directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Buffalo Sabres 09/19/07 7:00 P.M. EST

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Friday, September 21, 2007

Columbus Blue Jackets @ Buffalo Sabres 09/19/07 7:00 P.M. EST

Here is the lineup tonight according to Aaron Potzline's blog:

Rick Nash - Sergei Fedorov - Gilbert Brule
Kirill Starkov - Jiri Novotny - Nikolai Zherdev
Jason Chimera - Derick Brassard - Jakub Voracek
Tom Sestito - Manny Malhotra - Jared Boll

Kris Russell - Rostislav Klesla
Duvie Westcott - O-K Tollefsen
Jan Hejda - Joel Bouchard

Steve Mason
Fredrik Norrena

Pretty exciting lineup tonight. Couple of things to watch for:

Although Portzline comments that the Z experiment at center isn't over yet and that its just on hold -- I"m not so sure. Tonight is obviously a chance to evaluate him at his natural position. So far Z has gone scoreless (actually shotless even) in two preseason outings. #13 needs to get it going.

This will be our first chance to watch a couple of CBJers. Defensemen Joel Bouchard will be making his debut and this will also be winger Krill Starkov's first game action. Center Jiri Novotny is also making his debut and has been given a high spot in the lineup. Also remember that Buffalo is the team that drafted Jiri so he'll have a little extra motivation tonight. First word out of camp is that he's looked good early.

I like the looks of that 4th line. Boll will most certainly keep his engine running at a high rate as he definitely knows he's right on the cusp of making this team. Sestito is a big boy who can do some banging and get those "dirty" goals in front of the net who has impressed the coachign staff up to this point. Manny will most likely fit in somewhere on that 4th line so Hitch is definitely gonna get a look to see how those guys look next to him as energy players.

The Chimera-Brassard-Voracek line has been the best in camp. Portzline notes that this line likely won't stay together much longer as young Voracek will be sent back to his junior team soon. Still, its been a lot of fun watching this line in camp. Brassard, who has 3 points in 2 preseaon games will continue his push to make the team. Chimera has been one of, if not the best Blue Jacket forward in camp -- he's got 2g, 2a and 2 fights in 2 preseason games. The guy is hitting his prime (and unfortunately unrestricted free agency next offseson) right now and should have a helluva year for us. He should be next in line after Vyborny for a new contract.

That brings us to the Nash-Fedorov-Brule line. Portzline notes in his blog that he asked Hitch if Boll makes the team if that means that Brule starts the year in the AHL -- Hitch's reply "not neccessarily". So far we've only seen Brule play wing this preseason so that's obviously where it looks like the organization will want him to play this year should he stick. I think he's had a very good preseason thus far although not much yet to show for it on the score sheet.

Fedorov has been a dog. He looks out of shape and uninterested. Some say this is how he usually is in camp saving himself for the regular season. I just hope this uninspired play does not translate to the regular season as this team can't afford to lets guys like #91 get in game shape during the first 10 games.

Nash, on the other hand, looks to be in great shape and 100% healthy. He's only found the back of the net once so far in preseason but he has been dominant on the boards. He just needs to get some of his opportunities to drop for him.

As far as the defense. I'm excited as hell to see how Russell continues to play. If its anything like Tuesday's game its gonna be real hard to keep this kid off this team. Portzline hints that both Rusty Klesla and Jan Hejda haven't really performed well up to this point so look for them to kick it up a notch. Its intersesting that unlike the first two games that saw both Klesla and Hejda play together they will be broken up as a pair tonight. I loved Duvie's last game, especially with he and Russell running the point on the PP -- look for that to continue. Of course last but not least we have OK Tollefsen -- who has been his usual physical paint in the butt to play against self.

All in all this is a fun lineup iced tonight. Boll, Brassard, Bouchard and Russell are the big bubble players to keep an eye on.

The game can be heard on and

The game is not televised but some people have had luck using to watch the preseason games online. I personally haven't had any success getting a stream that is watchable but will try again tonight.

This will be the Sabres first preseason game of the season and apparently their new jumbotron has yet to be installed. I'll post the Sabres lineup once I find it.

Edit: Found it!





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