Based on what I’ve seen in the preseason, here are some key thoughts for the team heading into the NHL regular season.
5. Keep That Puck Out! : Steve Mason has looked like the Mason of old this preseason, making many key saves, not looking uncomfortable or rattled at all. It should be interesting to see how he does with the retooled team in front of him, when it starts to count. Curtis Sanford is in the backup role for a undetermined amount of time with Mark Dekanich’s preseason injury. After 2 full seasons in the AHL, has it affected his NHL abilities at all? Im doubtful that it has, but the question has crossed my mind. He should prove a good backup until Dekanich can get back to game form, whenever that is.
4. Youth Of The CBJ Nation: Ryan Johansen, Maksim Mayorov, Cam Atkinson, and David Savard will all be there on opening night. With Johansen and Mayorov, as a recent practice line suggests, will they be put with Derick Brassard in a all young gun line? Atkinson, who has taken Brassard’s top 6 spot, has shown he’s ready to play in the big leagues. Atkinson is with RJ Umberger and Antoine Vermette, and should be a great compliment to those two. Atkinson can shoot and pass, and has great positioning when the puck isn’t on his stick. Lastly, David Savard, who has had a great stretch of play as of late, will be guarding the blue line for The Blue Jackets. With Wisniewski’s Shanahanban, and Stralman leaving the team, there was room for a new Defenseman, and after fighting hard for it, he got it.
3. Powerplay Recharge: This team needs to start scoring on the powerplay, this preseason total the team went 4 for 17 on the man advantage. With Wisniewski suspended, the team needs to look to selective shots, and smart passes to set up powerplay goals. Grant Clitsome should work well in this role, as he always seems to be able to put shots on net, generating a rebound chance, if not, a goal all by himself.
2. Nashcar Firing On All Cylinders: Yes, I just referred to Rick Nash and Jeff Carter as Nashcar, however, joking aside, these two will be the most looked to when it comes to offense. People say “Nash and Carter won’t work because they are both shooters” to that, I saw “WRONG!” While it is true they are both shooters, the fact they both are is what makes them a beautiful asset to each other. As we saw in the preseason, Nash will shoot, Carter is in for the rebound, and vice versa. And with Vinny Prospal, a true playmaker who can also shoot, on the same line, it only adds more ammo to this firing squad.
1. Be Loud, Be Proud: The biggest asset to this team, is you, the fan. Never forget that, be proud of this team, especially what has been done this offseason, through the good and the bad of the past, you Carry The Flag, and continue to do so. If you are cheering in Nationwide Arena, or 5,000 miles away, it doesn’t matter how far, we are all a family of fans, and we should all be in for a great year of hockey.
LETS GO JACKETS!!!!