Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson talks with Bob McElligott about tonight's game against the Islanders on Jackets TV:
SAFELITE AUTOGLASS GLASS SHATTERING HIT: Have you voted for this year's best "glass shattering hit?" Check out the nominees on BlueJackets.com, and be sure to place your vote below the videos. If you cast your vote, you're entered in a drawing to win an autographed Jack Johnson jersey!
We've featured one of the potential hits below -- and it's R.J. Umberger delivering a huge hit on the Bruins' Milan Lucic on Dec. 10.
ISLANDERS LINEUP: The Islanders' morning skate just concluded on the main ice and head coach Jack Capuano is meeting with the media as we speak. When the video of his scrum is ready, we will post it on the BlueJackets.com Game Day page, as well as here in the blog.
One interesting note about New York's roster tonight: rookie defenseman Matt Donovan, recently called up from Bridgeport (AHL) on April 3, will be in the linep for this third NHL game. Donovan, a fourth-round pick (96th overall) of the Islanders in 2008, is the first NHL player to be born, raised, and trained in the state of Oklahoma.
Al Montoya is expected to get the start for the Islanders.
Here's the expected lineup for New York:
TODD RICHARDS SPEAKS: Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards just finished his final morning skate media availability of the season here in the press conference room at Nationwide Arena. We'll have the full transcript (and video) of his comments coming soon, but for now, here are some notable items discussed today:
- Richards said he's most proud of the team's consistency and structure over the final 41 games of the season. Said although the team didn't have "much to play for" after the first month of the season, they stuck together and finished the year on a positive note.
- Asked if the Blue Jackets have met their internal goals for the second half of the year, Richards said with a smile: "We'll find out after the game."
- Steve Mason is tonight's starting goaltender. He will be backed up by Shawn Hunwick.
- Richards said captain Rick Nash skated briefly this morning and "felt good." He added that Nash is "absolutely trying to play this game tonight, and that's his attitude." Nash will take warm-ups with the team prior to the game and get a better idea of how he's feeling at that time. If he still feels good, he will dress for the game.
- Asked which players have shown significant development in their game this year, Richards pointed to rookies John Moore and Cam Atkinson.
FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY: As a reminder, fans -- be sure to "like" the official Blue Jackets Facebook page for a chance to win two (2) glass seats for tonight's game! Check out the picture below...this could be your view for Fan Apprecation Night at Nationwide Arena:
BLUE JACKETS LINES: The Blue Jackets (pending the status of Rick Nash) will use the same lineup as they did in Thursday night's win over the Avalanche. The defense pairs will remain the same, as well, with Mayorov likely to figure into the top-six forwards this evening.
Here are the projected lines for Columbus:
SKATE UPDATE: The Blue Jackets are on the ice for their morning skate at Nationwide Arena.There's a good crowd of fans here, as well, taking in the final tune-up for tonight's game. Captain Rick Nash, who suffered an undisclosed injury late in Thursday's game in Denver, skated briefly before the full team session began this morning.
Goaltenders on the ice are Steve Mason and Shawn Hunwick. Mason is expected to make his second straight start between the pipes for Columbus. Maksim Mayorov, recalled late yesterday from Springfield (AHL), is on the ice today as well.
"LIKE" FOR A CHANCE TO WIN GLASS SEATS! Fans - be sure to visit the official Blue Jackets Facebook page throughout today and "like" it for your chance to win a pair of glass seats to tonight's game against the Islanders. That's all you have to do for a chance to win! Good luck, and as always, Go Jackets.
GAME DAY: What better way to kick off the final game day of the year than to read the exclusive preview from BlueJackets.com? Get the scouting report on the up-and-coming Islanders, snippets from the official NHL game notes, and more! Click here.
MORNING SKATE 82: Good morning everyone! It's a great day for hockey and we're ready to go here at Nationwide Arena. Tonight is the 82nd and final regular-season contest for the Blue Jackets in the 2011-12 season, and we have TONS planned for our fans on Fan Appreciation Night! First things first - it's time to cover today's morning skate.
