After two disappointing losses the Blue Jackets close out their brief two-game road trip here in Phoenix tonight.
The Jackets practiced out here in the desert yesterday prior to this evening's match up against the Coyotes. Coach Scott Arniel started the practice with a 10-minute team meeting along the boards near the teams bench. Arniel said the discussion included revisiting Tuesday's shootout loss in Colorado, before switching the focus to getting ready for tonight's game against the Coyotes. The Jackets coach said he told the players he thought the team played well for 50 minutes against the Avalanche and reiterated the need for a FULL 60-minute effort against Phoenix.
As for the Coyotes, I talked to an old friend before the Jackets took the ice, Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. Tippett has led the Coyotes to a second straight 40-win season here in Phoenix with still the chance to catch Pacific Division leading San Jose Sharks, who they play here Saturday. But Tippett says the focus is the Blue Jackets tonight and he's concerned about his team being ready for the CBJ.
"They are a dangerous team, it's the combination of desperately still seeking the playoffs and the players trying to get recognized this year," Tippett said.
He added that tonight's game is similar to Tuesday's game for his hockey club, when they faced the Blues here and really didn't get it going until midway in the second period.
Tonight's game will see Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto play their former teammates for the first time since last month's trade, which sent Rusty Klesla here to the Coyotes. Rusty seems happy with his new surroundings and was looking forward to tonight's tilt as well as heading out to dinner last night with some of his former Blue Jacket teammates.
Tonight's game gets underway in HD at 10 p.m. Columbus time, preceded by Blue Jackets Live at 9:30 p.m. 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.