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Blue Jackets Try to Avoid Slipping on Oil Slick

by Jeff Rimer / Columbus Blue Jackets

January 20

Game two of the Blue Jackets Western Canadian road trip out here in balmy Edmonton tonight and the CBJ hope to keep their recent winning ways intact against one of the teams the Jackets are chasing in the Western Conference standings. The Blue Jackets have won five of their last seven "Road Starts" and coach Hitchcock told a large Canadian media contingent that he believes the team has played even better than their record indicates.

No lineup changes expected this evening with the exception of Christian Backman reinserted into the lineup for O-K Tollefson... meaning Jason Chimera who is close to one hundred percent health wise will miss the final two games of the trip... and be ready after the All-Star break.

Both former Blue Jacket Gilbert Brule and Raffi Torres traded for one another this past summer are excited about tonight's game... for Torres his first game back in Edmonton and for Brule his first game against the team that drafted him in the first round... sixth overall in the '05 draft.

There's plenty of Blue Jackets goaltending news today... Steve Mason, who makes his 14th consecutive start in goal for the Jackets tonight... will not take part in this weekend's "YoungStars" game in conjunction with the All-Star game in Montreal. Mason... still suffering a bit from back spasms... after consulting with General Manager Scott Howson and the training staff thought it was best he rest over the break and as he says be fresh to help his team... for the stretch run.

Meantime, the Blue Jackets announced that Pascal Leclaire will undergo surgery on his injured ankle and be lost to the team for between 10 to 12 weeks meaning he will likely be lost for the balance of the regular season. Tough news for Pascal but the good news is that he will be back to 100 percent after the surgery and be ready for training camp next September.

Tonight's key game will be broadcast in high definition on Fox Sports Ohio beginning with "Blue Jackets Live" at 8:30 Columbus Time.

*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "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.

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