In his first ever start in a Blue Jacket uniform, Mathieu Garon put on a goaltending clinic making all 36 saves in a 2-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. It certainly wasn't without a little adversity in the 60 minute affair.
With the CBJ up 1-0 in the second, the team proceeded to make a trail in the ice to their respective penalty box. Garon killed off two 5-on-3 opportunities. He was simply amazing in making the initial save and then the cast of others in front of the net helped out in clearing rebounds. One can hear Hitch saying... be heavy, be strong and be confident on the puck boys... two hands on the stick.
Going back to the game-winning goal, video could not do it justice. Transition was the word of the night. A Phoenix turnover in the neutral zone led to Jan (oh I'm +2 again) Hejda, feeding the puck up ice to the line of Brassard Huselius and Nash. A tic-tac-toe goal with Nash collecting his second of the year proved to be the GWG (game winning goal). It was a natural beauty in the eyes of all who love and follow the game.
The three keys before the game I produced tonight were:
1. Take the emotion out of the opening night crowd... another circus type atmosphere the CBJ have to deal with in the Jobing.com Arena....that was home opener number four.
2. The checking has to be better in all areas of the ice... stop and start, two hands on the stick and return with speed.
3. Role players, play your roles... scorers score... defense defend... scorers be sure to score (what a genius eh?) and the TEAM will find success.
Here is a brief overview of some of the others highlights on some of the others players in tonight’s game:
1. Rick Nash scored the GWG... +2... four of the 19 shots on goal.
2. Jan Hejda along with his +2, how about 24:54 of ice and three blocked shots
3. Fedor Tyutin... 5:53 of penalty kill time... three Blocked shots
4. Antoine Vermette... 19:20 of time... 4:46 of short handed time and 62% on draws (the team needs to a better job of winning face-offs, as they operate in the bottom third of the league at 47%
5. Derek Dorsett... moving up on the lineup with Chimera and Paulson tonight, getting involved with three hits and showing great puck control in open ice and along the boards.
At the morning skate, it was truly invigorating to talk with the CBJ's first head coach, Dave King. Planning on retiring from the game, he was asked to come in and help in the preseason. It has now turned out as a full time gig....so much for retiring. He was so complimentary of the CBJ's and especially our late owner John H. McConnell. It was great to get his take on hockey as a whole, but especially Russian Hockey as he has fathered a book called the "King of Russia". Dave has mentored our own Ken Hitchcock. Hitch was a midget coach back in Edmonton as Dave, Claire Drake and George Kingston helped and develop the future coaches at coaching clinics in the Edmonton area. Dave King is renowned for his hockey lingo and communication, with such terms as "cycling" and "the quiet zones" of the ice. Also as a fact, Dave has ran miles everyday for the past 22 years... yes... everyday... not missing a jog either for broken ribs or even a hernia operation in Germany a few years back (he ran early the day of the operation, and then ran the night after the operation was over... a true fact people!!!!)
We are flying back to Columbus tonight with a plane full of smiling passengers. 3-1-0 to start the season is OK... the Hitch is looking for more. Come out Tuesday against the Flames, as this game will be a classic of guts and glory!!
No FS Ohio, but tune into George and Bob!! Stay tuned!!
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings." The Columbus Blue Jackets 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.