Sunday, September 14, 2008

The 2008 NHL Centre I.C.E. Prospects Tournament

Sep 10, 2008

COLUMBUS, OHIO -- The Columbus Blue Jackets will take their first on-ice steps towards the opening of the 2008-09 season September 13-17 as 26 players, including former Clarkson defenseman Grant Clitsome, and former Yale duo Rob Page and Blair Yaworski, will participate in a rookie camp and prospect tournament at the Center Ice Arena in Traverse City, Michigan. Participating players will undergo physicals and fitness testing beginning at 7 a.m. on Friday, September 12 at McConnell Heart Health Center. Players will be available to the media between 12-12:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (33 E. Nationwide Blvd.) prior to departing for Traverse City.

This year will mark the eighth-straight in which Columbus has participated in the Annual NHL Prospect Tournament. The Blue Jackets won the tournament championship in 2006 and 2007 and were defeated by the New York Rangers in the championship game a year ago. In addition to Columbus, NHL clubs participating this year include the Atlanta Thrashers, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Blue Jackets will play in the Western Conference along with Dallas, Minnesota and St. Louis. The Eastern Conference will consist of Atlanta, Detroit, NY Rangers and Tampa Bay.

The Blue Jackets' rookie camp roster will feature 26 players, including 12 who were selected by the club via the NHL Entry Draft. Leading the group will be the Blue Jackets' top picks in the last two Entry Drafts - right wing Jakub Voracek (seventh overall pick in 2007) and center Nikita Filatov (sixth overall pick in 2008). In addition, three additional players who were selected in the 2008 Entry Draft will also participate: defenseman Steven Delisle (107th), left wing Matt Calvert (127th) and defenseman Brent Regner (137th).


The Blue Jackets rookies will be coached in Traverse City by Ross Yates, head coach of the club's AHL affiliate Syracuse Crunch. He will be assisted by Crunch Assistant Coach Trent Cull. Columbus General Manager Scott Howson, Director of Player Personnel Don Boyd and Director of Amateur Scouting Paul Castron will lead members of the organization's hockey operations staff who will also be on hand for the camp and tournament.

Blue Jackets veterans and rookies will officially open the club's eighth training camp with physicals and strength testing on Friday, September 19, before taking the ice for the first time on Saturday, September 20.

Minnesota v Columbus

In the second period, the Blue Jackets outshot the Wild, 14-7, and tied the game with an unassisted goal by Blair Yaworski at 1:24.

As low-intensity as the Lighting/Thrasher game was, the Wild/ Blue Jackets game was full of drama and hitting. The Blue Jackets won the contest 4-3 in a shootout, but every minute of the game was exciting and well played. Cal Clutterbuck, Justin Hodgman and Scott Wasden all had goals for Minnesota, however, the best player on the ice was Tyler Cuma, the Wild's first-round selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. The blueliner was everywhere -- hitting, make the smart play, using his stick to force turnovers, taking the lead and playing within himself. For Columbus, the best player on the ice was free agent Blair Yaworski, surprising though it might be, given that he was playing on a team that also featured Jakub Voracek and Maksim Mayorov. Yaworski recorded one goal, the Blue Jackets' first of the game, where he dragged his toe and then released an excellent shot high over the netminder's shoulder. This was not an isolated incident, as he released a second shot with the same finesse, but it was stopped by the Wild netminder. As for Voracek and Mayorov, Voracek tried to do too much on the ice. Clearly extremely talented, if he had simplified his game, Voracek would have been very successful. Mayorov, for his part, was completely invisible. While once or twice his outstanding speed became apparent, as quickly as it was flashed, it disappeared.

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