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Examining the Columbus Blue Jackets

by Evan Grossman / NHL.com

 
Complete Blue Jackets Analysis:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards
Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster

Hitchcock has plan in place for Columbus

It’s the dawn of a new era in Columbus. There’s a new general manager in Scott Howson and Ken Hitchcock, one of the elite bench bosses of the NHL, enters his first full season as head coach. Hitchcock came on board last November with the task of turning the franchise around, and he brought immediate improvement to a team that has been among the NHL’s doormats since entering the league in 2000. Hitch, who won a Stanley Cup running the Dallas Stars in 1999, wasted no time in changing the culture in Columbus — and his impact was felt immediately by a team that instantly became much more responsible defensively.

Among the many changes Hitchcock brought to Ohio hockey was getting sniper Rick Nash to become a more complete player, getting Sergei Fedorov to care a little more, and bringing hope to a loyal fan base. It will be interesting to see what Hitchcock can do with a full season to preach his detail-oriented gospel.

While Hitchcock tries to work his magic behind the bench, Howson will be in the executive suite trying to improve the overall product. Howson was hired in June after a seven-year run working for Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe. The Blue Jackets made a little noise in the free agent market this summer when Howson lured unrestricted Michael Peca to Ohio, where adding leadership and grit will be just another step in the right direction. The Jackets are young and don’t have a lot of experience, so it will be up to the new coach and GM, as well as some savvy veterans like captain Adam Foote, to keep working to turn the tide.
2006-07 Record:
33-42-7, 4th Central

Who's In:
F Kris Beech, D Sheldon Brookbank, D Jan Hejda, F Derek MacKenzie, D Mikko Maenpaa, G Adam Munro, F Jiri Novotny, F Michael Peca, D Dan Smith
 
Who's Out:

G Brian Boucher, D Ryan Caldwell, D Anders Eriksson, D Aaron Johnson, D Adam McQuaid, F Darcy Verot, D Derek Walser

2006-07 Leading Scorers:
David Vyborny (16-48-64), Rick Nash (27-30-57), Fredrick Modin (22-20-42), Sergei Fedorov (18-24-42), Jason Chimera (15-21-36)

2006-07 Goaltending Leaders:
Fredrick Norrena 24-23-3, 2.78 GAA, 55 appearances, .904 save percentage, 3 shutouts; Pascal Leclaire 6-15-2, 2.97 GAA, 24 appearances, .897 save percentage, 1 shutout


NHL.com's 2007-08 Blue Jackets Season Preview Package:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards | Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster

 

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