Both teams are slated to take the ice (Blue Jackets here in a few minutes, Islanders at 11:30 AM), and the morning skates are open to the public! Come on down to the arena and get a first-hand look at both clubs as they prep for the game.
The Blue Jackets have had some memorable games against the Islanders, including a thrilling overtime win on the Island in November of 2010. Columbus battled back in the third period with R.J. Umberger knotting it up at 3-3, and Jake Voracek supplied the dramatics by scoring the game-winner in overtime.
Keep it locked to the Game Day Blog throughout this beautiful Saturday - you will NOT want to miss what we've got in store for you today!
Interim head coach Todd Richards on Jackets TV before tonight's game against Colorado:
Goaltender Steve Mason talks about tonight's game on Jackets TV:
Center Mark Letestu on Jackets TV:
The Game Breakdown for tonight's game with Bob McElligott and Peter McNab:
MORNING SKATE UPDATE: The Blue Jackets wrapped up their morning skate today at Pepsi Center and are expected to take the same lineup into tonight's game as they did Tuesday against the Coyotes. It's a big game for the Avalanche, who could still be eliminated later tonight (pending the result of the Sharks-Kings game). Colorado needs a lot of help to get into the playoffs, but it won't matter unless they get two points tonight against the Blue Jackets.
One bit of injury news to pass along: goaltender Allen York suffered an injury during the skate and will not play tonight. Interim head coach Todd Richards told the media it's likely York pulled his groin, but added Steve Mason was originally slated to start tonight vs. the Avalanche. Shawn Hunwick will serve as Mason's backup after being a healthy scratch on Tuesday.
Here is the projected lineup for the Blue Jackets this evening:
KNOWING YOUR JACKETS: Three-year-old Joshua Lambert is much like his parents in that he loves numbers, and his dad, Gary, thinks that's where he gets his keen ability to memorize all the players on the Blue Jackets roster -- both by name and number. Joshua recently attended a Blue Jackets practice, got to tour the locker room, and even recited the names of the players right in front of them!
As always, FOX Sports Ohio and Jackets TV were on hand to capture the moment:
TYUTIN'S TRIBUTE: Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin was deeply affected by the tragic plane crash that took the lives of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL) hockey team in September. In order to honor the memory of the players, Tyutin had a special mark sewn on the inside of his hockey gloves - something he refers to every time he takes the ice.
Watch the full story courtesy of FOX Sports Ohio and Jackets TV:
Hello again, Blue Jackets fans and readers of the Game Day Blog! Can you believe it? Tonight marks the 81st game of the regular season and we are officially in the home stretch here. The Blue Jackets are in Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche for the fourth and final time this season. Colorado won both meetings at Nationwide Arena, but Columbus earned a 2-0 shutout over the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center just after the trading deadline.
The Blue Jackets morning skate should be taking place around 1:30 P.M. ET, so shortly thereafter, we'll have the full slate of game-day information for you. Let's start the day off with highlights of Steve Mason's masterful performance against the Avs back on Mar. 1:
DAVE TIPPETT: Coyotes coach Dave Tippett speaks with the media in advance of tonight's game against the Blue Jackets. Watch the full video below, courtesy of PhoenixCoyotes.com:
TODD RICHARDS: Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards met with the media following the team's morning skate. Watch the video from Jackets TV, and read the full transcript of his comments below:
TOP 5 PLAYS OF THE WEEK: What was your favorite play in the last week? The Blue Jackets have picked up three straight wins coming into tonight's game, and there have been plenty of highlights along the way. How about Derick Brassard's beautiful breakaway goal against the Red Wings, or Allen York's point-blank robbery of Chris Stewart in St. Louis?
Check out of the full highlight reel on BlueJackets.com and vote for your favorite play of the week.
BLUE JACKETS MORNING SKATE: The Blue Jackets have wrapped up their morning skate at Jobing.com Arena, and interim head coach Todd Richards confirmed his lineup will (with two exceptions) remain unchanged from Saturday's win over the Blues. Goaltender Steve Mason received good news on his upper-body injury this week, and he's been cleared to return and serve as the backup to Allen York tonight.
