The Blue Jackets play game three of their four game western swing here in Anaheim tonight with dramatic changes to all four lines. Team captain Rick Nash will have two new line mates on the top line with Jason Chimera on the left side and R.J. Umberger at center. Kristian Huselius has been dropped to the second line with Anton Vermette and Jake Vorocek. Raffi Torres will start at left wing on the checking line, joining Sammy Pahlsson and Derek Dorsett. The fourth line has Mike Blunden at right wing with Derick Brassard at center and Nikita Filatov on the left wing.
Of course Hitch met with the media following practice and said, "I will give it a quick hook if I see the chemistry not working." Unless there is early success I do not see Hitch staying with these line combinations as he added that he will change the left wingers if necessary but keeping the centers and right wingers together.
The coaching staff and players are not pleased with Thursday's game in Edmonton... Make no mistake. The Jackets blew a 4-1 lead just past the midway point of the game losing 6-4 to the Oilers. Hitch did make a very valid point saying the last two days show how far the franchise has come.
The Jackets coach said, "The players and coaches are complaining about not controlling the game, complaining about not dominating the game for 60 minutes, complaining about blowing leads. We expect to win every night, and that's a good sign because the expectations are so much higher."
Oh, have the times have changed. Hitchcock joked that a year, year and a half ago the Jackets hoped the other team didn't "show up."
One other significant note... Mike Commodore returns to the Jackets lineup and will play his first game of the season. Steve Mason starts in the Jackets net. "Blue Jackets Live" begins at 9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports Ohio.
*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.