Archive for September, 2009


Roster Set, Stralman coming


Your starting roster for the 2009-10 Columbus Blue Jackets has been officially picked, very much what was expected:

Forward: Michael Blunden, Jared Boll, Derick Brassard, Jason Chimera, Derek Dorsett, Nikita Filatov, Kristian Huselius, Fredrik Modin (on IR), Andrew Murray, Rick Nash, Sammy Pahlsson, Raffi Torres, R.J. Umberger, Antoine Vermette, Jake Voracek.

Defense: Mike Commodore, Jan Hejda, Rostislav Klesla, Marc Methot, Kris Russell, Anton Stralman, Fedor Tyutin.

Goaltender: Mathieu Garon, Steve Mason

Per Puck-Rakers

No big surprises throughout the roster, I don’t expect any other moves until Modin comes off the IR, or heaven forbid there is another injury… which wouldn’t be overly surprising. The CBJ will be practicing the rest of the week, probably without recently acquired Anton Stralman who is an enigma to me. Not only is his Wikipedia page short, but there isn’t much info anywhere, besides his stats courtesy of

Screen shot 2009-09-29 at 8.00.21 PM

He has seen very limited NHL action in his young career and there is not an overabundance of videos for me to feel comfortable judging this player. When scouring the net for info, I did come across a Calgary blog with a suggestion for the conversation Howson and Flames GM Darryl Sutter. Just based off of this speculation and the comments on that blog, it seems we may have found ourselves a gem.

This move screams Howson on all fronts. I believe Eric Smith broke the part of the story that intrigues me the most:

I talked to General Manager Scott Howson about it and he seems a lot less worried but made it very clear that the right-handed shot was a big deal. “He has a right handed shot with offensive upside that we feel he will show,” stated Howson. “We have had interest in him when he was in Toronto and Calgary.”

Howson is said to have coveted Tyutin for quite sometime and I remember hearing the same about Vermette, both now integral pieces of the Blue Jackets roster. The upside is very strong here getting an offensive d-man with a right shot, and the size that Hitch can’t hate (6’2″ 200lbs). I don’t expect his papers to clear in time for him to practice enough and be part of the opening night festivities, but I do expect him to join and play on the 3 game roadie that follows the home opener.


Derrick. Brassard. JACKETS WIN

This won’t be the most in-depth re-cap because “it’s just the pre-season” I will admit however that I did cheer pretty heartily for a few goals last night, it’s just too natural of a reaction. Anyway, on to the game. Looking past the box score, it was an all around impressive showing by the boys in Blue. Here’s kind of a line-by-line assessment.


All around, impressive. Together the line accounted for 7 points and were always a threat to put the puck in the net. Brassard was all over the ice and just when I started to think Nash was somewhat invisible, he had his outstanding “breakaway” goal. I will say this, I for one was surprised/impressed with Juice’s performance on the PK and on the forecheck. It seemed he was on a mission to get antagonize the daylights out of every Wild player who had possession of the puck.

Wild Blue Jackets Hockey


Vermette was pretty darn outstanding all around, the above picture coming after he blocked a point shot by the Wild, and took the puck the other way sneaking it through Harding’s five-hole. Umberger normally would be found on the wing of this line, but was held out as a precaution due to a small injury. By the end of the game Torres would also be out with back spasms after scoring the opening goal of the night. The line was solid all around and generated a lot of good pressure.


Sammy Pahlsson proved a significant force all over the ice. What I was most impressed with was is the offensive skill that he seemingly possesses. He did assist on the opening Torres goal, but it looked like there was some untapped scoring potential that could be clutch during the stretch run of the regular season.


These guys were pests all night. It didn’t become a big deal to the latter half of the 2nd period and a good chunk of the 3rd. Picard became a human wrecking ball for a good bit of time hitting anything not wearing a CBJ sweater. Along with Picard, Blunden was involved in a nice fight and didn’t look half bad for the duration of the game.

