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Call it a Relief

by Bill Davidge / Columbus Blue Jackets

March 10

Can you say five goals?

That is what Hitch calls relief as the CBJ played three different games in the 60 minute affair against TB, walking away from the afternoon affair with a 5-3 win… Chili for everyone!

It was a good win for the CBJ's, as they finally won their first game at NWA since January 15th, now 1-4-3. At the present the team is only one point behind the franchise record of 74 pts, with the overall record of 31-28-11. With playing 11 of the previous 14 on the road, the team now has four days off, allowing the rest of the league to catch up in games played and most importantly time to heal and get over the bronchial flu that has hit every crevice of the team.

The team has seven of the next 12 at home. The road is not one that concerns the CBJ, as they have gone 7-3-2 in the last 12… bring it on!!

At the time of this blog, the Jackets are five points back of the 8th and final playoff spot. Asked if the team is still in the hunt, Hitch responded with an arousing, "no idea," but explaining there were several teams going up and down the ladder to the post season. It would be referred "as the teams that are worrying about their status right now are the teams that are sliding down" the chute… he and the team are not worrying about it, but there is a pulse as to what their status may be.

Here are some highlights from the desperate win:

•Rusty Klesla was +4, played 25 minutes and had two hits and two blocked shots

•Aaron Rome was futile in his steady play. He had 16:55 of ice but 5:36 dedicated to the shorthanded variety. His presence with square shoulders directed up ice all night was a welcomed sight.

Derek Mackenzie scored his first NHL goal. A slapped around rebound that found the empty net will be remembered 30 years from now as a blast that Smith just couldn't catch up with!!!

•Jiri Novotny scored his first goal in 25 games, even though it was an empty netter, it still counts.

•Michael Peca scored his first since January 3rd.

Rick Nash had two assists to set a career high in points with 35 goals and 23 assists for 58 points.

•Manny Malhotra was 15-3 in the face-off circle good enough for fourth in the league with 58.1%.

•Zherdev added a couple of assists, 33 on the year, a career high as well

•Lecavalier and St. Louis were both -3 on the night, even though they both scored goals.

•Dan Boyle, who just signed a 6-year $42 million dollar extension, was not a factor in 28:16 of play. After talking with the Miami(Ohio) University product, he is ecstatic about is future, especially after his two wrist surgeries earlier this season. It was only back in the spring of '98 that we signed him in the basement of my Oxford home with the Florida Panthers… his signing bonus was small, but his lunch at Mac & Joe's Pub a the university was even smaller. It is amazing what time brings to those with a passion!!


*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings". The Columbus Blue Jackets broadcasters will try to keep you update on all the behind the scenes action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets hit the road. The next road game is 3/19 @Detroit.

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