directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: This and that

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

This and that

CBS Sports has their season preview of all 30 teams up. Here are some highlights of the Jackets:

Did the offseason overhaul finally make them a playoff team? That's still open to debate, although there is little doubt second-year GM Scott Howson has given coach Ken Hitchcock a lot more to work with. For one thing, the Jackets should improve on their 29th-place ranking in offense after adding forwards Kristian Huselius, R.J. Umberger and Rafi Torres. And the Columbus defense, which was eighth overall last season, looks better on paper with newcomers Fedor Tyutin, Mike Commodore and Christian Backman.

None of their experts predict Columbus to finish higher than 3rd in the Central Division.

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Fox Sports has their first power rankings out. The Jackets check in at #23:

The additions of Kristian Huselius, R.J. Umberger and Raffi Torres up front and Mike Commodore, Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman to the backline should not only be enough to move the Blue Jackets up the power rankings, it may also be enough to land the club in the postseason for the first time in franchise history.

Bob McKenzie weighs in on the Filatov situation (thanks to anonymous for pointing this one out!):

In fact, even if Filatov were currently eligible to go to Sudbury, the Blue Jackets wouldn't make that commitment at this time. They want him in Syracuse for now.

By assigning him to the AHL, the Blue Jackets could recall him at any time they see fit, in a day, a week, a month, whenever… Based on how he finished training camp, this kid would appear to be close to being able to play for the Jackets. An assignment in Syracuse offers greater flexibility and a higher level of play than junior. Assignment to the Wolves, however, would mean he has to finish out the season in the OHL and could not be recalled to the NHL except under emergency conditions.

Kevin Allen of has a good read about the top 5 picks in this past year's draft class making the opening night rosters of their respective teams:

As expected, No. 1 pick Steve Stamkos will play for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but surprisingly all of the defensemen picked No. 2 through 5 made their teams. It's more rare for an 18-year-old defenseman to make a roster than a forward because defense is considered more difficult to master at a young age.

But the Los Angeles Kings kept Drew Doughty (No. 2), the Atlanta Thrashers will use Zach Bogosian (No. 3), the St. Louis Blues will play Alex Pietrangelo (No. 4) and the Toronto Maple Leafs will keep Luke Schenn (No. 5). According to the NHL, eight 18-year-olds were on opening-day rosters in 2003-04. The record was 10 in 1983-84.

He also says that Phoenix is keeping Boedker and Tikhonov and Josh Bailey made the Islanders. Finally he notes that the decision on Filatov will be made today.

The most ever 18 year olds to debut in one season was back in 1983-84 when 10 made their debuts.

The Jackets first opponent this season, the Dallas Stars, believe they can win it all:

So as the Stars prepare for Friday night’s season opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he talked about a potential Cup run, how far the Stars have come, and his ever-increasing love of hockey.

"In the last month we’ve been hearing from [co-general managers] Les [Jackson] and Brett [Hull], and Brett kind of clearly says the players think they’re going to win it all this year. They have a lot of confidence, and that’s a great starting point. You go back 10 years, I think we had that feeling we were going to win it all that year. We’re not as experienced a team as that one was, so you have a lot of unknowns that creep into it. But we have an opportunity to be special."

It sure would be nice if the Jackets could roll into Dallas and grab two points from them right off the bat. Its certainly not going to be easy but the Jackets are an unknown right now and they could sneak up on some squads.

Great coverage (again) today in the 'patch. Arace has a piece on the Hitchionary (very clever!) that was a fun read.

Remeber the coaches show is on again today on @ 3 EST.

Also in the paper today Howson is quoted as saying that he is not involved in any trade discussions and will not claim anyone on waivers.

No suprise there. The focus now is on the current group of guys and building team chemistry. If the team struggles out of the gate then Howson may then look to shake things up but I think for now they are very comfortable with the team they have and think (as do I) that this will be a competitive squad this season.

Just kind of a final thought on this post. Reading all these previews and rankings the prevailing feeling I get is that most of the "experts" are taking a wait and see approach with the Jackets (which is probably the same approach many fans in town are taking). They see improvements but aren't willing to put themselves out there quite yet and take a chance on em. They'll need to get it done on the ice first -- fair enough.


1 comment:

Wally said...

I'll take the wait-and-see over the expect-them-to-tank opinions they've had since free agency began... They're coming around, let's hope we don't disappoint.