agent when the deal ends with the Jackets still holding his rights. Johansen was the Jackets leading point leader with 63 points (33 goals and 30 assists) while playing in all 82 regular season games.

Boone Jenner who is young and a huge part of the Jackets future will start the season injured as he currently has a broken wrist and after surgery is expected to be out of action for approximately 5 weeks.  Last year Jenner had 16 goals and 13 assists for 29 points while playing in 72 games.

Brandon Dubinsky and Nick Foligno (16g 34a 50pts and 18g 21a 39pts respectively) look to continue to lead the young Jackets with their veteran leadership.  Dubinsky last year in the playoffs shut down Sidney Crosby who is one of the NHL'S top players. The Blue Jackets will be without Dubinsky for 6 weeks however after he had abdominal surgery on Wednesday. Foligno last year scored the Blue Jackets overtime winning goal in game 4 giving the Jackets their first ever home playoff win.

Artem Anisimov, Cam Atkinson, Matt Calvert, Mark Letestu, and newly acquired Scott Hartnell will all contribute on the top 3 lines looking to create goals along with hard checks.  On the defensive side, (blue line for new hockey fans), Jack Johnson, James Wisniewski, Dalton Prout, David Savard, Ryan Murray, and Fedor Tyutin will hold down the fort in front of goalie Sergei Bobrovsky who is coming back from 2 great seasons.

With Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky out for the first month of the season at least, that will give rookies Marko Dano, Michael Chaput, and Alexander Wennberg an early chance to prove themselves.  It will also give Blue Jacket fans a glimpse at the young rookies and a chance to see the future of the team as all three bring something different to the team and are all capable of scoring and creating chances.

The Jackets, while young, are expected to not only contend for the playoffs, but make it deeper into them.  As with any sport, the main goal is to not only make the playoffs but win the championship. So it is Stanley Cup or bust.  That's the mentality they have to go with and have each others backs, fight for each other, and play team hockey.  If all of those are met, then goals and wins will happen and the Stanley Cup will be coming to Columbus next spring.  As always JOIN THE BATTLE.

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