The Blue Jackets host the Florida Panthers at Nationwide tonight and will welcome back their so called "energy guy", Derek Dorsett who's leadership skills frankly may have been somewhat underrated!
Dorsett has missed nine games since the head shot by James Neal in Dallas. Neal was suspended two games for the cheap shot and as I recall, moments after the suspension, coach Hitchcock was asked if two games were enough. His quick response was that he was more concerned about how long his player was going to be out of the lineup.
Well as you know the Jackets have struggled without Derek going 1-5-3. Not only does he get back into the lineup but can have a real positive effect on one of his struggling teammates, Derick Brassard. Brassard is goalless in 14 games and Dorsett told me this morning he hopes to get Brassard going. The two have spent little if any time together with the Jackets but a couple of seasons back the two were on the same line in Syracuse and as Dorsett said this morning, Brassard assisted on his first goal in the American Hockey League! Raffi Torres will patrol the left side on the line and the two should help get Brassard the puck in shooting situations. Here's a prediction... his goalless drought ends tonight!
Steve Mason another of the struggling sophomores gets the start in goal and coach Hitchcock remains non committal on tomorrow's starter in Nashville against the red hot Predators.
If your headed to the game tonight at Nationwide or taking it in on Fox Sports Ohio... keep an eye on the Panthers top line. Despite their recent woes... they too have but one win to show in their last nine games... the Stephen Weiss-Nathan Horton duo have been on fire. Weiss has nine goals and 17 points in his last 13 games while Horton has four goals and 14 points in his last 14 games.
Game time is 7 p.m. at Nationwide Arena, good seats remain in all price ranges.
*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.