Who knew that a steak dinner with new teammates could be so productive?
In honor of their first night in Columbus as members of the Blue Jackets, Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepsito were treated to dinner downtown with a group of teammates.
Not surprisingly, one of the main topics of conversation was social media and, in particular, the power of Twitter.
The 140-characters-or-less medium has developed into one of the most powerful news platforms in the world, and in the past few years has become a hit with professional athletes.
When he was in Phoenix, Upshall noticed fans responded well to players who Tweet regularly and it served as a connector between the team and its fan base.
Upshall currently boasts over 22,000 followers on Twitter, slotting him somewhere between Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (16,000) and Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor (35,000). He said after practice on Tuesday there was no plan to get the players into Twitter, the conversation just happened.
"It's a really good group of guys here in Columbus, first off," Upshall told BlueJackets.com.
"And Twitter helps get their personalities out there to the fans. That's what social media is about nowadays, getting people to connect with each other."
Prior to the NHL trading deadline, there were no Blue Jackets on the active roster with Twitter accounts. Today the count is at four: Upshall, Lepisto, R.J. Umberger and Derick Brassard. The latter two have been active Tweeters for all of four days, and immediately hit it off with Blue Jackets fans.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Brassard had over 3,200 followers and Umberger was up to 3,288. Each has received numerous messages of support from hockey fans all over the globe – and Brassard found out with over 1,000 emails in his phone's inbox.
"I had so many and I didn't know why," Brassard joked. "Then I figured it out."
But Brassard's favorite part of Twitter isn't being able to track hockey news around the league.
"I think the fans like it too," Brassard said. "I get to interact with them and they can see what I'm Tweeting about. I think it's great.
"It kills the battery on my phone - I'm on it too much already," he said with a laugh and a couple smirks of agreement from teammates.
You can follow all the CBJ related accounts on twitter:
BlueJacketsNHL (Official Twitter of the Columbus Blue Jackets, cbjradio (George Matthews and Bob McElligott, well, mostly Bob), jrimercbj (Jeff Rimer), dbrassard16 (Derick Brassard), ScottieUpshall (Scottie Upshall), Umby18 (R.J. Umberger) and samilepisto (Sami Lepisto).