What's buzzing on Yahoo Sports:
4 -
Team 1 2 3
CGY 2 0 2
CLS 2 0 1

Flames-Blue Jackets Preview

AP - Sports

Twelve seasons in the Western Conference produced one playoff berth - and no postseason victories - for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets were one of the hottest teams down the stretch to close last season and are hoping a shift to the East will pay dividends.

Columbus plays as an Eastern Conference team for the first time Friday night at home against the Calgary Flames.

The Blue Jackets never quite fit in the West, as they were often forced to make long flights for games against teams in the Pacific time zone. Now they are in the brand-new Metropolitan Division as part of an Eastern Conference that is comprised solely of teams in the Eastern time zone.

"This going to the East in the new divisional concept, it's going to be a difficult time for any of these teams to make the playoffs,'' Blue Jackets director of hockey operations John Davidson said.

Columbus narrowly missed making the playoffs in its last season in the West despite closing on a 19-5-3 surge after March 3 for the NHL's second-best record in that span behind Pittsburgh. The Blue Jackets finished with a 24-17-7 mark and 55 points - which would have tied them for eighth place in the East and would have been within two points of four other teams.

"We expect nothing short of being in the playoffs this year,'' forward R.J. Umberger said. "That's our goal.''

The Blue Jackets will celebrate the start of the new season by having Ohio native Jack Nicklaus take part in the ceremonial puck drop.

Columbus probably wishes it would debut a healthy Nathan Horton instead of welcoming the greatest golfer in history. Horton signed a seven-year, $37.1-million deal this offseason, but the former Boston star won't be available until December due to shoulder surgery.

The Blue Jackets will have Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, who was fifth in the NHL with a 2.00 goals-against average a season ago as he provided stability for a franchise that floundered due to the struggles of former Columbus goalie Steve Mason.

"Bob is Bob,'' coach Todd Richards said. "I have no doubt he can do it again."

Columbus went 5-0-2 over the previous two seasons against Calgary behind eight points from Vinny Prospal, who led the Blue Jackets with 30 a season ago but is no longer with the club.

Marian Gaborik, acquired April 3 from the Rangers, will begin his first full season with Columbus as he tries to help improve an offense that finished 25th in goals last campaign.

The Flames finished with the NHL's fifth-worst record last season, and opened 2013-14 by blowing a three-goal lead in a 5-4 shootout loss at Washington on Thursday.

David Jones, Lee Stempniak, Jiri Hudler and Lance Bouma all scored for Calgary, which led 3-0 after one period and 4-1 in the second.

Coach Bob Hartley said there was "no excuse" for the defeat.

"Very happy with the effort, obviously disappointed with the result," Hartley said. "I told the boys, 'It's one thing to play in the NHL, and there's a different way to win in the NHL.'"

Karri Ramo made 35 saves in his Calgary debut as he replaces the retired Miikka Kiprusoff.

The Flames are expected to again be without Michael Cammalleri, out with a hand injury.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (6)

Recommended for You

  • WARNING: Graphic photos of Giancarlo Stanton's face

    WARNING: Graphic photos of Giancarlo Stanton's face   Giancarlo Stanton showed his face Tuesday, and it looked a lot better than it did Thursday after an errant pitch struck him there. Even though the"before" photo is pretty disturbing, the "after" pic

    Big League Stew
    Wed, Sep 17
    4:10 PM PDT
    Miami at NY Mets
    Preview Game
  • AARP® Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford

    Age 50+? Responsible drivers deserve better protection. You Could Save $404* on Auto Insurance.

    AdChoicesThe HartfordSponsored
  • Lexi Thompson's newest photo shoot will catch your attention

    Lexi Thompson first entered the public consciousness at 12 years old when she qualified for the U.S. Now at 19, Thompson has set LPGA records as their youngest champion (since eclipsed by Lydia Ko) and won a major championship. Thompson dons a bikini in what would probably be considered in golf…

    Devil Ball Golf
  • WWE vs. NFL: The Monday night war that isn't

    Last night's episode of Monday Night RAW played out like a game of RISK. There is no such thing as competition with the NFL because, well, when you have just 16 games per year, not including playoffs, each one of them is a big deal. Especially on Monday night, when most pigskin patrons don't have…

    SB Nation
  • UFC Fight Night 52 complete fighter breakdown, Roy 'Big Country' Nelson edition

    UFC Fight Night 52 complete fighter breakdown, Roy 'Big Country' Nelson edition MMAmania.com resident fighter analyst Andrew Richardson breaks down the mixed martial arts (MMA) game of UFC Fight Night 52 headliner Roy Nelson, who looks to out-brawl Mark Hunt this Saturday night (Sept. 20, 2014) at…

    SB Nation
  • RG3 forced to turn religious T-shirt inside out, Christians get mad at gays.

