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What to watch for (as well)

New CBJ Television Analyst Danny Gare highlights his favorite games on the 2006-07 schedule

Friday, 09.08.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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What to watch for (as well)
Columbus Blue Jackets Television Color Analyst Danny Gare, a former NHL All-Star, played 13 seasons in the NHL with Buffalo, Detroit and Edmonton, scoring 354 goals, 331 assists and 1,285 PIMs in 827 games before retiring from the NHL in 1987. Prior to joining FSN Ohio and the Blue Jackets, Gare served as a studio analyst and ice level reporter on Sabres broadcasts from 1987 to 1992 and 1995 to 2004.

He was also the TV color analyst for the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 1992-93 season before serving as an assistant coach from 1993-95. Gare too, is looking forward to a few key games on the 2006-07 Blue Jackets schedule.

Fans, if you are as excited as Gare is, single-game tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, available at the Nationwide Arena box office, all Chiller locations, as well as here on CBJ.com.

Friday, Jan. 26 - Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Buffalo Sabres:
“The Sabres were one of the most exciting teams in the league last year because of their speed and their attack combined with the excellent goaltending of Martin Biron and Ryan Miller. That is why the team had such a jump in the standings last year and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.

“When you look at Buffalo, they really didn’t make a lot of changes to the team that had such great chemistry in the playoffs last season. They did pick up former Blue Jacket defenseman Jaroslav Spacek, who started last season with Chicago and finished with Edmonton, to help the blueline.

Daniel Briere, Chris Drury and Maxim Afinogenov are exciting fast players that find the net in the National Hockey League. I believe this team will make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference as Lindy Ruff is one of the premiere coaches in the national hockey league.”

Columbus has not played Buffalo since Mar. 29, 2004, a 6-0 Buffalo win at HSBC Arena. Despite the loss, Columbus is still 3-2-1 all-time vs. the Sabres and undefeated at Nationwide Arena, posting a 1-0-1 mark. Don’t forget to assure that you get tickets to find out if the Jackets can stay perfect against the Sabres at home 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.

Tuesday, Dec. 26 - Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Boston Bruins:
“I think Boston has had some lean years recently and had to clean house during the off season. The hiring of former Red Wing head coach Dave Lewis was a great move and he is motivated to show that he can still coach in the league after being released from the Detroit Red Wings. He and the coaching staff are putting their stamp on this team and really giving new life to the organization.

“Zdeno Chara was someone that everyone in the NHL wanted, but the Bruins paid the most for him and got him, he is a huge addition to the Bruins defense. They also added some key guys like defenseman Paul Mara, a Boston native who is returning to try and bring some life back into that defensive corps.

“Offensively, Marc Savard was another great addition to the team and he had a great year offensively in Atlanta last season. Those are some key players that could make a difference for that team.

“Patrice Bergeron led the team in goals and had 73 points last year he could be one of the guys that steps up and takes on a leadership role for the departed Joe Thornton.”

Columbus has not played Buffalo since Nov. 14, 2003, a 4-0 Boston win. The loss pushed Columbus’ record vs. the Bruins below .500 at 2-3-0 in five meetings. Don’t forget to assure that you get tickets to see the new-look Boston Bruins 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.

Wednesday, Nov. 22 - Columbus Blue Jackets vs. St. Louis Blues:
“When you have good direction at the top and good ownership it should bleed down through the rest of the organization and the Blues finally have that with a new ownership group in place. Former Jackets goaltending coach Rick Wamsley has joined the organization as an assistant coach and will help with the goaltending for the club, which was up in the air last season.

“This team is in transition and they brought in some guys that can help stabilize the organization. Keith Tkachuk is a great player and I think he will rebound from a tough year last season. Free agent acquisition Bill Guerin is also a tough player that had an off year with Dallas, and he is going to come back and prove that he can still play.

“Doug Weight is coming off a high of winning a Stanley Cup and he will be a strong leader in the locker room. Manny Legace, coming over from Detroit, will help stabilize the team in goal. This is a team that can surprise people if it stays healthy and gets those veteran players to play well.”

The Jackets and St. Louis Blues will meet eight times in 2006-07, with four home dates starting on Nov. 22, with games on Jan. 9, Feb. 14 and Mar. 25. Columbus went 5-2-1 last year against the Blues, matching the teams win total of the previous four seasons (5-11-5), pushing the club’s record to 10-13-6 all-time against their Central Division Rivals.

Don’t forget to assure that you get tickets to see this big rival 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.

Saturday, Dec. 16 - Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Chicago Blackhawks:
“The big addition to Chicago is Martin Havlat, who is a premier player in the NHL and has been for years. They need offense from him to help this young, rising team. They continue to develop and he should help keep the pressure off the younger guys if he can stay healthy.

“The other key to the team is goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who struggled last year, going from a Stanley Cup winning team to a non-playoff team. Khabibulin has to be a better player this season and really step up and be the guy they need in the net.

“One exciting date that the two teams will have on the slate is the Dec. 31 game, the return of hockey to Columbus on New Years Eve. What a great way to break in the New Year.”

The Jackets Chicago Blackhawks will meet eight times in 2006-07 with four home dates starting on Dec. 16, with games on Dec. 31, Feb. 11 and Mar. 20. Columbus went 5-3-0 last year against the Blackhawks, pushing the club’s record to 13-14-2 all-time against their Central Division Rivals.

Don’t forget to assure that you get tickets to see this big rival 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.

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