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Mason Returns to Blue Jackets Net as Jackets Host Blackhawks at Nationwide

by Jeff Rimer / Columbus Blue Jackets

January 16

Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason makes his first start in six games this afternoon as the Blue Jackets look to avenge Thursday's 3-0 shutout loss to the Blackhawks in Chicago. The start for the young Jackets netminder does in no way mean that the team has soured on the play of Mathieu Garon, in fact, if not for the strong play of Garon in his five-straight starts and Thursday's game in particular, why the scores in the two games on the road would have been considerably higher!

As for Mason give the defending Calder Trophy winner credit. Despite not getting a chance to start since the 5th of January in Vancouver, Mason has worked hard in practice and has been very supportive of Garon. Coach Ken Hitchcock after Thursday's morning skate talked about how he was pleased with Mason's focus and compete level in practice, his attitude and hinted that Mason would not sit much longer. Well he gets a chance to grab the net back against the high flying Hawks!

A couple of other changes we saw a glimpse of Thursday, will see Antoine Vermette move to the top line with R.J. Umberger and Rick Nash and Derek Brassard move up between Raffi Torres and Jake Voracek. As for Vermette, hopefully he can get the puck to Nash in scoring position. Nash has not scored in 11 games, tying the longest goalless drought of his career. The way I see it, it's not his fault. Nash should NOT be touching the puck until he is below the hash marks. Some one has got to feed him the puck in scoring position. His scoring chances are down, way down. Hopefully Umberger and Vermette can change that starting today.

Today's 2 p.m. start is in HD!

*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.

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