Welcome back to our 2020 Columbus Blue Jackets Q&A series. In this series, we are going to talk with different members of the Blue Jackets’ community about hockey, their jobs, how they’re handling things today and much more. Today in part six, Boone Jenner stops by and catches us up on a wide range of topics. We talk everything from extended life at home to his confidence level that the season will return. We then end with some fun stuff.
- Part 1: Leo Welsh (CBJ Anthem Singer)
- Part 2: Mike Todd (CBJ Game Night Host)
- Part 3: Todd Sharrock (CBJ VP of Communications)
- Part 4: Jeff Svoboda (CBJ Team Reporter)
- Part 5: Peter Lovins (CBJ Director of Legal Affairs)
It’s amazing how fast time can go sometimes. Thursday will mark exactly one year ago since the Columbus Blue Jackets pulled off one of the greatest upsets in Stanley Cup playoff history. They swept the Tampa Bay Lightning out of the playoffs with a convincing 7-3 win at Nationwide Arena. That marked the first series win in Blue Jackets’ history.
The Blue Jackets were hoping to be playing playoff hockey now to keep their postseason momentum going. They still might get to do that at some point. But right now, bigger priorities have to work themselves out.
Imagine being a player going through this. Your routine is thrown out of whack. Life is completely different in many ways. There’s no ice to skate on. Workouts are limited to anything they have at home. There’s more time to do other things such as watch TV or spend more time with their families.
Blue Jackets’ forward Boone Jenner like many others finds himself in this position. He was kind enough to join us for a Q&A on a wide variety of topics. With it being the one year anniversary of the Lightning sweep, we started with his fondest memory of that series.
Boone Jenner Q&A
“It was definitely one of the funnest times I’ve ever had playing hockey,” Jenner said of the series last season. “Playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs is a privilege after a long, hard year that you go through and the grind to get there. We knew the team we had and what we could bring. I think that first game when we came back from down three goals was a huge booster for our club. We took off from there when we realized when we play the right way and do it together, we can make some noise and damage. It was a pretty special feeling when a team can get together like that. That’s what makes it tougher now staying at home when the playoffs would be going on right now. But it’s definitely great memories.”
THW: So how different are your days now and what is your schedule like?
Jenner: “It’s a lot different now. You just get so used to getting into a routine during the season. You can’t prepare for this. I’ve been getting into a routine getting a workout in the morning and keeping myself busy during the afternoon. Then whether it’s Netflix (or something else) at night, talking to people with lots of Facetime, lots of phone calls. I think it’s important to stay connected with your loved ones and your teammates. We’re all definitely optimistic that we can come back here and finish this season.”
THW: Are you into Tiger King? Or is there anything else on Netflix you’ve gotten into?
Jenner: “Yeah I was into Tiger King. I think I finished that in two or three days. I was into that. Ozark. I’ve been watching that. There’s a lot of good shows out there. I’m also going to start Money Heist. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about that one.”
THW: So you’re saying I have to watch Tiger King now?
Jenner: “Yeah, you’ll have to. It’s a wild story.” (Both laughing)
THW: Take us back to when this whole thing first started. Many were fascinated to see the events that unfolded. You won in Vancouver. You guys were coming back and preparing to play the Pittsburgh Penguins. What were those few days like when everything started happening like they did? How surreal was it?
Jenner: “Yeah I think for us and for everybody else it happened so quick. The amount of games that were left made it a crucial time of year. You’re so locked into the season. We saw that Ohio’s Governor (Mike DeWine) shut down (the idea of) fans in the stands. We were getting ready to play that game with no fans. I think everyone did the right thing by shutting everything down. We’re thankful everyone got out of harm’s way when we did. It happened so quick for us it was just tough because the playoffs would have started this past week. But we gotta do what we gotta do now because this is bigger than hockey right now.”
THW: If and when this season does get back underway, what do you hope happens? Would you want there to be some regular season games? Should they skip straight to the playoffs? Is there any kind of preference you’d have?
Jenner: “That’s so hard to say right now. We don’t know the future or how this is going to pan out. Whatever the circumstances or format that is decided, we’d definitely be interested in doing that. We just have to wait now. We have to stay mentally ready, physically ready to jump back into it because it could happen quick. We’re excited to get back when we can.”
THW: I think there are many unsung heroes throughout the organization. But one in particular right now is Nelson Ayotte with fitness and nutritional ideas. What has he and the team been able to do for you so you can stay sharp?
