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At the Rink: Blues at Blue Jackets

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- Two significant events happened on Oct. 5, 2007, in Nationwide Arena: The bombastic cannon was used for the first time when the Columbus Blue Jackets scored and forward Jared Boll made his NHL debut for them.

Eight years and a month later, each still aggravates visiting teams with their loudness.

Boll, 29, will play in his 500th game, all with Columbus, when the Blue Jackets face the visiting St. Louis Blues on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-O).

"It seems like I've been here a long time, but at the same time it flies by," Boll said. "Coming into training camp, I never would have thought I would have been here for 500 games, especially all with the Blue Jackets."

He is the fifth Columbus player to reach 500, joining Rick Nash (674), David Vyborny (543), Rostislav Klesla (515) and Fedor Tyutin, who will play in game No. 509 on Tuesday.

"He's been a great teammate," Tyutin said. "That's one of the reasons he stuck around. He's a big part of the team. He's very liked around the locker room. He plays hard and physical every night, which is not an easy thing to do."

Boll, the longest tenured player on the Blue Jackets, fought his way into the NHL and has a Columbus-record 1,152 penalty minutes. He also has 59 career points (26 goals, 33 assists).

He had an auspicious debut. He received a five-minute major for elbowing Travis Moen of the Anaheim Ducks and a game misconduct. Boll had 3:35 of ice time in six shifts.

The Blue Jackets won 4-0 but he's witnessed more losses than victories with Columbus making the Stanley Cup Playoffs twice.

"That's the hardest part, not winning," Boll said. "You see the changes. You meet a ton of good people, coaches, GMs that gave you a chance and gave you a chance to play and you kind of feel like you let them down when you see them get fired."

He's happy his 500th game will have Ken Hitchcock behind the bench for St. Louis.

"He's the first coach I had [in the NHL]," Boll said. "He taught me a lot of what it takes to come in and play in the League and not just play a couple of years, but stick in this League and what to do on and off the ice. He was a big part of my career."

Brian Elliott is expected to make his first start in six games for the Blues.

Elliott last started on Nov. 4 when he had to leave in the first period after a collision with Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks. Elliott’s most recent appearance was Nov. 12 vs. the New York Rangers when he made 14 saves in relief of Jake Allen.

Allen made 16 saves in defeating the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 on Monday.

Hitchcock said there might be several lineup changes Tuesday based on warmups. Ryan Reaves will return after being a healthy scratch in three of the past four games.

Hitchcock noted that Reaves will add a physical presence to counter Boll.

“We’re not going to let [Boll] have a good 500th game,” Hitchcock joked of playing Reaves.

Of more concern for Hitchcock is how the Blues come out against the rested Blue Jackets.

“Our problem has been first periods on the road after back-to-backs,” he said. “We’ve got to get through the first period. Our energy for whatever reason, we work in reverse where our energy grows as the game goes on.”

Here are the probable lineups:


Alexander Steen - David Backes - Vladimir Tarasenko

Dmitrij Jaskin - Jori Lehtera - Troy Brouwer

Magnus Paajarvi - Scott Gomez - Robby Fabbri

Jeremy Welsh - Kyle Brodziak - Scottie Upshall

Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester - Kevin Shattenkirk

Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko

Brian Elliott

Jake Allen

Injured: Paul Stastny (foot), Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Patrik Berglund (shoulder), Steve Ott (upper body)

Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Ryan Reaves


Boone Jenner - Ryan Johansen - Brandon Saad

Matt Calvert- Nick Foligno - Cam Atkinson

Scott Hartnell - William Karlsson - Rene Bourque

Kerby Rychel - Gregory CampbellJared Boll

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Ryan Murray - Cody Goloubef

Fedor TyutinKevin Connauton

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Injured: David Clarkson (back), Alexander Wennberg (foot), Brandon Dubinsky (elbow)

Scratched: Dalton Prout

Status report: Prout is a healthy scratch for a second straight game. … Allen made 16 saves against the Jets and Hitchcock said afterward he had not decided who would start vs. the Blue Jackets.

Who's hot: Tarasenko has three goals and two assists in three games. Shattenkirk has three assists in two games. His return from a groin injury that cost him three weeks has helped the power play. The Blues are 4-for-13 since he's been back. They went 3-for-37 in his absence. … The Blue Jackets have killed 15 straight penalties dating back to the third period at Anaheim on Nov. 6. Hartnell has three goals and two assists during a four-game point streak.

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