Also, defenseman James Wisniewski will return to the blue line this evening. He's been out since suffering an upper-body injury Mar. 18 in Calgary, and his presence should serve as a big boost to the defense corps. Might we see the return of the "Controlled Chaos" pairing with Jack Johnson?
Without further ado, here's the expected lineup for Columbus:
The Coyotes and head coach Dave Tippett are not expected to make any changes from their last game - a 4-0 shutout victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night. The win was also the second straight blanking for Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, who was recently recognized by the NHL as the No. 3 star of the week. He's looking for his third shutout in a row tonight, but he's had his struggles against the Blue Jackets this season.
One lineup note for the Coyotes: LW Taylor Pyatt, sidelined with an upper-body injury, was deemed "questionable" by Tippett after the morning skate.
Here are the projected lines for Phoenix tonight:
PREVIEW: Looking for the most comprehensive preview of tonight's game? Look no further than GAME DAY, the exclusive source for the scouting report, pre-game interviews with players and coaches, and more.
You can also check out the official game preview from NHL.com.
Good afternoon, Blue Jackets fans! Any game day is a great day for hockey, and we're gearing up for tonight's game between the Blue Jackets and Phoenix Coyotes at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale. Both teams practiced yesterday, and each will have its respective morning skate today at the rink. We'll have all the news as it happens, so keep it tuned to the blog as the day moves along.
As always, we'll kick it off with a classic Coyotes-CBJ highlight -- today, let's go with a game earlier this season. Steve Mason was masterful in net for Columbus and led the charge in a 5-2 win for the Blue Jackets.
3:35 P.M.: Here's today's Game Breakdown with Bob McElligott from St. Louis on Jackets TV:
Right wing Cam Atkinson talks with Bob McElligott about tonight's game at St. Louis on Jackets TV:
LW Vinny Prospal hit the 50 point mark on the season with an assist last night against Florida. He talks with Bob McElligott about tonight's game at St. Louis on Jackets TV:
Goaltender Allen York looks to continue his winning streak tonight in St. Louis. He talks with Bob McElligott on Jackets TV:
GETTING HEALTHY: For the first time in over two years, the Blues will ice their full (healthy) roster tonight. Just last week, they got offensive leader Alex Steen back from a concussion after he missed a large portion of the season. Andy McDonald - out since Mar. 14 with a shoulder injury suffered in a game against Carolina - returns to the lineup vs. Columbus as does Matt D'Agostini (concussion).
Jaroslav Halak is expected to get the start between the pipes the Blues, who are 13-1-1 against the Blue Jackets on home ice dating back to the 2007-08 season.
Here is the projected lineup for the Blues:
CHILL NIGHT: On Friday night at Nationwide Arena, the Blue Jackets honored the 20th anniversary of the Columbus Chill, the former ECHL franchise that played a big role in getting Columbus hooked on hockey. Three members of the All-Chill team were on hand to drop the ceremonial first puck, and there was a reception after the game at the LC Pavilion.
Check out of the video of last night's event, courtesy of Jackets TV:
BLUE JACKETS LINEUP
With this being a back-to-back situation for Columbus, the line combinations should remain the same tonight in St. Louis. The one change on defense looks to be John Moore -- with Cody Goloubef up with the Blue Jackets on emergency recall, Moore likely will not play and Goloubef will go into the lineup paired with Aaron Johnson.
Tonight's starting goaltender will not be known until closer to game time, but Todd Richards indicated they may go back to York again tonight. He's been terrific in his last two outings (both victories), and allowed just three goals total in those games.
Here is the projected Blue Jackets lineup for tonight's game:
BIG WIN OVER THE CATS: How about Allen York and the Blue Jackets' penalty killers last night? Both teamed up to nullify a 1:40 two-man advantage for the Florida Panthers and it was highlighted by Aaron Johnson's diving blocked shot, taking a sure goal away from Kris Versteeg.
Last night also marked the first multi-goal game of Nikita Nikitin's NHL career, and the steady blue liner is now up to 31 points on the season (seven goals, 24 assists). He's second among Blue Jackets defensemen in points, trailing Jack Johnson (34) by three.
Here are the highlights from last night's win, and you can also get the full story by reading the POST GAME on BlueJackets.com.
