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Weekly Report: Blue Jackets Embark on Three-Game Western Canadian Road Trip

by Blue Jackets Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

THIS WEEK'S GAME SCHEDULE (Times ET)


Tue., Feb. 24 at Calgary Flames, Pengrowth Saddledome - 9 p.m. FSO/CD101
Thu., Feb. 26 at Edmonton Oilers, Rexall Place - 9 p.m. FSO HD/1460, CD101
Sun., Mar. 1 at Vancouver Canucks, General Motors Place - 8 p.m. FSO/1460, CD101
FSO – FOX Sports Ohio; 1460 – WBNS-AM 1460 The Fan; CD101 – CD101.1 FM

BLUE JACKETS AT A GLANCE
Record:
30-24-6, 66 pts./3rd Central Division… Streak: Lost last game… Home: 19-10-2, lost last game… Road: 11-14-4, won two-straight… Last Week's Results: 2-1-1… Feb. 16 – Dallas 3, at Columbus 2 (SO); Feb. 18 – at Columbus 4, St. Louis 3… Feb. 19 – Columbus 4, at Toronto 3 (SO)… Feb. 21 – Anaheim 5, at Columbus 2.

WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF RACE
Standings as of Feb. 23 (*division leaders)

  Team
GP Record Pts. Games Left Games Left - Home Games Left - Away Opp. this Week
1. San Jose 57 40-8-9 89 25 10 15 at DAL, at DET, at OTT, at MTL
2. Detroit 60 39-18-8 86 22 12 10 SJ, LA, at NSH
3. Calgary 59 35-18-6 76 23 10 13 CBJ, MIN, TB
4. Chicago 58 34-16-8 76 24 16 8 at NSH, PIT, LA
5. Vancouver 59 30-21-8 66 23 12 11 at MTL, TB, CBJ
6. Columbus 60 30-24-6 66 22 10 12 at CGY, at EDM, at VAN
7. Dallas 58 29-22-7 65 24 12 12 SJ, STL, ANA, PIT
8. Minnesota 58 30-24-4 64 24 8 16 LA, at CGY, at EDM
9. Edmonton 59 29-25-5 63 23 13 10 TB, CBJ, MIN
10. Anaheim 61 29-27-5 63 21 10 11 at BUF, at BOS, at DAL


OPPONENTS AT A GLANCE

CALGARY FLAMES (35-18-6, 76 pts./1st Northwest Division):
Head Coach Mike Keenan… The Flames are 5-0-2 in their last seven games after losing a season-high four in a row from Feb. 2-7… Calgary is 20-7-4 at home, outscoring its opponents 112 to 87… Club is led by All-Star RW Jarome Iginla (22-40-62 and 9 PPG, 59 games), LW Mike Cammalleri (29-26-55 and 14 PPG, 58 games) and C Daymond Langkow (18-24-42, 57 games)… G Miikka Kiprusoff is 35-15-5 with a 2.76 GAA, .907 SV% and four shutouts… The Blue Jackets are 16-12-2 all-time vs. Calgary, including a 5-9-1 mark on the road… Columbus has gone 2-2-0 vs. Calgary in each of the past three seasons… The Jackets earned a 3-1 win at home on Nov. 8 and suffered a 5-4 shootout loss at Calgary on Jan. 21.

