ANAHEIM CA - NOVEMBER 19: Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrates his goal with teammate Derek Brassard #16 in the first period against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on November 19 2010 in Anaheim California. The Blue Jackets defeated the Ducks 4-3. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Somewhere there are orange trees.
Somewhere, skies are blue.
Somewhere there is a bridge across the world from me to you.
Sometimes in the darkest sky, sun comes shining through.
Yet tonight it seems so far from me to you.
OK, OK, I'll stop with the Big Country, but you have to admit it's a strangely appropriate song for a Jackets team currently out in Anaheim (Orange County, no less!) to face the Ducks while their own roster is currently in some serious flux thanks to Mike Commodore's trade request and the seemingly omnipresent rumors that a move is going to go down.
I can't imagine it's a fun environment to prepare for a game in, but the Jackets can't let the Ducks take advantage of that...
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|Blue Jackets vs Ducks coverage|
|Opponent's Blog: Anaheim Calling
With no word on Mike Commodore's waiver claim until noon today, the talk is that Scott Howson does have a "major" trade in the pipes - and that the Columbus GM, after flying to Columbus yesterday, is now reportedly going out to LA to speak to Scott Arniel.
I don't actually buy that Howson wants to discuss his possible trade with the head coach - after all, there are these things called telephones that let two people discuss matters at long distances.
I think it's more likely that whatever Howson wanted to set up is now loaded and in the barrel, and he's waiting for another factor before he pulls the trigger. He was planning to fly to LA after the World Juniors to spend the road trip with the team before all this started, so now he's just getting back onto his original plan.
Still, IF a move goes down today, it probably wouldn't hurt for him to be there to talk to the club about it.
Keys To The Game:
We Can Always Start Again - The Jackets have shown a lot of success when they get the first goal...but the big change in the Phoenix game was that they got back into it after the Coyotes did score on them. They need to keep that resiliency, but marry it to a bit more sense of urgency to bury opportunities when they find them.
Some Of Us Are Born To Fall - With Ryan Getzlaf, a big piece of their offense, out for 4-6 weeks, the Ducks made a deal to acquire agitator Maxime Lapierre from Montreal to provide more grit and nastiness. The Jackets need to handle him the same way they did Sean Avery and Steve Ott recently - let him take the stupid penalties, refuse to rise to his bait, and pay him back with interest on the Power Play.
Deep Into The Darkest Hour - The Jackets cannot let this week weigh on them. I'm hoping the addition of Matt Calvert to the lineup, and the energy he'll bring, will help to lift the Jackets up and distract them from everything whirling around their heads. As distracting as it could potentially be, I almost hope that a trade (if one should happen) would go down well before the game, just to get it off everyone's minds and letting them focus on hockey.
The only building in the Western Conference aside from Nationwide that the Jackets have a winning record in is the Honda Center. Let's keep that number tallying up, boys. Tonight and tomorrow night are a chance to at least go .500 on this first road trip of 2010. We need 2 points tonight!
|Kristian Huselius||Antoine Vermette||Rick Nash|
|R.J. Umberger||Derick Brassard||Jakub Voracek|
|Matt Calvert||Samuel Pahlsson||Chris Clark|
|Jared Boll||Derek MacKenzie||Derek Dorsett|
|Jan Hejda||Fedor Tyutin|
|Rostislav Klesla||Marc Methot|
|Anton Stralman||Kris Russell|
|Matt Beleskey||Bobby Ryan||Corey Perry|
|Brandon MacMillan||Saku Koivu||Teemu Selanne|
|Dan Sexton||Maxim Lapierre||Joffrey Lupul|
|Todd Marchant||Kyle Chipchura|
|Tony Lydman||Lubomir Visnovsky|