directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Chicago Blackhawks @ Columbus Blue Jackets 09/18/07 7:00 P.M. EST

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chicago Blackhawks @ Columbus Blue Jackets 09/18/07 7:00 P.M. EST

The Dispatch has posted the Jackets' roster for tonight's game. Here is my best guess as to what the lines will look like:

Nash - Peca - Murray
Glencross - Fedorov - Brule
Chimera - Brassard - Voracek
Goertzen - MacKenzie - Dorsette

Russell Tollefesen
Westcott Methot
Smith Sipotz


Unfortunately I haven't been able to find the 'hawks roster as of yet.

So plenty of key story lines to keep an eye on tonight.

We know from Portzline's blog that Nash will play with Peca and that Russell will play with Tollefsen. I assume Hitch will want to take a look at how Nash and Peca work together and I think Tollefsen helps open the ice for young Russell and if things get chippy he'll answer the bell. Again Russell has that puck moving skill set that this team desperately needs and I think will be in the mix for a spot right up until opening night. He is definitely a guy to keep an eye on tonight.

The Chimera-Brassard-Voracek line has impressed all camp long. This will be our first look at both Brassard and Voracek in actual game play on Nationwide ice. If you recall Brassard never made it to camp last year because of a shoulder injury he suffered in his junior team's camp. Voracek, from what I hear, has impressed with the men who need impressed thus far so it will certainly be interesting to see how this line progresses.

I think Hitch wants to get a good look at Brule, who is also off to a nice start at camp, along side of Fedorov which is why I have them paired on the same line. Five of the top six forwards look to be Nash, Vyborny, Zerdev, Fedorov and Modin so there is definitely an opportunity for a forward like Brule to claim that other spot. Brule had a rocky camp last year and quite frankly wasn't prepared and should have been sent back down to his junior team. Now this kid knows he's fighting for a job on the top 6 so lets see how he responds tonight.

Norrena in nets tonight. I would assume like Leclaire and Popperlee the game before -- Norrena will play the first two periods and Mason will finish up in the 3rd. Norrena came out of nowhere last year to become the first CBJ goaltender to finish with an above .500 record and he also finished with a respectable GAA of .278 and save % of .904. Last year was his first in the league so now that he's had some time to adapt to the league and his surrounding in North America lets see if he can improve upon those numbers.

Lets not forget about Mason either. This guy broke the all time win record in the OHL last season and some think he's the future of this franchise in net. He has certainly become a blue chip prospect for this team.

Hitch looks to have iced a pretty tough lineup tonight for the Jackets. Murray, Dorsette, Tollefsen and Goertzen are all no strangers to the rough stuff. That's not even including 6 foot 6 inch Sipotz who looks every bit of that and more on skates. This will be my first time seeing him play but I certainly won't be surprised if isn't afraid to mix it up himself. This guy is the definition of H-U-G-E!

Lots of "bubble" players to watch tonight. Brassard, Methot and Russell certainly could further their cases with strong games. Goertzen, Glencross & MacKenzie are looking to carve out a niche for themselves in this lineup in a 4th line roll.

From what I hear the 'hawks will also have some toughness in their lineup so it should be a fun one to watch tonight at Nationwide. I'll be at the game and will have a report after so feel free to stop back by.

Go Jackets!


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