Columbus Blue Jackets 2008-09 Season Preview

 

With an improved offense & dogged defense, the Columbus Blue Jackets are poised to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets: 2007-08 Review

Competing in a stacked Central Division that boasts the Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, and Nashville Predators, the Columbus Blue Jackets held their own and made their first serious playoff bid in franchise history. Fans with Columbus Blue Jackets tickets were in for a thrilling season as the 34-36-12 Blue Jackets finished just 11 points out of the postseason. Fans with Columbus Blue Jackets tickets hoped that the 2008-09 NHL season would be the year that Coach Ken Hitchcock and the Columbus Blue Jackets finally get over the hump and snag a playoff spot.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Offense

The Columbus Blue Jackets finished 29th in the league in goals per game. Fans with Columbus Blue Jackets tickets will see an ever-improving offense taking the ice after some roster shuffling in the off season. Forward Nikolai Zherdev is out and in are Christian Backman and Fedor Tyutin - a couple of players who could anchor the Columbus Blue Jackets' 26th-ranked power play. The Columbus Blue Jackets offense boasts greater depth and a good balance of youth and experience.

Other additions to the Columbus Blue Jackets offense include former Philadelphia Flyers scoring hero, R.J. Umberger, who posted a career-best 50-point season. Fans with Columbus Blue Jackets tickets are sure to love Umberger's work ethic, tenacity, and dominant play. Also, 25-goal scorer Kristian Huselius has been brought in from the Calgary Flames to team up with Umberger and team captain Rick Nash, who enjoyed a career year last season. Fans with Columbus Blue Jackets tickets will want to keep an eye on a healthy Fredrik Modin who could help the offense soar.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Defense

The Columbus Blue Jackets' offense may be a work in progress this season, but the Columbus Blue Jackets defense will be what drives fans to buy Columbus Blue Jackets tickets. The Columbus Blue Jackets are one of the top defensive teams in the league, and it was the team's outstanding defensive play that kept them in the Western Conference playoff race. The Columbus Blue Jackets will continue to rack up the shutouts (they recorded 11 goose eggs last season).

Columbus Blue Jackets tickets will feature some new faces on the blue line, including Fedor Tyutin, Christian Backman, and Mike Commodore. Old faces such as veteran Jan Hejda, longtime Blue Jacket Rostislav Klesla, backdoor threat Kris Russell, and a healthy Ole-Kristian Tollefsen return, giving the Columbus Blue Jackets plenty of depth on the back end, which is a luxury that NHL teams would love to have.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Goaltending

Columbus Blue Jackets tickets will feature goalie Pascal Leclaire back in action between the poles this season. After struggling with injury and growing pains in his first few seasons, Pascal Leclaire enjoyed a breakout season (54 games played, 24 wins, 2.25 GAA, .919 save percentage, and nine shutouts). Should Pascal Leclaire stay healthy, fans with Columbus Blue Jackets tickets will see the No. 1 netminder appearing in 60-plus games.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Coaching

During the off season, Coach Ken Hitchcock signed a three-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets, much to the delight of fans with Columbus Blue Jackets tickets. Ken Hitchcock will have plenty of new weapons to work with, especially on offense. Fans with Columbus Blue Jackets tickets can count on Hitchcock's great hockey mind to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets into the playoffs for the first time which will send loyal NHL fans all across Ohio into a frenzy.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets: Outlook

Coach Hitchcock, the players, and fans with Columbus Blue Jackets tickets believe that this is the best Columbus Blue Jackets team to ever take the ice. By improving on offense and hoarding plenty of depth up front, the Columbus Blue Jackets addressed some of the biggest question marks of last season that ultimately kept them out of the race for the Stanley Cup. Captain Rick Nash is the heart and soul of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and it will be up to him to lead the club to their first-ever playoff berth.

 

Backed by a physically imposing defense, the Columbus Blue Jackets are sure to wear down their opponents from the blue line. They are tougher. They are bigger. They are deeper than ever before. And that's just how Coach Hitchcock likes it. Fans with Columbus Blue Jackets tickets finally have a No. 1 goalie in Pascal Leclaire to count on and will need him to stay healthy and repeat his spectacular play from last season. If the Columbus Blue Jackets can stay hungry and more importantly healthy, then fans with Columbus Blue Jackets tickets can expect to see their beloved team in the Big Dance.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets: Lineup

Columbus Blue Jackets tickets feature a revamped Columbus Blue Jackets roster, including LEFT WINGS Rick Nash, Jason Chimera, Fredrik Modin, and Andrew Murray; CENTERS R.J. Umberger, Derick Brassard, Michael Peca, Manny Malhotra, and Jiri Novotny; RIGHT WINGS Kristian Huselius, Jakub Voracek, Raffi Torres, Jared Boll, and Derek Dorsett; DEFENSEMEN Mike Commodore, Jan Hejda, Fedor Tyutin, Kris Russell, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, Christian Backman, Marc Methot, and Rostislav Klesla; and GOALIES Pascal Leclaire, Steve Mason, Fredrik Norrena.

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