John Moore looks to continue his run of steady play against the Flyers tonight. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
Columbus Blue Jackets ownership, management, coaches, support staff, players, media and fans are all in the same boat right now. We're all down in the dumps, and we're all wondering what has led to such a disastrous start to the season. It hurts even more because there was so much optimism this past summer, we were all on cloud nine, so when everything came crashing down we had further to fall, and fall we did. I can't remember a moment in my life where I felt so defeated, even from a fan perspective. I've been around since day one. There have been some truly difficult times, but the team wasn't supposed to be good. This time around, they were expected to take the next step.
With all that though, this is my team. The Jackets are an overwhelming part of my life, in many different ways. I'm not fairweather, I'm die-hard. I am committed to this team and I am sticking with them, so to every and all member of ownership, management, the coaching staff, the support staff, the players, media and fanbase-
(Note: Lines are based on combinations used in practice yesterday and are subject to change)
Columbus Blue Jackets
('11-'12: 2-10-1, 5 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)
('11-'12: 7-4-2, 16 Points; 2nd Division, 4th Conference)
By The Numbers ('11-'12 Season)
PHI - 3.62 G/G (9th)
CBJ - 2.23 G/G (24th)
PHI - 3.15 GA/G (27th)
CBJ - 3.31 GA/G (29th)
PHI - 19.0% (11th)
CBJ - 9.5% (29th)
PHI- 83.9% (16th
CBJ - 72.7% (28th)
- The Jackets will be facing two former mates tonight- Jake Voracek and Jody Shelley. All the best to these guys, and there's a special connection for me as they are also former Halifax Mooseheads.
- Cam Atkinson was called up today, not sure where he'll slide into the lineup though. I'm going to speculate and say that Cody Bass will sit out, but then again, some toughness is required against the Flyers so maybe Alexandre Giroux takes a seat, with Atkinson playing with DMac and Umby.
- Here are the players still out of action for Columbus- Kristian Huselius, Jeff Carter, Mark Dekanich, Radek Martinek, Curtis Sanford, Jared Boll.
Chris Pronger is out for the Flyers, as he's still recovering from an eye injury.
- The Flyers have middle-of-the-pack special teams, so Columbus needs to capitalize on that. This is the kind of game where a powerplay goal (or two) by the Jackets are borderline crucial.
Vinny Prospal and Rick Nash share the team lead in point scoring, with ten points apiece.
- Vermette has yet to sc..nope. Not saying it.
Ryan Johansen has been arguably the team's top forward the past 3-4 games, I'm curious to see how he fares tonight against a tough team, on the road. Tonight will be a true test.
James Wisniewski will score tonight.
Derick Brassard is a nasty -8 on the year. DMac leads the team with a +3.
- Claude Giroux is second in league scoring with 17 points.
- Jaromir Jagr, the ageless wonder, is scoring at a point-per-game pace with 13 in 13.
- Rookie Sean Couturier, the player the Flyers drafted with Columbus' pick, acquired for Jeff Carter, has really impressed. He leads the Flyers in +/- with a +7 and holds down the checking line center position.
Steve Mason will get the start for Columbus. Don't be shocked if Bobrovsky gets the nod for Philly. Mase had a terrible game against the Leafs, so I look for him to refocus and bounce back. If he can make the saves he needs to make, and the Jackets can have success on special teams, a victory could be in store. If not, yikes. The Flyers have a ton of offensive talent and are just the team that could blow the Jackets out of the water.
Good luck in Philly, fellas.