There are several interesting storylines in tonight’s game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Alain Vigneault vs. Scott Arniel
Before Arniel signed a three-year contract with the Jackets, he was frequently mentioned as a possible AV replacement. After all, Arniel coached the Manitoba Moose to some very good seasons (like AV did) and took them to the Calder Cup Final (unlike AV). If GM Mike Gillis ever decided that he’s had enough of Vigneault’s man-crush on Kevin Bieksa, surely Arniel would have been one of the favorites to step in behind the Canucks’ bench. Now, Arniel has taken his act to Columbus, where he has led the Jackets to their best start in franchise history.
Ryan Kesler vs. RJ Umberger
The Canucks drafted both Kesler (2003) and Umberger (2001) out of Ohio State University. Linemates while at OSU, they probably would have renewed acquaintances with the Canucks, that is until their individual contract negotiations caused a rift between them.
Things have been nasty between them since.
This year, Kesler and Umberger are both alternate captains for their respective teams. Their stats are similar: Kesler has 21 points (12G-9A) in 29 games while Umberger has 20 points (8G-12A) in 29 games. Both have a plus-5 rating.
Special teams vs. Not-so-special teams
The Canucks have the best powerplay in the league (25.0%). The Blue Jackets have the second-worst (11.7%).
At Rogers Arena, the Canucks’ PP rank 8th (21.6%). On the road, the Blue Jackets’ PP rank 17th (15.1%).
The Canucks have the 6th-best penalty-kill in the league (85.0%). The Blue Jackets’ PK is ranked 22nd (80.5%).
At Rogers Arena, the Canucks’ PK rank 8th (85.7%). On the road, the Blue Jackets’ PK is the fourth-worst in the league (76.4%).