I woke up today with a little giddy up in my step, I was unable to make it to any of the Columbus Blue Jacket training camps that started on Wednesday. Today was different, I was going to attend the Columbus Blue Jackets scrimmage being held on the main ice at Nationwide Arena.
So I hopped out of bed, got ready, and headed downtown to see the team that has everybody in this town excited for the start of the season. The scrimmage was something nice to have the eve before the Blue Jackets first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The training camp squads were split into two separate teams and got ready to battle it out for a period. The team names, Team Blue and Team White, pretty appropriate seeing as those were the jersey colors they wore. The Blue Team had the likes of Jared Boll, Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner, Mark Letestu, R.J. Umberger, Jack Johnson, and Nikita Nikitin. While the White Team had some familiars faces such as Artem Anisimov, Cam Atkinson, Matt Calvert, Marian Gaborik, James Wisniewski, Tim Erixon, and the newcomer Ryan Murray.
Anisimov is the only big name to put a point on the board, he did so for Team White 11 minutes into the scrimmage. Then Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, and Alex Aleardi came down on a two on one, JAM slid a nice little pass over to Aleardi and who buried it home. Jared Boll, with the ink still wet on the contract extension he signed yesterday showed some vigor, finishing checks on some young-ins. Even though it was just a scrimmage he still goes all out, all the time, and that’s why I love him and what he brings to this team. Sergei Bobrovsky was switched out about half way through the scrimmage without giving up a goal, surprise, surprise! The scrimmage ended with Team White beating Team Blue 2-0.
After the gameplay the two sides finished with a good old shootout. This time it was the rookies turn to try to show what they could do, and a couple of them stepped up. Ilari Melart scored first for Team White on a beautiful goal, then was immediately answered by Andrew Joudrey for Team Blue. Trent Vogelhuber won it for Team White with a hell of a goal to the delight of the 2000 or so fans that made it out on this beautiful Saturday.
All in all a good showing, the passes looked crisp, the team looked fast, and most importantly they looked focused heading into their first preseason game.
I made the short walk over to the Ice Haus to watch the second team practice of the day, where I was pleasantly surprised to catch a glimpse of Bobrovsky! He was working with a coach on dump-ins, his puck handling behind the net, and working on getting the puck up the ice. I got to see him make some point-blank stops that should have hit the back of the net, and was impressed by his quickness side to side. I have never been able to see him work that close up, and reveled in the chance to get to do so.
It was a great opportunity for the fans to be able to go and see the Blue Jackets up close and personal, and get some inside access that they don’t usually get to see.
If you weren’t able to attend that’s too bad, it got me even more excited for the start of the season, if that’s even a possibility.