    Robert Griffin III's T-shirt was a violation of NFL rules. It also told non-Christians that they have no peace in their lives. Robert Griffin III, the now-former Washington quarterback, was about to wear a Christian T-shirt at a post-game press conference until the NFL said...ummmm, no. RG3's shirt…

    SB Nation
  • Ronda Rousey rips Cris Cyborg: ‘The best she has isn’t good enough, even on drugs’

    Ronda Rousey has strong words for Cris Cyborg. The UFC bantamweight champion spoke to the Brazilian media on Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and attacked the Invicta FC’s featherweight champion. According to Rousey, Cyborg, who is expected to make her 135-pound debut later this year, asked to be…

    SB Nation
  • CBS: Rihanna out of NFL telecast

    CBS and Rihanna are splitting up, more fallout from the Ray Rice domestic violence incident and the turmoil it has caused for the NFL. The network said Tuesday it was permanently editing a song featuring Rihanna's voice out of its Thursday night NFL telecasts — after the singer issued a profane…

    Associated Press
  • Vikings message board shuts down, disgusted by both team and fans

    VikingsMessageBoard.com, a longtime board devoted to discussion of the Minnesota Vikings, has shut down forever because of its owners' disgust with the burgeoning Adrian Peterson scandal. Sure, there's Peterson himself, indicted on charges of child abuse. Vikings Message Board has been shut down…

    Shutdown Corner
    Sun, Sep 14
    New England30 - 7Minnesota
    Game Recap
  • View

    'Hawaii Five-0' Season 5 Premiere Screening (19 photos)

    'Hawaii Five-0' Season 5 Premiere ScreeningThousands of Oahu residents and visitors flocked Queen's Surf Beach in Waikiki Saturday, Sept. 12, 2014, in Honolulu. They gathered in Waikiki to watch the season five premiere of "Hawaii Five-0." Grace Park

    Yahoo TV
  • Phil Simms deconstructed: Why Broncos fans want him banned

    Do Denver Broncos fans have merit in petitioning to ban Phil Simms from Broncos broadcasts? Let's break down some of Phill Simms' questionable commentary from Denver's 24-17 win over the Chiefs, in chronological order. The most egregious comment from CBS color commentator Phil Simms Sunday came…

    SB Nation
    Sun, Sep 14
    Kansas City17 - 24Denver
    Game Recap
  • Week 3 Ranks: Defense/Special Teams

    Week 3 Ranks: Defense/Special Teams More Week 3 Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | K | DST The following list comprises the top 20 team defense/special team rankings for Week 1 of each Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert. The list is ordered by the overall top 20

    Yahoo Sports
  • French Tennis Player Hits A Ridiculous Between-The-Legs Shot During Davis Cup Match

    Gael Monfils has a well-earned reputation as one of the most exciting players in tennis today and he unleashed yet another jaw-dropping shot during France's Davis Cup win over the Czech Republic. France had already clinched their semifinals match-up when Monfils took the court to face Lukas Rosol.

    Business Insider
  • Arkansas State player pretends to die during bad fake punt attempt at Miami (GIF)

    In the second quarter of the Red Wolves' loss to Miami on Saturday, Arkansas State went for a fake punt. Not only did the play not get the desired result, but Arkansas State's Booker Mays pretended to die in an attempt to fake out the defender in front of him.

    Dr. Saturday
  • Clemson players still upset about Jameis Winston 'our house' tweet

    One of the more anticipated games of the weekend is top-ranked Florida State’s home matchup against No. 23 Clemson in an ACC contest. The game is not quite as hyped up as last year’s version of the game, when the Seminoles marched into Death Valley and destroyed the Tigers 51-14.

    Dr. Saturday
  • Ray Rice drawing interest from NFL teams

    Recently waived Ravens running back has reportedly drawn interest from a few NFL teams Bleacher Report NFL Insider Jason Cole mentioned that a few NFL teams are keeping their eyes out for recently waived Ravens running back Ray Rice.  With Rice looking to appeal his indefinite suspension, he could…

    SB Nation
  • Dwight Howard has license suspended for running red lights, being dumb

    Rockets center Dwight Howard may play in Houston now, but he is still paying for his years in Orlando, getting his license suspended for failing to pay his red light tickets in Orlando. In a more lighthearted twist, Rockets center has gotten his license suspended for his failure to pay a red light…

    SB Nation
  • Floyd Mayweather: Marcos Maidana needs to move over to MMA with the rest of the dirty fighters

    Floyd Mayweather: Marcos Maidana needs to move over to MMA with the rest of the dirty fighters Marcos Maidana might want to work on his takedown defense, as he could have a long and prosperous career in mixed martial arts (MMA). That's according

    SB Nation
  • Mets caught trying to secretly change their logo

    Last night, while Mets fans were busy watching Jacob deGrom striking everybody out and the good guys dropping yet another seesaw affair against the Marlins, the Mets' media team were up to some sneaky business. Thanks to a few sharp-eyed logo experts and the power of Twitter, we have learned that…

    SB Nation