Blue Jackets team captain Rick Nash says the stiffness in his neck and back are gone and he is expected to return to the lineup this evening as the Jackets bring an end to their nioth NHL season, against the Red Wings at Nationwide.
Tonight, Nash and the Jackets will salute the fans for their strong support on Fan Appreciation Night and then the organization begins to formulate plans for their 10th Anniversary season that excitedly will begin overseas in Sweden early next October. As I said in a previous blog this will be a newsworthy offseason for the Blue Jackets what with the expected coaching announcement and personal moves that will be made by General Manager Scott Howson. The speculation on former Head Coach Ken Hitchcock's successor has already started and their is no doubt a lot of interviews will be conducted over the weeks to come.
As for tonight's game, the Wings will again go with their full compliment of players... there will be no resting before the playoffs, despite speculation to the contrary. Jimmy Howard will start for the Red Wings with the thought he will start as their playoff goaltender next week. Steve Mason starts for the Jackets.
In talking to Interim Coach Claude Noel this morning, Noel is proud of the job he did and should be! He feels, in his words, "the team has grown together" and added, that regardless of who coaches the team in the future, he or someone else, "there's a good nucleus to build on."
The telecast begins with "Blue Jackets Live" at 6:30 p.m. Opening faceoff shortly after 7 p.m.
*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.