On defense, the only two guys I want to mention are John Moore and of course, Steve Mason. John Moore of course is the 2009 1st Round Draft Pick and was a force to be reckoned with. He has tallied a point in every pre-season game to this point and looks like he could definitely stick around for a few games, at least until his the 9 game limit is reached before his contract would kick in. Steve Mason was very solid and took a few awkward shots off of face-offs and went periods without any action whatsoever, so it was nice to see him in good form. The only goal given up did come off of a Moore turnover, which shows the flaws in the young d-man’s game, and that Mase won’t always stop every shot.

(editor’s note: Jackets won tonight 9/22, in a shootout, pushing their pre-season record to 2-2-1)


Home Opener (Pre-Season)


While it’s only the pre-season, this game has the possibility to get nasty. After Jason Chimera was destroyed on Friday night in St. Paul, there have been strong words today from Chimmer:

“(Belanger) said he’s never done that before, that he’s had only one 5-minute major (for elbowing), but the same is true if you shoot somebody,” Chimera said. “You only have to shoot somebody once to be dirty. It’s a dirty hit and there’s no need for it. My back was turned the whole way.”

from Puck-rakers

The Jackets will be dressing a pretty premiere line-up with Juice-Brassard-Nash on the top line and Torres-Vermette-Voracek making up the second (Umberger out for precautionary reasons). On defense we finally get to see 1st Round pick John Moore who from what the guys at The Dispatch have said, have really impressed everyone at camp.

I know it’s just the pre-season, but I’m pretty darn excited to make a visit to Nationwide for the first game since last April, hopefully tonight will start getting the bitter taste of the Jackets’ first round exit out of our mouths. I look for a physical affair as Hitch has not been overly happy with the play of his top players.




Another Signing


The Columbus Blue Jackets today announced the signing of Center Antoine Vermette to a 5 year extension on his current contract. His annual cap hit will be $3.75 million, which is the same as RJ Umberger. Vermette came to Columbus on the Trade Deadline this past season in exchange for Pascal Leclaire and a 2009 2nd Round Draft Pick. It’s obvious that Howson sees a great deal of skill only beginning to show for Antoine and this contract only confirms it. He will be yet another welcome staple in the Blue Jackets line-up for the next 6 seasons.

umberger mvp18 Days…


Here we go

Believe it or not the Jackets begin their season tomorrow. Granted they aren’t playing real games, but there is a game, and players are on the ice, and goals will be scored, and bones will be crunched. Unfortunately that means there will surely be an injury of some type, pray for minor ones that don’t hold any player, major or minor, out for long. Here’s the starting line-up for tomorrow’s pre-season opener at Pittsburgh:


Russell Lynch


(via The Dispatch)

I was able to attend the morning session of training camp on Sunday and caught Game 1 of the Owner’s Fantasy Playoffs. Without a doubt Rusty Klesla is the player that stood out the most to me. He was pounding players all over the ice and looked in the form that he had going in the playoffs last season. I hope this is a sign of things to come for the only “original Jacket”. I had a hard time deciding if some players were rusty, or just out of sync, or playing badly. Mishandled pucks are probably normal at this point but and a little sluggishness is to be expected.

From the roster above I’m most interested in the play of Brassard with Filatov (first line of the distant future?), also in the syncing of Umberger-Vermette-Voracek because they should be in the driver’s seat to perform as a potent and balanced 2nd line. Other line of interest is the 4th line with Murray as the center, surely he is first out of the gate auditioning for 4th line center and the group he’s playing with very well could be starters at some point this season. On the other end of the ice I like to see a lot of young guys and the immature vets getting some work. I might be the only one, but I have never been impressed with Methot and I have always looked at Russell as very shaky sometimes.


Christmas in September comes tomorrow with this bad boy hitting the shelves, I won’t have any time to play, but it will find its way into my possession before the end of the day.


19 Days….

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