Good afternoon everyone! Due to the lack of a morning skate today in St. Louis, we're firing up the Game Day Blog just after lunch time but we should have plenty to go over as we get closer to game time. Tonight's game is the sixth and final of the season between the Blues and Blue Jackets. St. Louis has won four of the previous five, and the last meeting at Scottrade Center was a 4-1 win for the Blues back on Mar. 10.
The Blue Jackets made a roster move this morning, adding defenseman Cody Goloubef on emergency recall from the Springfield Falcons (AHL). Based on interim head coach Todd Richards' comments last night, it does not sound like John Moore is going to be able to play, but more info will be available later today.
In today's edition of classic Blue Jackets games, we don't have to be back very far for a dandy between the Blues and Blue Jackets. Columbus won a thriller, 2-1, on Valentine's Day at Nationwide Arena and it literally came right down to the wire. A disallowed goal by David Perron with less than a second on the clock gave Columbus the victory. Let's get it started with those highlights:
AT THE ARENA GUIDE: Are you planning on attending tonight's game at Nationwide Arena? We've compiled a list of all that's going on at the rink for fans in attendance, including contests, giveaways and more!
* Doors will open tonight at 6:00 p.m. for the 7:00 p.m. puck drop.
* It’s Columbus Chill Reunion Night! Tonight we’re recognizing the 20th anniversary of the ECHL franchise. Look for a ceremonial puck drop featuring Lance Brady, Derek Clancey, Jeff Salajko and Rob Schriner, a video tribute of Columbus hockey history and Chill alumni participating in-game in various activities.
* All fans in attendance tonight will receive a Blue Jackets team poster, presented by Nationwide Insurance. Featuring the entire Blue Jackets roster, it will look perfect on that space on your wall that needs filled.
* Over 22,000 of you voted and Victor the Dalmatian is your champ in the Petland Favorite Pet Contest. Look for him next to the zamboni entrance tonight on the dasher board.
* Tonight is another 50/50 Raffle night, presented by Coldwell Banker. Look for your 50/50 volunteers in the blue aprons to purchase your ticket for only $1! Tonight’s beneficiary is our own Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation, which uses the funds for our four pillars of giving including: Pediatric Cancer, Education, Children's Health & Safety and Youth & Amateur Hockey Development.
* Love the song but have no idea what it is? Give @CBJ_DJ a follow. He live tweets all of Nationwide’s musical selections throughout the game.
Haven’t yet picked up your tickets for tonight’s face-off with the Panthers? Pick up a Tim Hortons Jackets Pack starting at $30 or starting at 6:00 p.m. at the Box Office only, pick up Huntington Green Seats for only $10 – an amazing deal for great seats.
SEASON TICKET HOLDERS: Renew your seats now and lock in the lowest prices for the 2012-’13 season. Plus, if you renew your tickets by the end of the 1st period tonight, you will be entered in the Season Ticket Holder Daily Sweepstakes to win tonight’s prize, 23 winners get a Game Worn Blue Jackets Road Jersey. You can renew your seats at the ticketing tables at section 116 on the Bud Light Terrace, section 208 on the AEP Power Level or at the Guest Services Desk at section 110. Remember, the earlier you renew the more chances you have to win!
ANOTHER CLASSIC: The Blue Jackets were down 2-0 less than nine minutes into the game against the Panthers on Jan. 19, 2011, but rallied back to tie it late and win in overtime thanks to R.J. Umberger's deflection.
Relive it with these highlights:
The Panthers did not skate this morning after arriving late last night from St. Paul. Tonight's game is pretty important for them, too - with the Washington Capitals winning in Boston last night and Florida only getting a point against the Wild, the Panthers' lead in the Southeast Division is down to four games with four games to play.
Barring any last-minute roster changes, they are expected to use the same lineup but the starting goaltender is not yet known. Scott Clemmensen, who has played well of late, could get the start after Theodore played in Minnesota.
Check out today's Game Breakdown on Jackets TV with Bob McElligott and George Matthews:
Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards speaks with the media before tonight's game:
Rookie defenseman Dalton Prout on Jackets TV before likely making his CBJ debut tonight vs. Florida:
Derick Brassard speaks with Bob McElligott about tonight's game on Jackets TV:
MORNING SKATE: TODD RICHARDS
On keeping up the defensive-zone play from Wednesday's game: "The message first is - I told the guys on the ice after the morning skate - as coaches, we were curious how we would respond after Monday's game and the thumping we took up in Detroit. The guys responded. It was a credit to them, because the defensive zone play...we were a real committed group. We did a great job up the ice with our forwards tracking, our defense had much better gaps and they weren't able to cut across, make these plays and attack our net. We were more urgent and more desperate than they were. But the is tonight...how are we going to respond after Wednesday's game? I didn't like our morning skate today, and I know you don't win games in morning skates. But some of us just weren't ready. I hope that we'll respond differently tonight."
On the solid play in front of Allen York during his first win: "Credit to the guys and how they played. I got some questions from reporters after our game in Detroit, just about if guys were quitting. As I told them, it's a pretty strong word and I'm curious as how we will respond. The guys basically answered that question."
On Nikita Nikitin playing through injuries of late: "What I will say is, I think it would have been easy for him to say 'I can't play.' It would have been really easy for him to do that. I can't remember the game or the situation, but I think we were in the middle of back-to-back games and he took a shot off the ankle one night and he couldn't finish the game. Coming out of the game, I'm thinking 'now we'll have to go out and get another defenseman.' He ended up playing the next night. I remember the next morning, he came into the rink early, put his skate on and said 'I'm playing.' It's a credit to him, because where we're at in the season and what's gone on...there are certain players that would have said 'I can't play.' I think that's true around the league, not just our guys."
On the recall of Dalton Prout: "David's game...he came up and he was okay. He wasn't particularly bad. In talking (to coaches in Springfield), Prout has played really well for them. It's an opportunity to bring him up - we brought him up earlier in the year but didn't get him into a game - and this was a chance to make a swap and reward Prout for his hard work and what he's done down in Springfield."
On pairing Prout with Jack Johnson: "Jack, playing 35 minutes, is paired up with just about everyone. I think it'll start that way. Brad (Berry) has a done a good job managing the defense. I'm sure throughout the game it will be mixed up at times."
On Ryan Johansen's game on Wedensday night: "I don't know if you guys felt the same way, but for me, it was his best game of the year. When he didn't have the puck, he was moving his feet. When he skates and uses his speed - he's not a Pavel Bure type player - but when he does move, because the other things he possesses are his size and power...when he skates like that and gets an advantage because of his body size, he's a tough guy to defend. It made him a real impactful player in the game."
FINAL FOUR: With the NCAA Final Four upon us, we asked some of the players how their brackets are doing - and who they like to win the national championship. Courtesy of Jackets TV:
YORK STARTS: Allen York was the first goaltender off the ice this morning. Looks like he's the starter tonight against Florida. It will be York's third career NHL start and second in a row.
Interim head coach Todd Richards will not be changing the lineup from Wednesday's win over the Detroit Red Wings. The one alteration is Prout going into the lineup in place of David Savard, who was assigned to Springfield yesterday. These are the projected line combinations for the Blue Jackets:
- Having arrived in Columbus late last night from Minnesota, it's unlikely the Panthers will skate today. We will have more information on their lineup (and any changes) throughout the day.
One of Jack Johnson's idols growing up as a young football player was former Ohio State linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer. Jack got a surprise visit from Andy after practice last week, and Jackets TV was there to capture the experience:
Everyone is present and accounted for at the Blue Jackets skate this morning. That includes Dalton Prout, wearing the No. 47 after he was recalled from Springfield (AHL) yesterday. The two goaltenders are Allen York and recently-signed Shawn Hunwick, who has replaced his winged U of M helmet with a navy blue mask. He's still wearing his traditional "block M" leg pads that gained so much popularity in Ann Arbor.
While we're waiting for line rushes, you can check out our BlueJackets.com feature on Hunwick's crazy-but-exciting first day in the National Hockey League.
