Off since Saturday, the Blue Jackets host their number one rival the Detroit Red Wings in their first Division game of the season at Nationwide tonight. It's the first time the teams meet since the Wings swept the Jackets last April in the first ever appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for Columbus. Perhaps the Blue Jackets will send a message to the Red Wings tonight... and that is that they did not take last spring's playoff series lightly and have grown from it!
It would certainly be the wish of Coach Ken Hitchcock, who will reach the lofty milestone of coaching his 1,000th NHL game tonight. Hitchcock becomes the 16th coach in league history to coach 1,000 games. Reminiscing with members of the media this morning the Blue Jackets coach credits former Dallas GM Bob Gainey, now in the same capacity with Montreal, and former Flyers GM Bob Clarke with having the biggest influences on his coaching career. The Jackets will attempt to hand their coach the game puck with a victory in tonight's contest.
Steve Mason gets the start in goal for Columbus tonight. Mason is 2-0-2 in his last four starts and has regained his Calder Trophy winning form. Jimmy Howard is expected to get the start for Detroit. The Jackets will go with the same lineup that beat Carolina 3-2 with a solid third period Saturday.
Game time on Fox Sports Ohio and at Nationwide is 7 p.m.
On another note, I had the pleasure of spending the last few days in Toronto attending the Hall of Fame inductions of possibly the best class ever!
What a weekend it was, with former broadcaster and now St. Louis Blues President John Davidson being presented with the Foster Hewitt Award and inducted into the Hall of Fame. John and I go back to the 10th Grade together back in Calgary and he has certainly set the bar as far as hockey broadcasting, and as was suggested at Monday's induction ceremony, he may have been the top analyst in any sport! I have included a picture from Monday's induction with JD, his longtime broadcast partner Sam Rosen and myself.
As for the player and builder inductions, what a night. Brett Hull, the first inductee, was terrific! I thought his speech was well thought out and one he put a great deal of effort into and was the best of the group! And that is saying a lot because all the speeches were strong. Brian Leetch, Luc Robitaille, Steve Yzerman and Lou Lamoriello was inducted in the builders category for his superb work as GM of the New Jersey Devils... all deserving of their honors, these men captivated a huge audience.
Again it was a great night and if you ever have a chance to attend the H.O.F induction ceremonies, I'd highly recommend you do! One more note!!!! I'd be remiss if I did not mention the Elmer Ferguson Award winner and inductee in the writers category Dave Molinari. Dave is a class act and has covered the Penguins for decades.
*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.