Two road games with a cast of young guys in the lineup, and let us put it bluntly, the opening act is over. Two one goal losses, a 4-3 tilt in Chicago and a 2-1 set back in Minnesota; leave the decisions of management and coaches without a lot of question marks on who can do what and how. A quick look at the first dress rehearsal on the road solidifies the following truisms about some of the players:
1. In the Chicago game, the following players really stepped up to the plate and played very well. Chimera… with two-thirds of a Gordie Howe hat trick, a fight and a goal… Novotny with a tip in tally and a monster on the draws… Voracek with the vision of a night owl and the ability to thread the needle… Brassard showed the skill with the puck and the want to create offense… Dorsett… stepping up to Colin Fraser with the heart of a lion and the goaltending of Fredrik Norrena showed the poise of a real experienced pro for a couple of periods… Kris Russell... with over 24 minutes of ice showed the flashes needed to add to the offense of this team from the defensive end (only 10 even strength goals from the back end last season)… overall a spirited affair.
2. In the Minnesota game, let us start with the play of defenseman, Grant Clitsome, the 12th pick in 2004 who played his college hockey at Clarkson. He played over 23 minutes, showing the patience and anticipation of a seasoned veteran. It was impressive to say the least to all that watched his puck movement and transition from defense to offense. He was rewarded with an assist on the lone Novotny goal. Jiri had a solid night winning over 70% of his faceoffs, scoring a beauty on a one timer on the PP… Voracek made another seeing eye pass through the PK to find Novotny who in Brett Hull fashion fired it home. For the second night in a row, Norrena got better as the game progressed. Shoulders square, simple rhythmic movement at the top of the crease and the confidence of a JB Holmes drive on No. 16 at Valhalla was in Freddie's cards again tonight… great stuff!!
So it is off to Columbus to show the fans of the hungry city what we are all about. Expect Nash, Huselius, Umberger and Modin to make their cameo appearances up front on Friday night. On the back end it would be a treat to see Tyutin, Commodore and Klesla scrape some rust off their summer bods and welcome each other to the preseason special….oh by the way did I tell you we are playing Nashville?... Tootoo-Mirasty?... could that be an extension of the hockey game version of dancing with the stars?... Can't wait… Stay tuned… let us have some fun!!
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blog - "Davidge Dishes". The Columbus Blue Jackets radio color analyst will try to keep you updated on all the preseason action through his blog, especially when the Blue Jackets kick off the season October 10 @ Dallas.