We have been through it all as Blue Jackets fans in the last 250 days or so. A lockout. The anticipation of a new front office and high potential in the strike-shortened season. Then an unbelievable race to the playoffs that ended in agony as our hometown heroes tied for the 8th and final playoff spot, only to be edged out by Minnesota by virtue of a tiebreaker.
Just to toy with our emotions a little more, the NHL went ahead and scheduled the Blue Jackets opener on Friday instead of earlier in the week. We had to watch much of the rest of the NHL open their seasons earlier in the week. Heck, Toronto and Washington had played twice before the Jackets had played once, and Calgary had already lost to Washington on Thursday night in their season opener before coming to Columbus.
Friday night, however, it was finally time to drop the puck in Columbus. Here is your Blue Jackets notebook from the first week of play.
Recapping the Action
- Opening night didn’t produce the outcome we hoped for, but there was one thing that was nice – a power play goal. Through 2 games, the Jackets are 2 for 5 on the power play, good enough for second in the league. As I mentioned in the week 1 rundown of what each team’s biggest concern is, seeing the Jackets score on their very first power play was rather shocking. The fans were on the verge of booing because they couldn’t get an outlet pass out of their own zone. Just seconds later, however, Jack Johnson potted the Jacket’s first goal of the season.
- After falling behind 2-0 in the second, the Jackets rebounded and scored twice in the third period to tie the New York Islanders, and ended up taking a shootout victory on Saturday night. Mark Letestu scored the second power play goal of the season to start the comeback, and Nick Filigno tied it about 4 minutes later. Letestu would later score a shootout goal, and Cam Atkinson finished off the 4-round shootout to win it.
- It’s early in the season, so the line combinations and mutations are expected to come fast and furious. Expect R.J. Umberger up to the third line with Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen. Mark Letestu, Derek MacKenzie and Jared Boll will likely comprise the 4th line.
- Boone Jenner had 25 friends and family drive in from his hometown of Dorchester, Ontario for Friday’s opener – his first NHL game. He started the game on the top line with Brandon Dubinsky and Marian Gaborik. After about 10 shifts and not even a full period, however, he was dropped down to the third line and replaced by Blake Comeau for the rest of the game. Jenner won’t play tonight in Buffalo, barring injury to any of the other forwards.
- Jared Boll did not skate against Calgary or the Islanders. He will be back in action tonight against Buffalo, meaning Boone Jenner will likely be the odd man out for at least Thursday’s game.
- Fedor Tyutin visited team doctors last Thursday and was ruled out for Friday night’s contest. He did not play against NYI either. While he will travel to Buffalo with the team, he’s not likely to play Thursday night, but should play against Boston on Saturday.
- One of my Blue Jackets essential Twitter follows, Aaron Portzline chimes in on both:
Looks like #CBJ F Boone Jenner will be the extra forward on Thursday @ Buffalo now that Jared Boll is back.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) October 9, 2013
#CBJ D Fedor Tyutin will travel w club to Buffalo, but isn't going to play. Target is Saturday vs. Boston.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) October 9, 2013
While you plan your trip to the arena this season, take a look at my review of Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets had to go and trump me with something as awesome as Bacon on a Stick in BlueJackets.com’s behind the scenes preview of the upcoming season, but I’d still take the hand dipped corn dog any day of the week.
As I mentioned in last week’s Blue Jackets Notebook, the Columbus Blue Jackets have released their smartphone apps. Last week it was the iOS version and this week it was released for Android. Overall, I’m very impressed with the app’s capabilities so far and things are running smoothly.
- The Jackets take on the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.
- Nick Filigno will get a chance to make it a family affair, as his brother Marcus has been taken off of Injured Reserve for the Sabres, and should play tonight.
- Ryan Miller will return to the ice after sustaining a minor lower-body injury in game 2 against Ottawa. Miller sat out the loss against the Penguins and was the backup for Tuesday’s game against Tampa Bay.
- It will be game 5 for the Sabres who started the season with 3 games in the first 4 nights, having gone 0-3-1 in those contests.
- The next home game is on the afternoon of Saturday, October 12th, when the Blue Jackets host the Boston Bruins, who are 2-0-0 and play the Avalanche on Thursday night.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @DougCutlerTHW, and Go Jackets!
Doulas Cutler is a Lead Writer for The Hockey Writers covering the Chicago Blackhawks. Follow him on Twitter at @DougCutlerTHW. In addition, he also writes on The Blog of Brotherhood, dedicated to Miami RedHawks Hockey (www.blogofbrotherhood.com and @MiamiHockeyBlog). LET’S GO HAWKS!