For the third time this summer, we sit down with one of the new faces on the Blue Jackets. Recently, we talked with forward RJ Umberger about beginning a new chapter in his career in Columbus.
BlueJackets.com: What were your first impressions after being acquired by Columbus?
RJ: I was shocked at first, you know, being traded. This is where it is, this is a city I know and I've been here before. It's kind of like a homecoming for me; I'm looking forward to it.
BlueJackets.com: Are you excited to be here in Columbus?
RJ: I am excited. I want to come back, get ready and get settled in. This process seems like it takes so long sometimes, but I'm really looking forward to now and the next four years. It's going to be a lot of fun.
BlueJackets.com: What did you know about Columbus before being traded?
RJ: (Laughs) I knew a little bit. Obviously, I went to school here, so the big thing is Ohio State football. It's a big deal in this town. Ohio State is a passion around here, no doubt, but I feel like I know the city pretty well.
BlueJackets.com: How would your teammates describe your personality?
RJ: I think on the ice, I'm a hard-working guy who's not afraid to play hard and get in people's faces and add some skill, too. That's pretty much my game. Off the ice, I'm a pretty laid-back guy. I can be pretty competitive, and I can be quiet at times but I think I'm a guy who just leads by example.
BlueJackets.com: What's your favorite NHL arena to play in?
RJ: Probably Pittsburgh (Mellon Arena), playing in front of my family and friends. It's not the nicest building, but it's always fun to go there because it's home.
(Umberger pictured to the right in the 2008 playoffs playing at his favorite arena - click the image to view Mark Wyant's interview with RJ).
BlueJackets.com: Describe your style of play.
RJ: Well, I'm a bigger guy that likes to play hard and has decent speed. I see the ice pretty well, and I like to produce a lot of offense and set my linemates up.
BlueJackets.com: When (and how) did you start playing hockey?
RJ: I was maybe six years old…going on seven. I started watching Mario Lemieux and the Penguins and then I got into skating. My parents took me to a local rink so I could skate for the first time, and I fell in love with it. I really started playing hockey when I was seven.
BlueJackets.com: What are your hobbies, etc. during the off-season?
RJ: I like to golf a lot, and work out a lot. I spend a lot of time with my dogs, I have two golden retrievers and I love to spend time with them when I'm home. Aside from that, I probably watch too much TV.
BlueJackets.com: Which current Blue Jackets are you most looking forward to playing with in Columbus?
RJ: Probably Rick Nash. I want the opportunity to play with him and see if some chemistry develops, and see what we can do. He's a great player and great goal-scorer, so it should be fun.
BlueJackets.com: Do you prefer dinner on the town or staying in?
RJ: I like to cook on the grill, and I like learning how to cook. I've only cooked a little bit. I don't mind going out to eat, either. If I had a choice, I would probably have a home-cooked meal on the grill.
Thanks RJ and welcome back to Columbus!