Its time for a look in at the final Central Division match up against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blues do not play them until November 27th well over a month and half into the season. This series is always good for big hits, lots of fights, and high scoring games as these two teams absolutely do not like each other. Lets see how they did this offseason.
The Columbus Blue Jackets were a busy team in the offseason seemingly nabbing every available free agent. But their biggest acquisition was in a trade that brought back Jeff Carter. Over the summer they also aquired James Wisniewski, Vinny Prospal. The players that left or were traded were Nikita Filatov, and Jakub Voracek. They made it a point to add forward depth and defensive depth over the summer and I think they achieved that goal.
With their big acquisition for Carter lines are projecting to be Nash, Carter, Umberger. The Blues had a lot of trouble with Umberger last year and having Carter on the line will only make it harder for our defensive core to shut them down. There is still one player on that line that hates to face the Blues and that is is Rick Nash. Nash seems to be constantly embarrassed by big hits from smaller players, (insert the term OSHIED! ). Nash and Umberger always find a way to play with a chip on there shoulder against the boys in Blue but our team fared very well against the Blue Jackets going 4-2-0 last year. The winning record came with some perils though. In a tough loss last year the Blues not only lost 8-1 but they lost TJ Oshie to an ankle break.
Oshie regarded as the teams engine sent Berglund into a slump as they are good friends. On a positive not their best win was 6-1 against Columbus. Overall Columbus out scored the Blues for the season series 22-20, but a 4-2-0 record is something I will take over being minus 2 in the goal column.
(side note: Wisniewski was recently suspended for 8 regular season games)
With the Blues and Blue Jackets loaded up this year with forward depth this year, the season series should be exciting. This is a match up quickly turning into a huge rivaly for good reason. Both teams hate each other and the Blue Jackets found a way to break up the boys pre game soccer game. Keys to this match up will be the power forwards David Backes, Chris Stewart, and Jason Arnott screening Steve Mason. Mason who has really been down since his outstanding rookie year, is once again looking for a bounce back season.
The dirty play of the Blue Jackets pitted against the blue collar grinding mentality of the Blues will make this a must watch. If you have a chance to get to a game, this is my suggestion of who to see.
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