The Blue Jackets open the home portion of their 2010 preseason schedule tonight, as they welcome the Washington Capitals to Nationwide Arena. The roster for tonight’s game is heavy with Blue Jackets regulars (to view the rosters, click here) and includes the last five first round picks.
“It’s exciting more than anything,” 2009 first round pick John Moore said of making his 2010 debut. “It’s a good opportunity to go out there and show them what I can do. I know it’s going to be challenging and I am going to have to work hard, but I am excited for it.”
The Blue Jackets won 5-2 in Atlanta last night and head coach Scott Arniel is hoping to see a lot of the same things that he saw last night in tonight’s game against the Capitals.
“We’re trying to install a style of play where we’re always attacking and moving our feet and last night we worked it to a ‘T,’” Arniel said. “We never gave Atlanta any time and we want to do the same tonight against Washington. They are a really skilled team. They have players that can make plays and if we give them room to make plays, they’re going to make plays and make tonight a little longer.”
Face-off at Nationwide Arena is set for 7 p.m. ET. To buy tickets to tonight’s game, click here.
First Pick to Make First Impression
Center Ryan Johansen, the Jackets’ first round pick this past June, will make his unofficial NHL debut tonight. What better way to hit the NHL ice than to do it on a line with Rick Nash and R.J. Umberger?
“It’s very exciting and an honor to be in between both of those players,” Johansen said. “Rick Nash is probably one of the top power forwards in the League and Umberger is a smart winger with a lot of experience. I am really looking forward to tonight’s game and it should be a lot of fun.”
Johansen is hoping to soak up as much information he can tonight and make a good first impression.
“I think it’s a good chance to get my feet wet in the League,” Johansen said. “I just want to get used to the speed and try to keep up the best that I can.”
He will also look to his linemates for any and all advice they want to share.
“Even this morning in the pre-game skate I was listening, trying to learn new stuff every second I am out on the ice,” Johansen added. “They are obviously great guys and I am going to learn a lot these next few days.”
Umberger will be a willing participant and will help Johansen in every way that he can, but at the same time enjoy it.
“I think he should just go out there have fun, enjoy putting on the jersey,” Umberger said. “You don’t want to try to do too much; you just want to let your hockey instincts take over.
“I’ll try to help him out as much as possible and Nasher will, too. For him (Johansen), it’s never a bad place to give 61 (Nash) the puck and see what happens.”
Sestito Comes Up Big in Atlanta
The Blue Jackets jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and never looked back in a 5-2 win in the preseason opener last night at Atlanta. Leading the way was the game’s first star, Tom Sestito, who had a goal and two assists.
“We had a good line going, we had a lot of chemistry and the pucks just found the net,” Sestito said. “It’s what we have to do during the preseason to make the team.”
Sestito is coming off a season that saw him play 36 games with Syracuse (Columbus’ AHL affiliate), as he missed the majority of the season battling through injuries. The 2010 Training Camp marks the fifth for him after being selected by the club in the 2006 Entry Draft. He’s hoping this Camp is different than in previous years.
“I didn’t come here to get a first line job in Springfield (Columbus’ new AHL affiliate),” Sestito said. “I obviously want to make the team (here in Columbus).”
Practice Times and Groups for Thursday
Group 1 (9 a.m. on ice) – Blunden, Calvert, Commodore, Dorsett, Francis, Gabriel, Garon, Goloubef, Guenin, Guite, Holden, Huselius, Klesla, Kubalik, LeNeveu, MacKenzie, Methot, Murray, Neuber, Regner, Sestito, Sigalet, Stralman, Taylor, Vermette, Wilson
Group 2 (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) – Boll, Brassard, Clark, Clitsome, Filatov, Frischmon, Gill, Hejda, Johansen, Kolarik, Machesney, Mason, Mayorov, Moore, Moreau, Murovich, Nash, Pahlsson, Prout, Ratchuk, Ruth, Savard, Tyutin, Umberger, Voracek