From Vancouver, the CBJ had two days to prepare and that is what we had in yesterday's practice with 13 skaters and a goaltender. Leclaire is feeling OK and they are watching him day to day. Popperle will come up and back up for tonight.
Duvie Westcott is out of the lineup with concussion like symptoms. He did pass a series of tests with no problem and that is good news.
Fredrik Modin is skating and is cautiously taking the next step to get back in the lineup.
Kris Beech is up and with the team and will be followed by Popperle and defenseman Marc Methot. Popperle is 5-8-0 with a 3.3 GAA and a .889 save%.
Sitting and watching the last two days of practice the players continue to be instructed on the nuances of positioning in the defensive zone coverage and breakouts. Emphasis on quickness and support were obvious. The last half of practice Wednesday really emphasized the PP and the ability to get pucks through from the point and going to the net off the hash marks from the boards to the blue of the crease.
Vancouver is 3-1-1 in the last five, stand 1st in the Northwest Division. They currently have two shutouts, over Anaheim (4-0) and Chicago (2-0) in the last two outings, and Luongo is playing some great hockey... Ryan Kesler, the OSU product, had two goals in the win over Anaheim and is becoming a thorn in the sides of all NHL teams. Jim Hughson, Canada's voice when it comes to play-by-play, says he may not be the offensive threat, but his defensive game and agitation will keep him around for a while.
The Canucks recognized the return of Todd Bertuzzi in last Tuesday's game. It was a nice tribute but there was less buzz about his presence as the game went on.
Marcus Naslund has seven goals in the past seven games, but more importantly 8g-19a in 25 career games versus the CBJ. Not a real good sign now that he has teamed back up with the Sedin twins.
One player to watch for those people watching FSN Ohio, is the youngster Alexander Edler. He is leading the team with a +8 and has the intelligence and patience to create something out of nothing in the offensive end. He does possess a "howitzer".
Lines Wednesday in practice were highlighted with Clint Malarchuk in the nets. Apparently there are some negotiations to collect something for Clint to make him happy… whether it is food, meal money or a beverage allowance, negotiations were finalized before "Mallard" hit the ice. He did look OK… for a… I am not going there!
Game day tomorrow morning should again be highlighted by media scrums that are witnessed by 7/8 TV cameras, Sportsnet, Fox, TSN etc etc. Hockey in the Canadian cities in a right of passage and no one misses a beat!!
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings". The Columbus Blue Jackets broadcasters will try to keep you update on all the behind the scenes action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets hit the road. The next road game is 12/1 @Calgary.