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Preseason Games 1&2 Preview/GameThread: Columbus Blue Jackets split squad for home and home matchups vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Hockey is back!

NHL: APR 29 Blue Jackets at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Sunday, September 25, 2022
Game 1: 1:00 PM EDT, PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
Game 2: 7:00 PM EDT, Nationwide Arena, Columbus OH
TV: - Radio: 97.1 FM, audio streaming on the Blue Jackets app
Opponent’s Blog: Pensburgh

Friends, welcome back to hockey season.

After opening training camp last week, and practicing before the fans in the Ice Haus on Saturday, the Blue Jackets will hit the ice for their first preseason contests of the new year. Half of the squad will make the trek to Pittsburgh to play in PPG Paints Arena at 1:00 PM while the other half will for the night cap at 7:00 PM in Nationwide Arena.

Player to Watch

Johnny Gaudreau

Can it be anyone else? The Blue Jackets snagged the most high profile free agent of the summer and could make his debut today in the Union Blue. Gaudreau is coming off a season where he posted a 40-75-115 statline (all career best numbers), finished as a postseason All Star, and finished 4th in Hart Trophy voting. Gaudreau immediately brings credibility to the Columbus lineup and raises expectations for the season. Fans will be clambering for their first glimpse of the prize signing.

Jackets Notes

Cole Sillinger is day to day following an upper body injury on day one of training camp … Erik Gudbranson will also likely make his debut for the Blue Jackets today … Victor Rask, Ben Harpur, and James Neal, signed to PTOs, will likely not make the roster but are camp bodies to satisfy league requirements for preseason games … all 22 players who played in Traverse City, including new draft picks Denton Mateychuk and David Jiricek, are in camp for Columbus this month

The Other Bench

The Penguins made a big move in the off-season, trading Mike Matheson to the Montreal Canadiens for Jeff Petry to help shore up their defense … The Penguins also re-signed Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin to multi-year extensions, locking down the Penguins core for what will likely be the remainder of Sidney Crosby’s career … The Penguins also re-signed free agents Bryan Rust and Rickard Rakell to long term deals … The Penguins brough in Jan Rutta and Josh Archibald in free agency