directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Carolina Hurricanes @ Columbus Blue Jackets 09/27/07 7:00 P.M. EST

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Carolina Hurricanes @ Columbus Blue Jackets 09/27/07 7:00 P.M. EST

Here is the lineup tonight for the Blue Jackets (will post Carolina's later once obtained):

Rick Nash - Kris Beech - David Vyborny
Jason Chimera - Derick Brassard - Gilbert Brule
Dan Fritsche - Jiri Novotny - Jakub Voracek
Tom Sestito - Manny Malhotra -Jared Boll

Kris Russell - Rostislav Klesla
O-K Tollefsen - Duvie Westcott
Jan Hejda - Ron Hainsey

Steve Mason
Tomas Popperle

Some key story lines to watch:

Spots are really on the line starting tonight and playing out over the next 3 preseason games in 4 nights. Its now or never time for the bubble guys like Beech/Russell/Boll/Brassard/Brule/Sestito/Voracek to show they belong in this lineup on opening night October 5th.

The Jackets are starting 12 regulars tonight and this game will give us a really good look at how this team is gonna stack up this season. Carolina will also be icing a lineup made predominately up of NHL regulars and is out to prove something after missing the playoffs last year -- which was just 1 year removed from winning the cup.

Tonight is Kris Beech's night to make an impact. The 1st round pick from the 1999 draft gets his chance to center the top line of Rick Nash and David Vyborny and earn a spot in this lineup. He's had a decent camp up to this point but will need to create plays and play a solid two-way physical game to make a lasting impression. He is the man to watch this evening.

Derick Brassard also gets another opportunity, only this time he will be looking to make an impression against a group of established NHLers. Tonight could also go a long way towards earning a spot on this team if he continues to light it up. He is our best skilled center at this point, the question is can he perform against grown men and keep up that high level of play he displayed thus far in camp?

Kris Russell is as much of a lock to make this team as any rookie still at camp. Still though, he gets another opportunity to show his skill set tonight against men as well. Hitch has said on the record that Russell has arguably been our best defensemen through camp thus far. Its been a treat to watch this kid perform.

Gilbert Brule would be next in my line of locks. Brule, the 5th overall pick from the 2005 draft, had a rough start to camp last year and quite frankly wasn't ready. This year has been a different story, Brule came to camp in great shape and has played well throughout -- to the point where Hitch has said "he looks like an NHL player out there". We'll see him opening night and he is gonna open some eyes this season.

Boll and Sestito are young energy guys making their pro debuts this season who can drop the mits if needed. Both have had very good camps are looking to carve out roles for themselves at the bottom of the lineup. Boll has been in the middle of everything in every games he's played - he's a character guy who has very good chance at making the squad. Sestio will most likely start the year in the AHL but could see time up at the big team as the year progresses.

Voracek, the first round pick from this season, has certainly served himself well in camp. This kid is gonna be a good player for us. This will likely be his last game this season before he's sent back to junior but look for this kid to make a big push for this team next year.

On defense we'll see pretty much the lineup we'll ice opening night outside of Adam Foote who is still nursing an injury. There are some slightly different pairs with Russell seeing time with Klesla while Duvie and OK holding down the 2nd pairing. Hejda and Hainsey, who quite frankly is being pushed hard by Russell, round out the pairing and I think both can use solid games to solidfy spots.

Steve Mason will get his 2nd nod in goal this preseason. He's shown quite well in camp and will look to continue his excellent play. He'll likely be sent back down to juniors after this game but has certainly shown management and coaching his ability to be the goaltender of the future here.
Adam Foote, Michael Peca, Fredrik Modin are all nursing injuries. Peca hopes to play in the final two preseason games.

Also interesting to note that Nikolai Zherdev is not in the lineup tonight. Just pointing that out :)

Hope to see a good crowd at the game tonight. I'll have a full report tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Go Jackets!


No comments: