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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 12:40 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog

4:30 P.M.:
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:


3:40 P.M.:
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.


3:20 P.M.:
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:

Umberger-Brassard-Atkinson
Prospal-Letestu-Nash
Russell-Johansen-Dorsett
Gillies-Boyce-Boll

J. Johnson-Wisniewski
Lebda-nikitin
A. Johnson-Prout

York
Mason


3:05 P.M.:
PHOENIX LINEUP


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:

Whitney-Hanzal-Vrbata
Boedker-Vermette-Korpikoski
Torres-Langkow-Doan
Gordon-Chipchura-Brule

Yandle-Morris
Aucoin-Ekman-Larsson
Klesla-Roszival

Smith
LaBarbera


1:45 P.M.:
James Wisniewski


12:45 P.M.:
Derek Dorsett


12:45 P.M.:
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.


12:40 P.M.:
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.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.31.2012 / 3:23 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog

3:35 P.M.: Here's today's Game Breakdown with Bob McElligott from St. Louis on Jackets TV:
3:20 P.M.:
Right wing Cam Atkinson talks with Bob McElligott about tonight's game at St. Louis on Jackets TV:
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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.31.2012 / 1:00 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog

3:10 P.M.:
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:

3:05 P.M.:
Goaltender Allen York looks to continue his winning streak tonight in St. Louis. He talks with Bob McElligott on Jackets TV:

3:00 P.M.:
BLUES LINEUP


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:

Steen-Backes-Oshie
McDonald-Berglund-Perron
Sobotka-Arnott-Langenbrunner
D'Agostini-Nichol-Stewart

Huskins-Pietrangelo
Jackman-Shattenkirk
Russell-Polak

Halak
Elliott


2:05 P.M.:
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:


1:55 P.M.:
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:

Umberger-Brassard-Atkinson
Prospal-Letestu-Nash
Russell-Johansen-Dorsett
Gillies-Boyce-Boll

J. Johnson-Prout
Lebda-Nikitin
A. Johnson-Goloubef

York
Hunwick


1:05 P.M.:
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.


12:45 P.M.:
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:

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.30.2012 / 12:49 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog

3:00 P.M.:

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!


2:10 P.M.:
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:


1:50 P.M.:
PANTHERS LINEUP


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.

Fleischmann-Weiss-Upshall
Bergenheim-Goc-Kopecky
Wolski-Matthias-Versteeg
Sturm-Madden-Smithson

Garrison-Campbell
Jovanovski-Gudbranson
Kulikov-Weaver

Theodore
Clemmensen


1:35 P.M.:
Check out today's Game Breakdown on Jackets TV with Bob McElligott and George Matthews:


1:20 P.M.:
Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards speaks with the media before tonight's game:


1:10 P.M.:
Rookie defenseman Dalton Prout on Jackets TV before likely making his CBJ debut tonight vs. Florida:


12:45 P.M.:
Derick Brassard speaks with Bob McElligott about tonight's game on Jackets TV:
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POSTED ON Friday, 03.30.2012 / 10:00 AM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog

11:40 A.M.:
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."

11:25 A.M.:

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:


10:40 A.M.:
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.


10:35 A.M.:
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:

Umberger-Brassard-Atkinson
Prospal-Letestu-Nash
Russell-Johansen-Dorsett
Gillies-Boyce-Boll

J. Johnson-Prout
Lebda-Nikitin
A. Johnson-Moore

York
Hunwick

- 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.
10:25 A.M.:
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:


10:10 A.M.:
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.
10:00 A.M.:
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:

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.28.2012 / 9:55 AM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog

1:45 P.M.:

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."


12:00 P.M.:
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:

Franzen-Datsyuk-Bertuzzi
Filppula-Zetterberg-Hudler
Miller-Abdelkader-Cleary
Nyquist-Emmerton-Holmstrom

Lidstrom-White
Kronwall-Stuart
Quincey-Kindl

Conklin
Pearce


11:20 A.M.:
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:


11:10 A.M.:
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.


10:35 A.M.:
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.


10:20 A.M.:
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:

Umberger-Brassard-Atkinson
Prospal-Letestu-Nash
Russell-Johansen-Dorsett
Gillies-(Boyce)-Boll

J. Johnson-Savard
Lebda-Nikitin
A. Johnson-Moore

Mason
York


10:10 A.M.:
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.


10:00 A.M.:
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.

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POSTED ON Monday, 03.26.2012 / 3:10 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog

7:10 P.M.:

The Blue Jackets and Red Wings are on the ice for warm-ups at Joe Louis Arena. All players who participated in the morning skate are present for the pre-game warm-up and Steve Mason was the first goaltender out of the tunnel for Columbus. He will face former Blue Jacket Ty Conklin, who is 3-1-2 in his career against his former club with a 3.06 goals-against average and .896 save percentage.

It looks as if the Blue Jackets defense pairs will switch up slightly from Sunday's game. Here's how they lined up during the pre-game:

J. Johnson - Savard
Lebda - Nikitin
A. Johnson - Moore

The forward lines will remain the same. 

HISTORICAL NOTE: On Feb. 4, 2011, Mason made 34 saves to lead the Blue Jackets to a 3-0 shutout win over the Red Wings here at Joe Louis Arena. Antoine Vermette, Andrew Murray and Jared Boll supplied the offense for Columbus in the victory. Relive that masterful performance by "Mase" by watching the highlights below.


3:20 P.M.:
Center Mark Letestu talks with Bob McElligott about tonight's game on Jackets TV:



3:15 P.M.:

We've covered who is in/out of the Red Wings lineup for tonight's game, but now we have the projected line combinations based on today's morning skate. Here are the expected lines for Detroit:

Bertuzzi - Datsyuk - Nyquist
Filppula - Zetterberg - Hudler
Miller - Abdelkader - Cleary
Holmstrom - Emmerton - Mursak

Lidstrom - White
Kronwall - Stuart
Quincey - Kindl

Conklin
Pearce
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POSTED ON Sunday, 03.25.2012 / 9:49 AM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog
12:45 P.M.:
Heading down to Nationwide Arena for today's game? We've got some tips for fans in the latest edition of the "At The Arena" guide...

Here are some tips for fans attending the game:

* Doors will open tonight at 2:00 p.m. for the 3:00 p.m. puck drop.

* Stellar Kart is in the house tonight as part of Faith and Family night. Stay after the game to see the Dove Award winning band play a free concert for all fans in attendance.

* 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 the Athens Youth Hockey Association.

* Speaking of pets, want to see one of these cuties on the boards for the March 30th game? Go vote for your favorite in Petland’s Favorite Pet contest.

* 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 this afternoon’s game versus Edmonton? Bring the fam’ for only $25 a person with the Dispatch Family Value Pack Pack. Or starting at 2 p.m. at the Box Office only, Huntington Green Seats for only $10 -- pretty good deal since there’s not a bad seat to be found in Nationwide Arena.

**Key reminder about Season Ticket renewals**

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 today, you will be entered in the Season Ticket Holder Daily Sweepstakes to win today’s prize: 10 winners get to Double Your 2012-’13 Season Tickets. 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!


12:15 P.M.:
Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards talks about today's game vs. the Oilers on Jackets TV.


12:00 P.M.:
As outlined in today's edition of GAME DAY, the Oilers come into today's game on a six-game points streak (4-0-2) -- a stretch that began with a 3-0 win over the Blue Jackets at Rexall Place on Mar. 14. Edmonton has received stellar goaltending from Devan Dubnyk and is starting to see consistency with rookie center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

The Oilers are also without defensemen Andy Sutton and Cam Barker, who remain sidelined with injuries. Lennart Petrell (groin) is listed as day-to-day, and Taylor Hall (concussion) will not play this afternoon. Center Chris VandeVelde was recalled from Oklahoma City (AHL) in the absence of captain Shawn Horcoff, who is out with a sore back.

Here is the projected lineup for the Oilers this afternoon, courtesy of EdmontonOilers.com:

Jones-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle
Hartikainen-Gagner-Hemsky
Hordichuk-VandeVelde-Omark
Smyth-Belanger-Eager

Smid-Petry
Whitney-Schultz
Peckham-Potter

Dubnyk
Khabibulin


11:10 A.M.:
The Blue Jackets won't be making any lineup changes from Friday's win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and Richards confirmed yesterday that Steve Mason will once again start between the pipes. By moving rookie Cam Atkinson to a line with R.J. Umberger and Derick Brassard, Richards got the desired result and saw more offense out of the Brassard-Umberger duo. Captain Rick Nash's line with Mark Letestu and Vinny Prospal also generated several quality chances, with Prospal and Letestu scoring goals in the 5-1 victory.

You can read more about Umberger's hat trick in this feature from BlueJackets.com.

Here is the projected lineup for the Blue Jackets this afternoon:


Umberger-Brassard-Atkinson
Prospal-Letestu-Nash
Russell-Johansen-Dorsett
Gillies-Boyce-Boll

Jack Johnson-Savard
Lebda-Moore
Aaron Johnson-Nikitin

Mason
York


10:00 A.M.: John Moore and Steve Mason talk about the game vs. Edmonton today...



9:53 A.M.:

Good morning from Nationwide Arena! It's a game day as the Blue Jackets take on the Edmonton Oilers today - that's right it's a 3 p.m. matinee. Due to the early start time there is no morning skate for either team, but keep an eye on this blog for all the news and updates on the game, including some pre-game videos. Make sure to read today's edition of "GAME DAY," our exclusive preview breaking down the game vs. Edmonton. Also, please utilize the commenting function below to give us feedback on what you would like to see in this blog, as we try to provide you the fans with the comprehensive look at a Blue Jackets GAME DAY.

Here is the link to GAME DAY.

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.23.2012 / 12:39 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog

4:15 P.M.:

Here are some tips for fans attending the game at Nationwide Arena tonight:

* Doors will open tonight at 6:00 p.m. for the 7:00 p.m. puck drop.

* Giveaway! Tonight, all fans will receive a Panini set of Blue Jackets trading cards. Featuring Derek Dorsett, Rick Nash, Vinny Prospal, James Wisniewski and R.J. Umberger, each pack also includes a bonus limited edition Jack Johnson trading card when you make a purchase at the FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line Store. Don’t forget to pick yours up at any entrance tonight.

* 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 the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus.

* Speaking of pets, want to see one of these cuties on the boards for the March 30th game? Go vote for your favorite in Petland’s Favorite Pet contest.

* 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 tilt with Carolina? Don’t forget you can purchase a Tim Hortons Jackets Pack for only $30, or starting at 5 p.m. at the Box Office only, Huntington Green Seats for only $10.
3:45 P.M.:

"3 Keys To The Game"
Face-off between the Blue Jackets and the Carolina Hurricanes is a little more than three hours away. How do these two clubs match up? We give you tonight's "3 Keys" to victory, a sample of what the Blue Jackets need to do to earn two points in this inter-conference showdown.

1. Move the puck quickly: This is especially true in the defensive zone -- the Hurricanes' identity is built around pressuring the puck and forcing opponents into mistakes using their forecheck, meaning the Blue Jackets must focus on exiting the defensive zone quickly and getting up the ice in transition.

2. Quality over quantity: Cam Ward is one of the top goaltenders in the National Hockey League, and one who gets better when he sees a high volume of shots on goal. He was masterful last week against the league-leading St. Louis Blues, putting together a 40-save shutout and making difficult saves look routine. The Blue Jackets' recipe for success will be to stick to their game plan to create scoring chances, and bury the opportunities they get.

3. Fight fire with fire: The Hurricanes and Blue Jackets are two teams that thrive on the success of their forecheck, and with Carolina preferring to use their pressure game to start their attack, Columbus can combat that by spending time in the offensive zone. Evidence of that came against a skating team like Colorado, who couldn't get anything going because the Blue Jackets spent most of the game in the Avalanche zone. The more time the Hurricanes spend chasing the puck, the Blue Jackets will be better off.


1:50 P.M.:
Hurricanes Lines & Pairs


The Hurricanes are not expected to make any lineup changes for tonight's game against the Blue Jackets. The combinations employed by Kirk Muller in their 3-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night appear to be remaining intact. Cam Ward is slated to start in goal for Carolina, as he was the first goaltender off the ice after their morning skate.

Here is the Hurricanes' projected lineup for tonight's game:

Tlusty-Staal-LaRose
Skinner-Jokinen-Ruutu
Bowman-Sutter-Dwyer
Joslin-Brent-Stewart

Gleason-Allen
Harrison-Faulk
Pitkanen-McBain

Ward
Boucher

- One name to keep an eye on tonight is Sutter...the 23-year-old native of Huntington, NY is in his fourth NHL season and is a former first-round pick of the Hurricanes in 2007. He's a member of the famed Sutter hockey family and has blossomed in his role of the "stopper" center -- but that's not all the Hurricanes want from him. His offensive game is on the upswing, as well, and his 15 goals on the season are the fifth-most on the team, despite playing against opposing teams' top lines.

- Captain Eric Staal is on fire, too. He's got seven points in his last five games and has been a huge spark in Carolina's recent surge. He and Tlusty have clicked this year and adding LaRose on the right side of that line has given the trio a noticeable edge. LaRose scored the game-winner last weekend in Winnipeg with just over a minute left in regulation.


1:42 P.M.:
Carolina Head Coach Kirk Muller on Jackets TV:


1:32 P.M.:
Bob McElligott's Game Breakdown on Jackets TV:


1:17 P.M.:
Todd Richards on Jackets TV:


12:39 P.M.:
Cam Atkinson on Jackets TV:


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POSTED ON Friday, 03.23.2012 / 10:05 AM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / Blue Jackets Game Day Blog

11:55 A.M.:
Derek Dorsett on Jackets TV:


11:35 A.M.:
Morning Skate quotes - Todd Richards


Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards met with the media following the skate. Here is the full transcript of his comments:

On what it will take to beat the Hurricanes tonight: "It's going to take a solid effort from everyone. Looking at some of their games, it's probably one of the most aggressive teams we've come across with how they play. It looks like they're real aggressive two guys all over the ice on forechecks and face-offs. That causes problems because you're going to have to play quick and fast. Their defense closes gaps quickly, so there's not a lot of room. It's managing the puck, making good decisions and moving the puck quick. If you move it quick enough, it doesn't allow them to get into position and you can counter and get on the attack. The other thing they possess is hope, confidence in their game. That's a powerful thing. It will be a good challenge for us tonight."

On the changes he hopes to see with the line changes in the top six: "I'd like to see a few more goals. But just some positive momentum and creativity in the offensive zone, creating more chances -- that's what I want to see. If we're creating more chances, we're doing some positive things there and obviously the changes are the right changes for the team. It's creating more offense. The only change I made was moving Rick and swapping him out with Cam. I really liked the way Mark (Letestu), Cam and Vinny (Prospal) were playing. We really need more production out of Derick, R.J. and Rick. It was just moving one of those guys, and I think Cam came up and did a good job. With Rick, I see a good fit with Vinny and Mark."

On the emphasis placed on the power play in practice: "We practiced it (yesterday) for about 15 or 20 minutes. It was no different than previous days. We had a good meeting today. It's something that we have to talk about just because we're not scoring. It's no different than when the power play's going really well and you're talking about it a lot, because usually you're having success. Again, it's creating that positive momentum and those chances on the power play that I want to see."

On Derek MacKenzie's status: "He's not playing tonight. I would say he's day-to-day."

Asked about the addition of Jack Johnson, and what it has meant to the Blue Jackets: "Watching him, he's a guy that can play 30-plus minutes. It's been impressive to watch that. In the Calgary game when Wisniewski got hurt, we were down to five (defensemen) and the game goes to overtime. I don't know if he tires out on the ice. He's a guy that can play a lot of minutes, play in every different situation...power play, penalty kill, four-on-four, five-on-five and against other team's top lines. He really gives you a lot of flexibility on the back end with how you want to use him. He's kind of injected our team with some enthusiasm. When you acquire a guy at the trade deadline, there's enthusiasm there. He wants to be a difference in our organization and a difference on our team. I've said it before...it's been really refreshing."

... and some pictures from this morning



11:20 A.M.:
Morning Skate quotes - Cam Atkinson


Atkinson has moved up to play with two new linemates, and BlueJackets.com was there to ask him about it.

On making the switch to play with Umberger and Brassard: "I just try to go out there and use my speed to my benefit. I've been trying to knock home a couple of rebounds (lately), but I feel good. Our line was doing well out there today so hopefully we can get a couple goals tonight. All three of us are very similar, but we have different style of play. Brass can score goals, but he's definitely looking to pass first. Umby is a big body who can score and go to the net...I can hopefully use my speed to take guys wide, and (the line mates) can pound in the rebounds."

On the defensive responsiblity against a fast Hurricanes team: "That's the main part of the game. They're going to try and create offensive chances, so that has to be our focal point. (The last stretch of the season) is about taking care of your body and nutrition. But you can't look ahead - you have to start with today and this is going to be a tough game.


10:55 A.M.:
Morning Skate quotes - Derek Dorsett

We caught up with Dorsett after the morning skate and talked about tonight's game, how to slow down the Hurricanes' skilled forwards and getting back to the "score first" mentality the Blue Jackets had during their recent four-game winning streak.

On if it's a challenge to face a team you only see once a year: "Not really. Nowadays, we pre-scout so much that we get a few of the game on video and we'll go over it before the game, and know what to expect. Lots of guys watch games, so it's pretty self-explanatory. Obviously, it's going to be a little bit different, but we'll get their systems and stuff before the game."

Does it come down to worrying about the Blue Jackets and their game plan? "That's what we're worrying about right now. It doesn't matter who we're playing, just about the way we play and what we have to do."

How difficult will it be to slow down a team with a lot of skill, like Carolina? "They're a hot team right now, and they're playing really well. They have a lot of skilled guys over there and they come at teams hard. They're maybe one of the teams that pushes the hardest, so we have to make sure we're ready for it."

On scoring first tonight: "Whenever you can get on the board early in the game, it's obviously a plus. Either way, we have to make sure that whatever happens, we keep playing for the full 60 minutes."



10:35 A.M.:

Steve Mason was the first goaltender off the ice after the morning skate, suggesting he's the likely starter tonight vs. the Hurricanes. In three career starts against Carolina, Mason is 3-0-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage.


10:25 A.M.:
The morning skate is wrapping up now. Derek MacKenzie looks to have been the last skater to reach interim head coach Todd Richards, so he gets the honor of skating an extra lap following the skate. As Richards told us yesterday, MacKenzie will not play tonight vs. the Hurricanes but is progressing toward a return.

As the players start to make their way to the locker room, we will catch up with them and get updates on tonight's starting goaltender.



10:05 A.M.:

It looks as if the lines used in yesterday's practice are going to be used for tonight's game. Interim head coach Todd Richards said yesterday that it would be a possibility, and it looks to be the case. Cam Atkinson will move up and play alongside R.J. Umberger and Derick Brassard, while Rick Nash will slot on the right side of Vinny Prospal and Mark Letestu.

Nash and Prospal had great chemistry together at the start of the season, so it's a combination that has worked before.

Here are the lines being used by the Blue Jackets in today's morning skate:
Umberger-Brassard-Atkinson
Prospal-Letestu-Nash
Russell-Johansen-Dorsett
Gillies-Boyce-Boll

Jack Johnson-Savard
Nikitin-Aaron Johnson
Lebda-Moore

Mason
York


9:55 A.M.:

Good morning from Nationwide Arena! It's a game day (and a Friday) as the Blue Jackets take on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight. We're posted up at the morning skate, so keep an eye on this blog for all the latest news and updates on the game. While we're waiting for the Blue Jackets to trickle on to the ice here, make sure to visit BlueJackets.com for today's edition of "GAME DAY," our exclusive preview breaking down the game vs. Carolina.

Here is the link to GAME DAY.



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