Good morning from Nationwide Arena! Tonight marks the penultimate home game in the 2011-12 regular season for the Blue Jackets, and they're set to take on the Southeast Division leading Florida Panthers. The Panthers are red-hot coming into tonight's game: they are 6-1-3 in their last 10 games and played last night against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center (a 3-2 overtime loss).
Jose Theodore started that game for head coach Kevin Dineen, and it's very possible the Panthers will turn to backup Scott Clemmensen against Columbus. The veteran netminder also started Florida's last visit to Nationwide - nearly a year ago today - a 3-2 shootout victory by the Blue Jackets that featured the game-winning goal from rookie Maksim Mayorov.
Let's get the morning started with the highlights from that thrilling win:
MORNING SKATE: Todd Richards
On what he wants to see tonight vs. Detroit: "A different start, a different effort. Hopefully there's more focus to our game, more discipline in our game. We were trying to cheat and cut corners in the game (on Monday night) versus a good team that knows how to win like Detroit. That's really what happened on Monday."
Asked about his expectations for the final stretch of the season: "We have six games left. It was a disappointing game. As a coach, sometimes you have to almost look past that. You don't just discard it and say it never happened - obviously, it happened. But we've done a lot of good things. We've had to overcome some obstacles, and deal with adversity as everyone else does. But our case is a little bit different. At the trade deadline, we lose three centermen, (now) Derek MacKenzie is out so we've lost four. We've played hard, done some good things and I think our players have put it on the line. We're not perfect, but at least we're competing hard. That's the one thing we can control and that's our focus. We can control our effort every single night, like tonight. Going forward, in the next six, it's our effort and giving it everything we have."
On Darryl Boyce: "He had minor bumps and bruises. So we just kept him off the ice (today), but he will be playing tonight."
Asked if any other injured players are nearing returns: "No changes there. Wiz, Derek (MacKenzie)...they're all in the same boat. Nothing's changed as far as them playing the game tonight or even looking forward to this weekend."
On any adjustments he will make after Monday's game: "There are differnet adjustments you can make. You aren't going to make radical changes, you aren't going to come in and completely alter your systems because guys are used to playing a certain way. You can tweak certain areas to concede a little but of offense so you're in good position defensively. But for the most part, we're going to try and play the same way."
The Red Wings are now leaving the ice after an optional morning skate at Nationwide. Things are shaping up on the injury front for Detroit, which has suffered through a barrage of players on the injured reserve since the All-Star break. All three goaltenders (Jimmy Howard, Ty Conklin and Jordan Pearce) were skating today, as well as defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and winger Johan Franzen.
Howard and head coach Mike Babcock said yesterday that Howard is on track to return Friday night. Franzen is expected to play tonight against Columbus, and practiced yesterday with Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi. Here are the expected lines for the Red Wings:
While we're waiting for the Red Wings to take the ice, let's go back to last week and check out Rick Nash's visit to Columbus Performance Academy - this year's winner of the 61 Club Good Health Challenge. Video courtesy of Jackets TV:
INJURY UPDATE: Todd Richards told the media that Boyce has some "minor bumps and bruises," so he was kept off the ice today. Boyce will be in the lineup tonight. As far as other injured players out of the lineup, Richards said he does not anticipate any to return soon. Their statuses remain unchanged.
GOALTENDER UPDATE: Steve Mason was the first goalie off the ice this morning. He will start tonight against the Red Wings, marking his seventh consecutive start.
As expected, the line combinations from Monday's game in Detroit will remain intact tonight. We'll see where Boyce fits in, and what his status is for the game shortly. In the meantime, here are the projected lines for the Blue Jackets:
UPDATE: Center Darryl Boyce is not participating in the morning skate. We will get an update from interim head coach Todd Richards after the team comes off the ice.
Good morning from Nationwide Arena! The Blue Jackets are trickling on to the ice as today's morning skate is about to get started. Looks like all healthy players are present and accounted for, as well as both goaltenders (Steve Mason and Allen York). Let's start off the morning with highlights from a classic Blue Jackets-Red Wings game at Nationwide: from Oct. 25, 2011, when R.J. Umberger scored 21 seconds in, and later on in the first period, Ryan Johansen cashed in his first NHL goal.