After Thursday's exciting come from behind win over the Bruins in Boston I got the sense this morning from the players and especially Coach Hitchcock that the team still BELIEVES they can duplicate what both St. Louis and Anaheim did last season and climb back into the playoff picture. Coach Hitchcock offered these words again after this morning's skate... "we are back in the race! We have the best schedule from here on in of all the Western Conference teams."
As play begins on another busy Saturday in the NHL, the Jackets including tonight have only 12 road games remaining with 17 home starts left. Hitchcock added that some of the higher placed teams in the west have "horrendous" schedules for the balance of the season. Let it be noted the CBJ as play begins today are nine points out of the 8th and final playoff spot and 10 points back of 7th! As I said earlier two teams did make late season pushes to qualify for the postseason so it is possible!
As for Tonight's match up here in St. Paul, Steve Mason will make his second straight start. Niklas Backstrom gets the nod, with Josh Harding fighting back from a hip injury suffered in Thursday's loss to Detroit but well enough to back up tonight. Jake Voracek will not play this evening after suffering an upper body injury against the Bruins, meaning Andrew Murray draws back in with Derek Dorsett moving up in the lineup with Brassard and Torres at least to start tonight's game.
Note the start time this evening 9 p.m. in Columbus as it is Hockey Day in Minnesota with a number of high school and College games scheduled throughout the Twin Cities.
*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.