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Into the 'Wild'.

Saturday, October 06, 2007
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I'm in a bit of a rush out the door this morning, in large part because I have to go and get an x-ray on my left foot, then run a variety of errands. Let's see if I can't cover the most pertinent topics concerning tonight's game before I shower and then jet.

Tonight's game is against the Wild, our wonderful expansion brothers from Minnesota. This'll also be the Jackets' first road game of the season, and the first of the Jackets' back-to-back games this season. The Wild, having been known for their strong play and record at home at the Xcel Energy Center, are probably not going to be anywhere near as big of a pushover as the Ducks seemed to be last night. The Wild haven't had to travel from California, to England, back to North America, and so forth over the past week and a half or so, and have had a day off since their 1-0 shutout win on Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Wild are, ultimately, the same Wild we've seen in previous seasons: defense-oriented, with steady and reliable goaltending behind said defense. This'll be a good test for the Jackets', who didn't have much difficulty in running roughshod over a tired Ducks' defense last night.

Unlike the Jackets', the Wild have also shown steady and stable growth and success on the ice since their inception. They have two playoff berths to their name in five seasons, and four seasons of above .500 records.

The bloggers that make up the Wild's blogosphere? Wild Puck Banter (though he's on temporary hiatus), The State of Hockey, who runs the MVN blog for the team, and Minnesota Wild Hockey.

Now, as for the Jackets ...

-Fredrik Norrena will be getting the call to start in net tonight. While I'm sure that makes Bethany as giddy as a schoolgirl, Freddy-No will have to now try and play on par with Pascal Leclaire's shutout effort last night. I have faith in Norrena, however I also have a realistic view on tonight's game, simply based off of the fact that the Wild can be downright brutal when in their own arena.

-Talking with a friend of mine last night after the game, I found out that the rotating A that you'll be seeing this season will actually be tied in to whether the Blue Jackets are at home or on the road. Last night you saw Sergei Fedorov and Fredrik Modin with the A on their jerseys, and that was because Ken Hitchcock has decided that they'll be the Alternate Captains when within the friendly confines of Nationwide. Tonight, you're going to see Rick Nash and David Vyborny donning the A, because they'll be on the road. Unless I hear otherwise, that's how things will work all season.

-Jody Shelley was scratched for opening night, which begs the question whether he'll suit up tonight. It's tough to get a bead on whether he will or he won't, just because at the moment, the three left wingers who suited up last night were Nash, Modin, and Jason Chimera. If Hitch decides to suit up 12 forwards and 6 defensemen instead of 11 and 7 like last night, it's a possibility. Shelley would sooner get slotted in to the lineup than Curtis Glencross, I think.

Puck drops at 8 pm EST. Hopefully I'll be able to catch all of the game, but if not, then definitely the 2nd period onward. Go Jackets!

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Name: Michael
Home: San Tan Valley, Arizona, United States
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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