COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 15: James Wisniewski #21 of the Columbus Blue Jackets controls the puck in front of Dany Heatley #15 of the Minnesota Wild during their game at Nationwide Arena on November 15, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. The Wild defeated the Blue Jackets 4-2. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
The Blue Jackets are asking some of the fans in the community to highlight some of the more interesting home games on the upcoming 2012-2013 season schedule, and our first pick comes at the end of the team's first home stand, Friday, the 26th, against the Minnesota Wild. (AKA Zach Parise's Gravy Train)
Let's consider the history between the Jackets and Wild. Expansion brothers back in 2000, the Wild may have been a bit staid and boring, but they've seen several more playoff appearances and a quiet level of competency before this summer's remarkable spending spree.
Let's put it this way - if the Jackets are the ne'er do well little brother who finally got himself on the right track and a half decent job as a record store manager instead of busting heads and touring as a roadie for ThunderTuunge, the Wild are the brother who went to community college, got a CPA, always kept his hair short, and just showed up to Thanksgiving dinner in his brand new Porsche.
Think you'd feel a bit of a resentment for Goody Little Two-Shoes?
Players to Watch:
- Cal Clutterbuck - Oh, you think we've forgotten last year? Oh, no, no we haven't. Admittedly, probably 65% of the crap that happened last season was totally unrelated to Wisniewski's suspension, but it's a score that'd be nice to settle, especially if A) the team can pick up two points and B) Buttercup ended up leaving a few teeth behind in Ohio.
- Zach Parise - One of Minnesota's two new $7.6 million dollar men, the former Devils' captain will be looking to make an impression early on his new club, but he'll still be working to adjust to the new lineup, and the Jackets are one of the few teams who might have an edge on figuring him out in his new conference, because of...
- Brandon Dubinsky - As a former Ranger, Dubi knows all about Mr. Parise. 6 games a season since the lockout, two different playoff series, intense suppressed rage from the Eastern Conference Finals...yeah, they've met. As a shutdown player, Dubinsky was actually quite effective playing against Parise's line. If Dubi and his linemates can establish that the uniforms may change, but the brutally effective shutdown remains the same, that's a good precedent to set early and often.
- Colton Gillies - The former 2007 first round pick of the boys in forest green, Gillies isn't an offensive powerhouse, but he did pick up some points against his former club after being picked up on waivers, and who knows? Perhaps he can get the new season off on the right foot by dropping one or two more pucks past his old chums.
How You Can Join The Battle
As I mentioned earlier, this is the end of the team's first brief homestand of the regular season. As a Friday night game, it's a good time to load up the building and get some good, vocal fans out to fire up the boys and get the weekend rolling. Games against the Wild aren't always high profile draws, but consider there's several guys on the Minnesota roster who could be back in January as part of the All Star Game festivities, and it's a nice opportunity to check out some impressive talent while rooting for the good guys.
Come out, get loud, and don't forget to give Buttercup a piece of your mind when he hits the ice. Who could ask for a better night out?