New-look Blue Jackets hit the ice
The Columbus Blue Jackets hit the ice for their 21st campaign with a season opener tonight against the Arizona Coyotes.
Skating the news: Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm at Nationwide Arena.
- There are still some tickets available on Ticketmaster and Stubhub, but be ready to open your pocketbooks — it's opening night.
- You can also catch the game on Bally Sports Ohio and 97.1 The Fan.
What's new: Columbus features new leadership this season, with longtime assistant coach Brad Larsen taking over head coaching duties.
- Larsen replaces John Tortarella, the NHL legend who had led the Jackets since 2015.
- Center Boone Jenner was named the team captain for this season. The nine-year veteran is fourth all-time in goals scored for the franchise with 121.
In memory: The Blue Jackets are honoring the memory of goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks tonight, who died in a July 4 fireworks accident at coach Manny Legace's home in Michigan.
- Kivlenieks' family members will participate in a ceremonial puck drop before the contest.
- The team will display a banner with his No. 80 and players will wear "80" helmet stickers all season.
- A new Matiss Kivlenieks Memorial Fund will support youth hockey in both Ohio and his home country of Latvia, with more than $100,000 already raised.
State of play: The Jackets' streak of four consecutive playoff berths ended last season and the team is firmly in rebuilding mode.
- Gone are a number of fan favorites, including Nick Foligno, Seth Jones, Cam Atkinson, David Savard and Pierre-Luc Dubois.
- Sportsbooks give Columbus the longest of longshots to win a Stanley Cup title with somewhere around 1-in-200 odds, Axios Sports' Kendall Baker reports.
Yes, but: That's the beauty of opening day — every team starts out with a 0-0 record. Hope springs eternal.
👋 Tyler here. I'm going to the game. If you see me, say hi!
- I'll be the one in the upper deck with a Jackets hoodie and a personal pizza. Can't miss me.
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