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Stepping Up His Game

by Blue Jackets Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Marc Methot's road to a full-time NHLer was an up and down process - kind of like the stock market (when not in recession).

Methot's stock is up and climbing every game. Although many haven't realized it yet, head coach Ken Hitchcock is buying and playing him in big spots.

"Methot's jumped in and we have no problem playing him against top players," Hitchcock said, after a 3-0 victory against Washington on November 29. "We have no problem playing him against the other team's top left wingers.

"To me, he's really helped up stabilize."

Methot entered the first game of the season, he sat as either the seventh or eighth defenseman. However, after just four games Methot began down the path that would see him play 19 of the last 21 contests.

Kris Russell was sent to Syracuse for awhile to find his game and Rostislav Klesla has been out with a an injury for the past few weeks. Both absences has made room for Methot to stay in the lineup.

"Klesla going out was a big hole for us," Hitchcock said. "The guy that's stepped up and helped the most has been Methot."

Methot was the 168th pick in the sixth round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. While most of the Blue Jackets' team is made up of top three round picks, Methot has made the steady climb from the Ontario Hockey League to the American Hockey League (plus 29 NHL games over the past two years) and now to the NHL - this time for good.

"I have improved some from the start (of my career), but it's a process," Methot said. "The transition (this season) of moving from the hotel to getting my own place has made a world of difference, too.

Methot was on the third pairing, but began to show signs of improvement and the coaching staff gave him a shot to play with offseason acquisition Fedor Tyutin. Methot stated that the extra minutes as well as playing with a guy of Tyutin's ability and approach have helped him immensely.

"He's great to play with," Methot said. "He's so calm and composed in his own end and it has kind of rubbed off on me. It's been an adjustment, because I moved off to the right side, but now that I'm there, it's not hard at all."

Despite being viewed as a physical, defensive defenseman, the Ottawa, Ontario native has shown some uncanny ability to create offensive scoring chances with the puck on his stick. Methot is third on the club in defensive points(8) and tied for first in goals by defenseman(3), with Tyutin.

"I didn't expect to have this sort of start, point-wise and minute-wise," Methot said "I thought it might happen a little slower.

"It's my fourth year playing professional hockey, so I'm not that surprised. I've had experience here (in the past two years) and given the opportunity, you try to take advantage of it. I think I've done that so far."


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