The Blue Jackets meet the Blackhawks here in Chicago tonight on the front end of a home-and-home series that concludes Saturday in a rare 2 p.m. afternoon start at Nationwide Arena.... In my opinion, the Hawks are the best team in the National Hockey League. Their only question mark is in goal, where I, like many others, wonder if Christobal Huet is good enough to lead them to a Stanley Cup victory... as so many here in Chicago feel is a slam dunk! Huet will get tonight's start, his first since a horrible effort this past weekend in a loss to the Minnesota Wild.
While on the topic of goaltenders... Mathieu Garon will get his fifth-straight start in the Blue Jackets nets. Says coach Hitchcock... "Mathieu has been terrific over the last stretch and the only reason I made the change in St. Louis after the first period was to shake up the team."
Hitchcock added he was pleased with Steve Mason's mop up role adding that Mason has worked hard in practice and will get an opportunity to get back in the Jackets nets before long.
Look for two lineup changes for the Blue Jackets tonight. Both Kris Russell and Derek Dorsett draw in tonight, while one sure bet for the Hawks will see Marion Hossa return to Chicago's lineup. It's the Hawks final home game before beginning an eight-game, 16-day road trip in Columbus Saturday. I had a visit with Hawks Coach Joel Quenneville after yesterday's practice and he couldn't stop shaking his head. The personable Chicago coach says in all his years as a player and Coach, he's never experienced a road trip as long as eight games and 16 days. Once they leave Chicago the Blackhawks won't return until they host the St. Louis Blues on February 3.
Tonight's game is an 8:30 p.m. start on FOX Sports Ohio. Blue Jackets Live begins at 8 p.m. with Ray Crawford.
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Bobby Mac", "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings." The Columbus Blue Jackets radio and television analysts will try to keep you updated on all the season action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.