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Blue Jackets Links

Game #52: Blue Jackets at HALIBURTON'S BEST FRIEND! (Oilers)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Record: 21-25-5
On the road: 15-10-2
Last 10: 5-4-1
Bloggers and local media:
Death Cab for Woody
End of the Bench
The Jacket Times
Goalie gone, not forgotten - Columbus Dispatch (Portzline)

Man, good thing I held off on the game day pre-game post, huh? Today's Doug MacLean Show was very informative when it came to several things concerning the Blue Jackets. Let's start off with the biggest bit of news ... Bryan Berard is back!

It's unbelievable, isn't it? Actually, most people -- including myself -- had presumed that Berard would not be back until, at the earliest, Friday in Calgary. But here One-Eye is, back hopefully now fully mended and ready to get on the ice and help out a Blue Jackets team that is currently in an extremely tough dogfight with just 31 games left in the season.

Even though I'm excited, I expect little from Berard tonight. While I hope that he will have an impact on the CBJ right off the bat, I also know that after missing 82 consecutive games since last season he deserves some slack as he transitions back in to the NHL. Godspeed, Bryan ... all Blue Jackets' fans look forward to seeing you add some more bite to a power play that needs it.

In lieu of Berard's return, Aaron Johnson will be desk jockeying in the press booth tonight.

Meanwhile, other ongoing events with the Blue Jackets concern the fact that one game has been dropped by NBC that was originally going to be a Blue Jackets vs. Blues tilt, which is scheduled for March 25th. Apparently NBC was planning to drop two games that involved the Blue Jackets, but a rather miffed NHL put their foot down and made the station not drop the February 11th match-up against the Blackhawks.

The NHL? Helping the Blue Jackets? I don't believe it! Either way, it's a sad but sobering reality that if NBC wants to get better ratings, teams like the Blue Jackets and Blackhawks are not going to invite viewers on the national scale. At the very least, they'll be keeping two of their games instead of just one, which would be against the Red Wings.

Last and not least, let's all not forget that tonight is Ty Conklin's big return to Edmonton, after he was made the goat of the Stanley Cup Finals, due to what most every hockey fan remembers happening the very first game. Opposite of him is not going to be Dwayne Roloson in the Oilers' net, but instead Jussi Markkanen, who was Conklin's counterpart last season as they both battled for the starting role for Edmonton, prior to Roloson's arrival.

Don't expect any love whatsoever from Oilers' fans. As Conklin says in his interview in The Columbus Dispatch today, he doesn't expect a venomous response equal to Chris Pronger's, but he also knows not to expect warm hugs and "Welcome home, Conks!" flyers.

Team: Edmonton Oilers
Record: 24-22-4
At home: 15-10-2
Last 10: 5-4-1
Bloggers and local media:
The Battle of Alberta
Covered in Oil
Hot Oil
Oil might count on Jussi tonight - Edmonton Sun

Loss, Loss, Win, Win, Loss, Loss, Win, Win, Loss, Loss, Win ... [tonight's results]?

I don't like the looks of this. Not one bit. Even though the Oil is struggling, is stuck in 10th place in the conference, and can't seem to string together any sort of winning streak that goes beyond two (not since early December at least), the Oilers can still be dominating. They can still kick the Blue Jackets' ass, to be quite frank.

Leading scorer Ryan Smyth has all of 8 points in the past 4 games, with 4 of them coming against the Kings just over the weekend. Speaking of which, the Oil has had a whole three to four days to get some rest, and while certainly one could spin that in a way to say that they may be rusty, also consider that the Blue Jackets are coming off a dramatic game less than 24 hours ago in Vancouver.

As mentioned before, Jussi will be in net. His record against the Blue Jackets all-time? 4-1-1-1, along with a staggering 1.60 GAA and .938 save percentage. With the exception of an implosion against Vancouver at the end of December, he's also put up good shows against Phoenix and Los Angeles in his past five games.

Season series is tied 1-1, with the away team slamming the home team each time. Let's hope that stays that way for this game, considering just how important it is.

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About Me: A mid-20s male who feels much too old even before he's 30. Has a degree in Sport Management and after branching out and trying a few other things in the job market, has finally decided to go back to his first love of hockey and hope he can break in with a team, big or small, somehow.
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