Jenner: “It’s definitely a different situation when there’s no gyms to go to unless you have stuff at home. It’s staying active and trying to get some workouts in at home. You have to be creative that way. He’s been giving us ideas of stuff we can do without any equipment, try to get a good sweat in etc. We have to stay on top of that.”
THW: You mentioned Facetime earlier. How often do you communicate with your teammates, management and others within the organization?
Jenner: “We have a team group chat. We talk to each other on there quite a bit. Management sends out an email everyday with information (which includes) something for us to do or think about. I think that’s been great. It gets us all involved. We’re all in this together. They keep us informed that way and involved with each other. We want to make sure everyone is doing well.”
- Who is the best motivator and why? (Question from The Shwide): “Nick Foligno’s a great motivator. He says it and he does it. When he’s saying something you want to listen. You take that to heart when he goes out and does it himself.”
- How did your team stay upbeat despite the numerous injuries? (Question from Lucas Main): “We had the mindset of bonding together. I think every time we lost someone which for a couple of weeks there seemed like every other game, we put that noise out. We stayed in our locker room. We knew it was an opportunity for us to stand up. Everyone who came up jumped in right away and played a team game. Everyone knew their role. That’s what you get when everyone buys in. No matter who dresses we’re going to go out and play the same way.”
- Do you still have aspirations of becoming an NHL captain? (Question from SportsCBus): “Yeah absolutely. I’ve always wanted to be a leader on my team, more so by example both on and off the ice. You just want to be a guy that everyone can look to for anything going on. It’s been ingrained in me for quite a while and I take a lot of pride in that. It would be a tremendous honor.”
- You’ve been in the league what seems like a long time but are still just 26. Does that and your leadership help the younger guys relate to you better? (Question from Nittgrl73): “Yeah absolutely. That comes from the leadership. I take a lot of pride in that. It wasn’t too long ago where I was that guy just coming in and getting adapted to the new team, new systems, new faces. You just want to do everything you can hockey wise at the arena, teaching them stuff but also away from the rink. Maybe they haven’t been living on their own or anything like that. If they feel more comfortable they’re going to be themselves more and just help us win. It’s important to make them feel part of it right away no matter where you came from or where you played before or how many years you’ve played. We’re going to help each other.”
- Are you into video games personally? “I wasn’t until this. I’m into video games now.”
- Any particular game or two that has stuck out for you? “Yeah I’ve been playing Call of Duty actually. It’s fun I think because we can all talk to each other. (Andrew) Peeke, (Josh) Anderson, Seth Jones, (Alexandre) Texier is on it. (Ryan) MacInnis is on it. We’ve played some games on there where we can all talk on the mic so it’s a thing where we can all catch up and play some video games together.”
- Who would you say the best of the group is at Call of Duty: “So far I’d say Andrew Peeke (laughing.) Gus Nyquist. He plays too.”
- Who is the funniest Blue Jacket? “David Savard.”
- Who has the most fashion style? “Alexander Wennberg.”
- Who is the best cook? “From what I’ve seen, probably Seth Jones because I’ve had his the most. Hes a really good cook.”
- Who is the most shy? “Dean Kukan.”
- What music would you pop on right now? (Question from Ashxrenee): “I’d probably be playing some country music. If I was working out, probably some hip hop or rap. I like everything. But if I’m hanging around the house, I like country.”
- Who decides the play list at Nationwide Arena for warmups? “I think it was Pierre-Luc Dubois for a while. I think him and Jonesy get together and make up some playlists. I know they control the music in the room for the most part.”
- What was your first concert? “My first concert was actually Def Leppard.”
- Do you have a guilty-pleasure snack? “Because of Easter, I’d have to say those Mini Eggs.”
Jenner’s Message to the 5th Line
Jenner and the rest of the Blue Jackets cannot wait to get back out there. Here was his message to fans at this point.
“We miss you a lot. We miss playing in front of you at Nationwide. It’s hard not being out there. The more we can stay safe, stay at home and do our part to end this as quickly as we can, we’re hoping to get out there in front of you soon.”
If we all do our part, we’ll be back together again soon. We thank both Jenner and the Blue Jackets for his time in joining us.
I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2022-23 season will mark nine seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager. Please take note of the updated Twitter handle: @mark_scheig.