COLUMBUS OH - Psssst,,, Rick wanted me to tell you... you smell nice. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
I think it's been said more than once in the GameTime paper (SLGT: The Magazine?) that the hardest team to write about is the Columbus Blue Jackets. Believe me, I feel their pain. Aside from Rick Nash, it's hard to assign an identity or personality to the team, the city, or their fans. It is very easy to overlook them, and while division games are always important, they were not considered a real threat. I believe, in seasons past, the fans and the team both have taken a "Live and Let Live" approach.
That shit don't fly no more.
The Enemy: Tell me if this sounds familiar: A Central Division team that doesn't score very many goals relies on their Montreal-drafted goaltender and a rookie coach from the AHL to help them surprise the league and win games. That would be the BJs in a nutshell. Like the Blues, they have only scored 32 goals this year (in only one more game than STL has played), yet come into tonight's matchup with a record of 8-5-0. Only one team in the Western Conference has fewer goals: Nashville, with 31. The play of Mathieu Garon (MTL's 2nd round pick in 1996) has led the way, taking over Steve Mason's role as go-to goalie with the team. Luckily, rumor has it that we will be facing Steve Mason tonight. He seems to have extended his sophomore slump from last year into this season (3.30 GGA / .894 SV%).
Their defense is bolstered by Rostislav Klesla, who is among the league leaders for +/-, with a +12 rating. Also, Mike Commodore has been cleared to play, and may join the team at any time. Forwards Andrew Murray and Kristian Huselius are also due back soon, so we could see them tonight. Regardless who is on the ice, it would be foolish to relax against this team. They can beat you if you do not take them seriously.
What does it matter to ya
When you got a job to do
You gotta do it well
You gotta give the other fellow hell