Friday, October 17, 2008
A Filatov Friday Night
I know, I know, you didn't need any more reason to watch Columbus take on Nashville tonight in the Blue Jackets home opener. But just in case, here's a real good reason to check out the game if you have the NHL centre Ice package.
Nikita Filatov will make his NHL regular season debut. Thanks to a neck injury to Jared Boll, the Jackets have called up Filatov from Syracuse, where he had scored in each of his first 2 AHL games. Filatov isn't big on size -laughingly listed at 6.00 and 177 lbs, maybe with his equipment on - but he has a large amount of talent and enthusiasm. Great wheels, a sizzling shot, and tremendous vision.
One NHL scout before last June's draft said his zest for the game is comparable to Alexander Ovechkins. He doesn't have Ovechkin's skill level, but he's not far behind as he showed at last year's World Junior Championship, putting up 9 points in 7 games for Russia, which was good enough for 2nd in tournament scoring behind American James van Riemsdyk.
The Pipeline Show interviewed Filatov from Russia last year, just before the draft, thanks to his school teaching Mother, he speaks pretty good English. It was the first North American radio interview for the top rated European heading into the draft, and while Filatov had to wait for 4 blueliners to get selected before he was taken 6th overall by Columbus, I think he'll end up as the top player from the 2008 draft not named Steven Stamkos.
I'm not sure if he'll equal Fabian Brunnstrom's debut with a hatty or not, but the 9th player from the 2008 draft to make his debut this year should dazzle fans a few times. To me he's a smaller version of Ilya Kovalchuk, who told us when we asked him whether he preferred to pass or shoot, said, I prefer to pass into the net. That plan should please Blue Jacket fans.