After the five day All-Star break, the Blue Jackets swing back into action tonight when they host the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks at Nationwide.
There is no doubt Blue Jackets Head Coach Scott Arniel is focused for the stretch run. The first year Jackets coach says, "we have 33 games left to make the playoffs, we have a chance to make up some ground this month playing teams we are chasing, they are all above us with the exception of Edmonton (who we play) Saturday and next week's game in Pittsburgh."
The NHL schedule resumes tonight with 13 games, and as the Jackets begin play they trail both Chicago and San Jose, who currently hold down 7th and 8th place respectively, by 5 points with a game in hand on each of them. That makes tonight's game against the Blackhawks a must win. Of course they also must climb over four other teams to get to a playoff spot in the Western Conference. In all, 11 teams in the Conference are separated by just nine points and that is from 4th to 14th!
As for tonight's game the Blue Jackets must be disciplined. Chicago comes to town with the NHL's top power play performing at better than 25-percent. After practice yesterday Arniel talked about the 'Hawks ability to score on the power play or at even strength and noted that the Blue Jackets need to be solid without the puck and MUST PLAY a grinding out game and be aware of their individual responsibilities against Chicago.
It's a 7 p.m. start and the game is in HD on FOX Sports Ohio.
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blog - Rimer's Game Day Ramblings. The Columbus Blue Jackets' television play-by-play man will try to keep you updated on all the season action through his blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.