directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Columbus Blue Jackets @ 09/29/07 8:00 P.M. EST

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Columbus Blue Jackets @ 09/29/07 8:00 P.M. EST

Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch has listed the starting lineup for tonight's game against the Nashville Predators:

The other two lines are:

Rick Nash - Manny Malhotra - David Vyborny
Jiri Novotny - Sergei Fedorov - Nikolai Zherdev
Kris Beech-Derick Brassard-Gilbert Brule
Jason Chimera-Dan Fritsche-Jason Boll

Kris Russell-Rostislav Klesla
Jan Hejda-Duvie Westcott
Marc Methot-Sheldon Brookbank

Fredrik Norrena
Steve Mason

This is certainly an interesting lineup overall. Again a mixed bag of veterans and youngsters still looking to make a statement. That is most due to the veterans who are still out injured in Peca, Modin and Footes.

Speaking of the injured, Portzline comments that Peca is expected back this Monday for skating while Foote and Modin are still out indefinitely. At this point I'm wondering if any of these three are going to be ready for the season opener this Friday.

The big news of this lineup is that Manny Malhotra is next in line to get a look at that #1 center position. This is kind of out of left field but its clear Hitch is trying just about anything at this point.

Fedorov and Zherdev are kept together tonight as by all accounts both played their best games of the preseason last night. It will be interesting to see if Z plays close to the 26 minutes he was given last night. He is also still looking for his first point of the season.

Fedrik Norrena is expected to make the start tonight which is a good sign as he's been battling an injury throughout camp. He'll need a big performance to out duel Leclaire for that starting goaltender position on opening night. Still though I see those two platooning as starters for the first quarter of the season.

Although I would have liked to have seen Brassard in that 1st line center position at some point in camp it definitely appears that Hitchcock is not prepared to put that kind of pressure on the 19 year old and more and more it looks like he's destined to start the year in Syracuse. Its really hard to argue with the "play it safe approach" considering our history with rushing the young guys. I'm convinced we'll see plenty of Brassard throughout the year however.

Jared Boll is in the lineup again tonight and continues to make a strong case to make this team. To be honest its gonna be hard to keep this kid off it. He's brought some much needed energy and toughness to this lineup that his impact can't be ignored.

On defense Kris Russell will continue to see his role increase. Look for him to QB the #1 PP unit and pull a lot of 5 on 5 minutes. This is the 2nd game he'll be paired with Klesla. I look for Duvie Westcott to have a much stronger game tonight and work with Russell on the point of that PP. Sheldon Brookbank and Marc Methot have had pretty good camps and are really battling each other in terms of first call up when the inevitable injuries strike our defensive core.

All in all its kind of a bummer that we are still throwing lineups together at this point in preseason. Unfortunately combined with the preseason schedule that the previous regime set up (which will be much different next year) and the injuries in the lineup it is what it is.

This lineup doesn't quite bring the "ooomph" that last night's did on paper with guys like Tollefsen, Sestito and Glencross out of the lineup, but lets hope the guys that are back in the lineup tonight play with the same kind of intensity and energy.

Game starts at 8 EST tonight - radio only.

Edit: Here is Nashville's lineup:

Martin Erat - David Legwand - Jed Ortmeyer
Vernon Fiddler - Jason Arnott - J.P. Dumont
Jerred Smithson - Radek Bonk - Alexander Radulov
Darcy Hordichuk - Scott Nichol - Jordan Tootoo

Dan Hamhuis - Shea Weber
Ryan Suter - Marek Zidlicky
Greg Zanon - Greg de DeVries

Chris Mason
Dan Ellis

Looks like they are dressing their full roster tonight.

Thanks for the bogus pre-season schedule MacLean - I can gurantee you next year's pre-season schedule will have a little more thought behind it and it certainly won't include 3 games in 4 nights for the final games.


1 comment:

Matt said...

Oh. My. Goodness.

I think we're finally seeing the team click into place, just in time.

Foote, Peca, and Modin need to get healthy and ready to play soon, or they might just find themselves out of a job with the way the kids are playing.

(OK, partially kidding - I don't think we'd let Peca or Freddy go, but Foote...well, let's just say that if we don't see his A game when the season starts...)