Game 1 Preview: A New Chapter

Time to drop the puck! The Jackets are still in Sweden, playing a back-to-back series against the San Jose Sharks as part of NHL Premiere 2010. There are many reasons for optimism going into the season- exciting young forwards, a great young goaltender with a chip on his shoulder, and an all-new coaching staff. The roster that will take to the ice this afternoon is healthy coming out of camp with the exception of Andrew Murray, who was no sure thing to be in the lineup in the first place.

The Sharks are a great team. They chose not to bring back goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, instead they are going with a tandem of 2010 cup winner Antti Niemi and Antero Niittymaki. Captain Rob Blake has retired, but the defense remains strong, led by Dan Boyle. The Sharks' strength is up front- the line of Thornton, Heatley and Marleau is lethal. Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Jamie McGinn are important cogs in the offense as well.

This is a big opportunity for Columbus. They are going to get national exposure by taking part in the Premiere series. Playing well and beating the Sharks will go a long way to changing the perception of the team.

Fearless Prediction: First goal of the season is scored by none other than Rick Nash!

Game Time: 3:00ET

Opponent's Blog: Fear The Fin

TV: TSN, Versus

Radio: WBNS 1460

More after the jump...

From the Columbus Dispatch:

The Blue Jackets open their 10th season by playing the franchise's first game outside North America. Scott Arniel makes his NHL coaching debut after nine seasons as a minor-league coach or NHL assistant. Perhaps Stockholm will be kinder than San Jose, where the Jackets haven't won (0-10-1) since Jan. 8, 2004. Exactly one year ago, the Sharks beat the Jackets 6-2 in San Jose, led by Dany Heatley, who had a hat trick and a plus-6 rating.

Jackets Links:

Columbus Blue Jackets / Columbus Blue Jackets Schedule

Columbus Blue Jackets Roster / Columbus Blue Jackets Stats

Here are the lineups for tonight:

Columbus Blue Jackets

Kristian Huselius
Antoine Vermette
Rick Nash
Nikita Filatov
Derick Brassard
Jakub Voracek
Ethan Moreau
Samuel Pahlsson
R.J. Umberger
Derek Dorsett
Derek MacKenzie
Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin
Marc Methot
Rostislav Klesla
Mike Commodore
Anton Stralman
Jan Hejda
Steve Mason
Mathieu Garon

EXTRA: Kyle Wilson,Chris Clark

INJURED/SICK: Kris Russell, Andrew Murray, Tomas Kana

San Jose Sharks

Patrick Marleau
Logan Couture
Dany Heatley
Jamie McGinn
Joe Thornton
Devin Setoguchi
Ryane Clowe
Joe Pavelski
Torrey Mitchell
Frazer McLaren
Scott Nichol
John McCarthy
Dan Boyle
Douglas Murray
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Niclas Wallin
Kent Huskins
Jason Demers
Antti Niemi
Antero Niittymaki

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