directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Central Notes

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Central Notes has some interesting notes regarding the CBJ and the week ahead that I thought I'd call out here:

Could career checker Michael Peca be the No. 1 center the Columbus Blue Jackets have been looking for? The biggest free-agent acquisition for the Jackets in the offseason ostensibly was signed away from Toronto for his leadership skills and to strengthen Columbus up the middle. On Oct. 17, Peca became the seventh center since training camp to step alongside Rick Nash on the team’s No. 1 line. Result: Nash responded with a goal and assist against Dallas, and new linemate Nikolai Zherdev added two assists -- even if the Blue Jackets lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Stars. Peca did have a 56-point season (27 goals, 29 assists) with Buffalo in 1998-99 and a 60-point season in his first year with the New York Islanders (25, 35) in 2001-02, so the stats could follow steering Nash and Zherdev in Peca’s direction. ... The bigger stories in Columbus are how hard Zherdev has worked to earn a spot on the No. 1 line with five points in his first four games before the two-assist effort against Dallas. That, plus the fall from the No. 1 line of David Vyborny -- one point in the team’s first five games after leading the team in scoring the last two seasons

The week ahead -- Columbus faces off against two division rivals this week, playing at Chicago on Oct. 23 and hosting St. Louis two nights later. Those teams were each 4-4 in their eight-game series last season. The Jackets are hoping that David Vyborny can get on track again against the Blackhawks and Blues -- he had two goals and eight assists against Chicago last season and one goal and 10 assists against St. Louis. Chicago’s Martin Havlat had four goals and eight assists against Columbus, but he’s out for another month after the Hawks learned their leading point man from a year ago would not need surgery on his injured shoulder. Against St. Louis, Fredrik Modin was Columbus’ leading sniper with five goals, while Stempniak led the Blues in scoring with one goal and six assists. This could be Fredrik Norrena’s game since the veteran netminder was 3-0-2 with a 1.95 goals-against average against the Blues last season.

This is a pretty big week for the Jackets with division matchups with Chicago and St. Louis. We did fare pretty well againts both teams last year but that was last year. Both teams have improved over the offseason and those improvements are actually showing up on the ice early on. The Jackets have also improved though so these should be a some good matchup and the Jackests are very capable of beating both of these teams.

Tell ya what, the Jackets are certainly missing Fredrik's Modin scoring touch around the net......right now Nash is the only guy willing to go to the "dirty" areas to score. This team can't get Modin back soon enough.


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