EDMONTON OILERS (29-25-5, 63 pts./4th Northwest Division): Head Coach: Craig MacTavish… The Oilers have more road wins (16-14-1) than home wins (13-11-4) this season… The club is 0-2-1 in its last three games and 4-5-2 in February… Club is led by RW Ales Hemsky (19-32-51, 49 games), C Shawn Horcoff (14-27-41, 57 games) and D Sheldon Souray (15-23-38 and 9 PPG, 58 games; 10th among NHL defensemen)… G Dwayne Roloson is 20-15-5 with a 2.73 GAA, .915 SV% and one shutout... The Blue Jackets are 7-18-6 all-time vs. the Oilers, including 3-10-2 on the road… Columbus scored the game’s final three goals in the third period to earn a 5-4 win at home on Nov. 5… Edmonton won 7-2 at Nationwide Arena on Nov. 18 despite being outshot by the Blue Jackets 39 to 19… Edmonton earned a 4-3 win at home on Jan. 20.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (30-21-8, 68 pts./2nd Northwest Division): Head Coach Alain Vigneault… Vancouver has gone 8-1-0 in February, including wins in its last four games… The Canucks are 7-1-2 in their last 10 home games compared to 3-5-2 in their previous 10 at home… Vancouver is led by LW Daniel Sedin (25-34-59 and 5 GWG, 59 games) and his twin brother C Henrik Sedin (12-45-57, 59 games)… C Mats Sundin has 6-6-12 in 18 games since joining the club… G Roberto Luongo is 19-7-5 with a 2.56 GAA, .916 SV% and five shutouts in 32 games… The Blue Jackets are 12-15-4 in the all-time series, including 5-9-1 on the road… Columbus is 12-9-1 vs. Vancouver since the start of the 2002-03 season… The Jackets have won all three games this season, 4-2 on Oct. 21 and 3-2 on Dec. 1 at home and 6-5 in a shootout at Vancouver on Jan. 18.


SCHEDULE, Feb. 24-Mar. 2 (times subject to change)
Tuesday, Feb. 24       Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary - 11:30 a.m. MT
Wednesday, Feb. 25 Rexall Place, Edmonton - 1:30 p.m. MT
Thursday, Feb. 26     Rexall Place, Edmonton - 11:30 a.m. MT
Friday, Feb. 27           GM Place, Vancouver - 1 p.m. PT
Saturday, Feb. 28      GM Place, Vancouver - 12:15 p.m. MT
Sunday, Mar. 1           GM Place, Vancouver - 10:30 a.m. MT
Monday, Mar. 2           Dispatch Ice Haus - 12 p.m. ET (tentative)

OhioHealth INJURY REPORT
C Derick Brassard (dislocated shoulder, Dec. 18) will miss the rest of the season… G Pascal Leclaire (Injured Reserve, Jan. 8; ankle surgery, Jan. 23) will miss 10 to 12 weeks… D Rostislav Klesla (Feb. 10 vs. Colorado; Injured Reserve, Feb. 12) will miss at least one week… LW Fredrik Modin (Feb. 14 at Carolina; Injured Reserve, Feb. 16) is out at least one week… D Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (Injured Reserve, Feb. 21) is expected to miss four to six weeks… Man Games Lost to Injury: 231.


INDIVIDUAL NOTES

HITCHCOCK JOINS EXCLUSIVE "500 WINS CLUB":
Blue Jackets Head Coach Ken Hitchcock became the 13th coach in NHL history to record 500 wins when Columbus earned a 4-3 shootout win at Toronto on Feb. 19. With a 500-338-122 record, he is tied for 12th place with Toe Blake on the all-time wins list and is one win shy of tying Pat Burns (501). Only two coaches have reached 500 wins quicker than Hitchcock (960 games) – Scotty Bowman (825) and Blake (911). Bowman is the all-time leader with a 1,244-754-323 record.

UMBERGER NETS 20TH GOAL, TIES CAREER HIGH: C R.J. Umberger scored his 20th goal of the season at Toronto on Feb. 19, tying his career-high set as a rookie with Philadelphia in 2005-06. With 9-4-13 in his last 20 games, he has raised his season totals to 20-13-33 in 60 games. He currently leads the club with eight power play goals, ranks second in goals (Rick Nash, 26) and third in points (Nash, 57; Kristian Huselius, 43). Last season, he notched 13-37-50 in 74 games with the Flyers, setting career highs in assists and points.

NASH HAS THREE-STRAIGHT MULTI-POINT GAMES: LW Rick Nash has registered multi-point games in his last three contests (1-1-2 vs. St. Louis on Feb. 18, at Toronto on Feb. 19 and vs. Anaheim on Feb. 21) to give him a career-high 18 this season. He needs one more to tie the club record of 19, which is shared by David Vyborny (2005-06 and 2006-07) and Ray Whitney (2002-03). He leads the club in goals, assists and points with 26-31-57 in 56 games and has tied his career high for assists set in 2007-08.

