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Jackets Look to Extend Streak and Hand Coach Hitchcock 500th Win!

by Jeff Rimer / Columbus Blue Jackets

February 19

Here in the center of the "Hockey Universe" - Toronto - where the Blue Jackets look to extend their regulation unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-1 in last six games) tonight at the Air Canada Centre.

Steve Mason who expects close to 50 friends and family in attendance tonight will get the start and he told me after the morning skate that he feels great and is excited about his first NHL start here in Toronto. So much so, that this being the second of back-to-back games he wouldn't normally go on the ice for today's optional skate. But, too get his feel for the Arena and perhaps to remove some jitters the 20-year-old phenom, he joined a number of his teammates on the ice.

As for Coach Hitchcock, after a media scrum that lasted better than an hour I had the chance to talk to the Blue Jackets Coach privately back at the Hotel and asked Hitchcock what 500 wins means for him? Hitch was great... humbly, he said it's not the number of wins but rather the road to get there that means a great deal to him. He is somewhat amazed at how significant his Stanley Cup victory is to everyone. It is the label he carries proudly, but says if he didn't make adjustments in his coaching style along the way he would not have survived like so many other coaches throughout the years. And with that specific point, coach Hitchcock says alot of the credit for his survival should go to Bob Gainey, Doug Jarvis and Rick Wilson. Those three convinced him to adjust his coaching style... he did and the rest is history.

His players will work hard tonight to get him the milestone win and further move up the standings in the tough Western Conference.

*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "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.

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