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Game Preview 1 (X) - It's About Time!

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HOCKEY!!

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jackets vs. Penguins

Monday, September 21, 2015 - 7:00 PM EDT
Nationwide Arena - Columbus, OH
Radio: WBNS 1460 AM
Opponent's Blog - Pensburgh

It's not often that a team can finish a good bit out of a playoff race and the team's fans immediately are excited for the next season. After a season where we beat the phrase "Man Games Lost" to absolute death, that has been our summer.

In short, I don't know anyone that hasn't been waiting for this training camp to start since the moment the season ended in April.

With all of the big happenings this off-season, combined with the (presumed) health of the club, gone--for now--is the shadow that was looming over this team almost all of last season.

These games are technically meaningless (witness the Jackets going 7-1-0 last pre-season), but Columbus has so many players in camp that it will give them a chance to see some of their younger and fringe players playing in a bit more competitive environment. And, before the injury bug really destroyed this team, Alexander Wennberg AND Marko Dano forced their way into the opening night lineup after strong pre-seasons.

So, not entirely meaningless.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets 
('13-'14: 42-35-5, 89 Points; 5th division, 11th conference)

Scott Hartnell Alexander Wennberg Cam Atkinson
Sonny Milano William Karlsson Oliver Bjorkstrand
Antti Pihlstrom Michael Chaput Josh Anderson
Kerby Rychel James Sheppard Jared Boll
Ryan Murray David Savard
Kevin Connauton Dalton Prout
Andrew Bodnarchuk Michael Paliotta
Joonas Korpisalo
Brad Thiessen

Pittsburgh Penguins
('13-'14: 43-27-12, 98 Points; 4th Division, 8th Conference)

(Roster is Listed Alphabetically)

Forwards – Josh Archibald, Beau Bennett, Nick Bonino, Matt Cullen, Bobby Farnham, Tom Kostopoulos, Kael Mouillierat, David Perron, Tom Sestito, Conor Sheary, Oskar Sundqvist, Scott Wilson, Anton Zlobin

DefensemenNiclas Andersen, Tim Erixon, Ben Lovejoy, Reid McNeill, Steve Olesky, Harrison Ruopp, David Warsofsky

Goalies – Tristan Jarry, Jeff Zatkoff

Obviously, the Jackets look to be the stronger team, at home in this setup. The Penguins are sending the bare minimum of "veterans" and even the Jackets are light on big names. But, as noted above, a lot of strong prospects for Columbus will be looking to make an impression.