JACKETS CLAIM GRATTON, RECALL ROME: Two new faces will be in the Blue Jackets lineup this week as the club claimed 15-year NHL veteran C Chris Gratton off waivers from Tampa Bay and recalled D Aaron Rome from Syracuse (AHL) on Feb. 21. Gratton has registered 214-353-567 and 1,636 penalty minutes in 1,086 career NHL games with Tampa Bay, Florida, Colorado, Phoenix, Buffalo and Philadelphia. Rome has tallied 7-21-28, 153 penalty minutes and was +7 in 48 games with the Crunch this season. He collected 1-1-2 and 33 penalty minutes in 17 games with the Blue Jackets in 2007-08.


TEAM NOTES

JACKETS COME UP BIG IN FLURRY OF GAMES:
The Blue Jackets endured their busiest stretch of the season, playing six games in a span of nine days from Feb. 13-21. Columbus posted a 4-1-1 record during that time, including a pair of road wins that came in the second night of back-to-back games: Feb. 13 – vs. Detroit (W,3-2), Feb. 14 – at Carolina (W, 5-1), Feb. 16 vs. Dallas (SOL, 2-3), Feb. 18 vs. St. Louis (W, 4-3), Feb. 19 – at Toronto (SOW, 4-3), vs. Anaheim (L, 2-5).

JACKETS PLAY TO THIRD SELLOUT CROWD IN LAST SIX GAMES: Since Dec. 27, the Blue Jackets have averaged 16,608 fans at 14 home games at Nationwide Arena, including five crowds in excess of 18,000 and four sellout crowds of 18,144 or better. The 18,628 at the Feb. 21 game vs. Anaheim marked the club's third sellout in the past six home games. Through 31 home games this season, the Jackets have attracted 469,681 fans for an average of 15,151… Through the first 28 home games in 2007-08, the club had attracted 449,258 fans (14,492 average) with one sellout.

MISCELLANEOUS: Columbus has posted an 8-4-1 record since the All-Star break… The Blue Jackets' seven-game regulation unbeaten streak (6-0-1) from Feb. 7-19 was one shy of the club record (4-0-2-2 from Jan. 15-Feb. 6, 2001)… Following this week's three-game Western Canadian road trip, the Blue Jackets will play 10 of their final 19 games at home with 13 games in the Eastern and six in the Central time zones… The Jackets have converted 15-of-78 power play attempts (19.2 percent) over the past 20 games…The club is 10-3-2 vs. the Northwest Division this season, including 1-0-1 vs. Calgary, 1-2-0 vs. Edmonton and 3-0-0 vs. Vancouver.


NHL NEWS

TRADE DEADLINE IS WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4:
The NHL trade deadline is Wednesday, March 4, at 3 p.m. ET. The league's public relations department has compiled an informational package for all media that includes: Trade deadline Q&A; Trade deadline activity since 1979-80; Trades in 2008-09; Players on current rosters traded on deadline day; Notable deadline deals by eventual Stanley Cup champions; Notable deadline deals involving draft picks; Notable deadline deals involving established players; NHL clubs' 2009 Entry Draft picks by round; and Trade deadline "by the numbers". The material is available on the League’s media website, media.nhl.com.

UPCOMING PROMOTIONS
TUESDAY, MAR. 3 VS. LOS ANGELES KINGS: "Alive! Jackets Night Out" – All fans ages 21 and older receive one ticket, one Donatos Pizza and one beer for one low price. Upper Bowl packages are $30 per ticket, while Lower Bowl packages are $50 per ticket… All You Can Eat Pack - This package includes one ticket in the AAA Sky Terrace and an All You Can Eat Buffet for just $39… "Schwebel's GIANT Deal" offers two tickets and one Stinger's Kids Meal (hot dog, small soda, chips and cookies) for just $45.


