WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: Curtis Sanford #30 of the Columbus Blue Jackets makes a save against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on September 26, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
The regular season is just days away, so now is a perfect time to take a quick look at how things are going for the Blue Jackets and some of the key players so far this pre-season.
The Jackets have compiled a record of 3-2-1 with two games remaining. My favorite player so far, and a standout by many accounts, has been Maksim Mayorov. He's made the most of his pre-season and is on track to earn his spot on the team.
With backup goalie Mark Dekanich down with an injury for another few weeks at least, Aaron Portzline reports that Curtis Sanford looked solid in his 32-save effort against Washington, likely securing the backup job at least until Dekanich returns. Portzline also mentions that Steve Mason was very good and kept his composure in a 4-1 win over Buffalo. As we all know, the play of the goalies will be a big factor in whether or not the Jackets can make a playoff run.
Some stat standouts, courtesy of NHL.com:
Fedor Tyutin is tied for 2nd in assists and points on the pre-season, with 4 assists and 5 points. I predicted Fedor Tyutin as the player to finally hit his stride this season, and stats-wise, he hasn't disappointed so far.
Maksim Mayorov and Derek MacKenzie are 2 of only 15 players with short-handed goals this pre-season. Only Boston, Vancouver, and Calgary are the other teams with two players that have scored short-handed.
Steve Mason has a 2-0 record with a 1.95 GAA and .920 Sv. %. It's just pre-season, but that's exactly what we need to see from Mason. No game can be taken lightly at this point.
With the 8 regular season games James Wisniewski will miss due to suspension, Matt looks at how the defensive pairings may shake out, at least to start the season.
All in all, things are looking good. Notice how I'm at the end of the post and haven't mentioned Rick Nash? That's a good thing. He's no longer the lone bright spot on the team, or the only leader on the ice or on the stat sheet. For more on the news around Blue Jackets camp and the NHL, check out today's edition of Shrapnel.