What to watch for
CBJ television announcer Jeff Rimer highlights his favorite games on the 2006-07 schedule
Monday, Oct. 9 - Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Phoenix Coyotes:
"The new-look Phoenix Coyotes come to town led by the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, entering his sophomore year behind the bench. The team has revamped its defense with newly signed D Ed Jovanovski (Vancouver) and D Nick Boynton, who was acquired in a trade with Boston for defenseman Paul Mara.
In between the pipes is 39-year old Curtis Joseph who continues to climb up the all-time win chart, entering the season with 428, which is third all-time behind Ed Belfour (457) and Martin Brodeur (446).
The game also will give Columbus hockey fans their first glimpse at Jeremy Roenick’s second tour of duty with the Coyotes, as Roenick has promised a big come-back season after struggling last year in Los Angeles. Last season Roenick totaled just nine goals on the season, which was tied for this career-low with his rookie season of 1988-89. Roenick will look to regain the form of his first stint with the Coyotes, scoring 131 goals with 210 assists for 341 points in five seasons in Phoenix from 1996-2001.
In 2005-06, Columbus split the four-game series with the Coyotes with both teams going 1-1-0 on the other’s home ice. The big win for the CBJ was Jan. 8, when Bryan Berard tallied his first career hat trick to lead the Jackets to their first-ever win in the desert, 5-2. The 2-2-0 mark vs. the Coyotes improved Columbus’ all-time record to 6-10-4, including 5-4-1 at home.
Columbus will also play host to the Coyotes on Feb. 6. Don’t forget to assure that you get tickets for this game by logging on to CBJ.com or visiting the Nationwide Arena Box office or one of the Chiller locations, starting at 10 a.m. on Sept. 9.
Friday, Oct. 27 - Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Los Angeles Kings:
“Columbus fans will get their first glimpse of the Los Angeles Kings when they come to town on Friday, Oct. 27. After a lackluster season in 2005-06, the Kings cleaned house, shedding General Manager Dave Taylor and the entire coaching staff. Dean Lombardi has taken over as GM and acted quickly to lock up fiery head coach Marc Crawford.
“The big news out of Los Angeles is the return of All-Star and Norris Trophy-winning Rob Blake, who is the highest scoring defenseman in Kings history after originally being drafted by Los Angeles in 1988. He spent 12 seasons with the club beginning in 1989-90 before a high-profile trade sent him to Colorado in 2001.
“The club also added Gritty former San Jose Sharks Alyn McCauley and Scott Thornton to help bolster a Los Angeles roster that features Craig Conroy and Sean Avery, who is dedicated to clean up his act this season.
"And also, the Blue Jackets will celebrate youth and amateur hockey with "Hockey Night in Columbus," where young hockey players are encouraged to wear their jerseys at the game."
In 2005-06, Columbus went 1-3-0 vs. the Kings, with the one win being a big one, scoring seven goals in a 7-4 win on Feb. 8. The 1-3-0 mark dropped the Jackets all-time record vs. Los Angeles to 9-10-1 and the club will look to even that mark in 2006-07.
Los Angeles will also come to town on Wednesday, Mar. 7. To order tickets for this game or any other game, log on to Bluejackets.com or visit the Nationwide Arena Box office or one of the Chillers. Single-game tickets go on sale on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 10 a.m.
Saturday, Nov. 25 - Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Minnesota Wild:
“This will be Columbus fans first look at a Minnesota Wild team that does not even resemble the same team that finished the 2005-06 season with a 38-36-8 record, finishing the season in 11th place in the Western Conference.
“They first big move made by Minnesota management was to lock up their stud scorer, Marian Gaborik long term, keeping the Wild’s premier offensive player on the team in Minnesota. Gaborik has been a 30-goal scorer three times in his five-year career, including a career-high 38 last year.
“In addition they added his good friend and fellow Slovakian, Pavol Demitra from the Kings in a draft day trade with the Los Angeles Kings. The addition of Demitra, who has scored 241 goals in the NHL, will give the Wild some punch up front. In addition, the club signed Mark Parrish, a Minnesota native, who will be playing the role of a 30-goal scorer in Minnesota.
“The team also beefed up the blue line, signing Kim Johnsson, who, if healthy, will quarterback the power play for this team and be the go-to guy on the blue line.”
The Jackets took three-of-four games vs. Minnesota last season, the most thrilling of which was a 2-1 shootout win on Oct. 28. The game was the first to go to a shootout in franchise history and went five rounds of sudden death. The 3-1-0 mark improved CBJ’s all-time record to 10-7-1 against their expansion brethren. The club will also host Minnesota on Jan. 27.
Don’t forget to assure that you get tickets for this game by logging on to CBJ.com or visiting the Nationwide Arena Box office or one of the Chiller locations, starting at 10 a.m. on Sept. 9.
Friday, Mar. 29 - Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Anaheim Ducks:
“The team formerly known as the Mighty Ducks, dropped the Mighty from their name and put him on their blue line. The Ducks went to the Conference Finals last season, only to lose to the Edmonton Oilers in five games. So they added the Oilers top defenseman, Chris Pronger in an off-season trade with Edmonton. Now the Ducks have arguably the top-two defensemen in the game on the power play. Pronger will team with Scott Niedermayer to form a dynamic pair on the Ducks Blueline.
“Up front the Ducks boast young guns, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Dustin Penner who will team up with the emerging Andy McDonald and the rejuvenated veteran Teemu Selanne to form a potent offense for the Ducks.
“The teams will meet twice in 10 days as the season winds down with the two teams battling for playoff positioning. The games will also mark the return of two former Blue Jackets, Francois Beauchemin and Todd Marchant.”
Last season, the clubs played some very competitive hockey splitting four games with the highlight being a dramatic 1-0 shutout on Dec. 28, with Jason Chimera tallying the game-winning goal late in the third period. In addition, CBJ emerged victorious in a 3-2 shoot out in Anaheim on Mar. 5, with Rick Nash tallying the game-winner. The 2-2-0 split pushed the Jackets all time record to 10-8-2 vs. Anaheim.
The teams will also play Apr. 7, the second time in a 10-day span. Fans, if you are as excited as Rimer is about this up-coming season and some of these great match ups, single-game tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Sept. 9, available at the Nationwide Arena box office, all Chiller locations, as well as here on CBJ.com.