PROMOTIONS & CONTESTS

JACKETS, VERIZON WIRELESS INTRODUCE THREE GAME PLUS PLAN:
The Blue Jackets are offering fans an opportunity to guarantee their seats to some of the best games of the season and receive garage parking with the Three Game PLUS Plan, presented by Verizon Wireless. The plan includes two tickets to three games and one parking pass for each game in the Neil Avenue parking garage for $150 (upper bowl seats) or $330 (lower bowl seats). Fans can select from the offers two plans. Plan 1 includes – Mar. 15 vs. Detroit, Mar. 29 vs. St. Louis and Apr. 11 vs. Minnesota. Plan 2 includes – Mar. 10 vs. Boston, Mar. 26 vs. Calgary and Apr. 5 vs. Chicago. The plan is on sale now online at www.BlueJackets.com, via phone by calling (800) NHL-COLS or at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office.

"FLY WITH SCHWEBEL'S" SWEEPSTAKES: The "Fly with Schwebel's" sweepstakes gives one lucky winner and a guest the chance to jet off to Chicago to watch the Blue Jackets play the Blackhawks at the United Center on Friday, March 13. The grand-prize trip for two includes tickets to the game plus round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations for one night. Fans must mail entries to the Columbus Blue Jackets (200 W. Nationwide Blvd., Columbus, OH 43215). There is no purchase necessary to enter and entries must be postmarked by Saturday, Feb. 28. A complete list of rules and instructions for entering may be found by visiting bluejackets.nhl.com/flywithschwebels.htm. Contest details can be found on 850,000 specially marked loaves of Schwebel’s GIANT bread on Ohio store shelves.

SUNSHINE VACATIONS "PLAYER FOR THE DAY" CONTEST UNDERWAY: Sunshine Vacations is giving one lucky fan the chance to be a Blue Jacket with the "Player for a Day" online contest. The grand prize winner will sign a one-day contract with a member of the team's front office on Tuesday, Mar. 31 prior to the Blue Jackets game against the Nashville Predators. Upon "signing," the winner will receive a personalized jersey, a $500 signing bonus and four tickets to watch the game in the front line seats between the team benches. The complete game day experience also includes the opportunity to watch the Blue Jackets morning skate and the chance to be on the home team’s bench during pre-game warm-ups. Player for a Day registration runs now through Mar. 24 on www.BlueJackets.com.

JACKETS ALERTS FROM VERIZON WIRELESS: The "Jackets Alerts" program gives fans the opportunity to sign up to have breaking team news, game information and exclusive offers sent directly to their Verizon Wireless phone. By texting the word JACKETS to 79376, fans will be automatically signed up for the 2008-09 season. Standard messaging rates apply and service availability is on a carrier by carrier basis and based on handset compatibility.

FANS – SHOW THE BLUE JACKETS HOW YOU "CARRY THE FLAG": BlueJackets.com is giving fans the opportunity to show how they Carry the Flag! The team's official website is looking for creative content provided by fans about their favorite NHL team. Fans can visit www.BlueJackets.com and submit creative game previews or recaps (pdf, doc, txt), videos (wmv), photos (jpg, jpeg, gif formats no bigger than 1000x1000 pixels) or audio clips (mp3 or mpg) and the best submissions will be posted on the team's website.


BLUE JACKETS ON THE RADIO

The Coach's Show with Ken Hitchcock airs on WBNS Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan and AM1460 on Wednesdays from 3 to 4 p.m. with the Blue Jackets Head Coach, FOX Sports Ohio's Jeff Rimer and WBNS Radio's Bruce Hooley… Breakfast with the Blue Jackets can be heard on the Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Radio Network, including flagship station Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan and AM1460 on Sundays from 10 to 11 a.m. with hosts Mark Wyant and members of the Blue Jackets broadcast team.


TICKET INFORMATION

SINGLE GAME: Tickets are on sale now at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line Team Stores at the Chiller Easton, Chiller Dublin, Chiller North and The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by phone at (800) 745-3000 or online at www.BlueJackets.com and www.ticketmaster.com... SEASON & GROUP TICKETS: For information on season tickets, six-game and 10-game plans, and group tickets, call (614) 246-PUCK or (800) NHL-COLS… HUNTINGTON GREEN SEATS: A minimum of 250 tickets are available for just $10 at the Nationwide Arena Box Office two hours prior to every home game.

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