This week TheNeilShow sits down with Columbus Bluejackets play by play announcer Jeff Rimer.
TheNeilShow – Sergei Federov has put up some pretty big offensive numbers in his career. The last two seasons Federov has 43pts and 42 pts and this season in 28 games has 16 pts. Has Sergei changed his game at all since coming to Columbus? It seems when with the Wings he had bigger offensive numbers.
Jeff Rimer -The guy is a world class player…of course in Detroit he played on some great teams….the Jackets are an up and coming team…and at times he shows what a great player he was….. some nights you can see what a brilliant player he was…..other nights he has struggled…
TheNeilShow -What has the summer signing of Mike Peca brought to the Columbus Blue Jackets thus far this season?
Jeff Rimer– he has brought leadership…face-off ability…strong defensive play and check out as of today…the CBUS record when Peca is in the lineup. The Blue Jackets are….11-6 and 3 in the 20 games he has played to date.
TheNeilShow -Pascal Leclaire is having a great start to this season. He is 10-5-2 with a 1.92 GAA so far. What changes did Pascal make this season that you have noticed compared to the previous ones to get those kinds of MVP numbers?
Jeff Rimer-Leclaire, as the Jackets knew when they drafted him in the first round, is an athletic goaltender that is as good as any in the League when healthy… His problem is he hasn’t remained healthy since and including in Junior…but that seems to have changed…he spent a great deal of the summer here in Columbus working out with strength and conditioning coach Barry Brennan….and its really helped.. he has also not overplayed the puck…..he has worked extensively with goalie coach Clint Malarchuck…who by the way worked in Florida with Luongo…more than a coincidence….and Clint has taught him to let the puck hit him… Leclaire’s legs are the fastest in the League….great start and a big reason the Jackets are where they are…
TheNeilShow -The Blue Jackets are the only NHL team now that hasn’t made it to Post season play. Do you feel they have the pieces in place to give the fans a taste of NHL Playoff hockey in Columbus? If so, why is this team different than the teams before?
Jeff Rimer– This team is different because of Ken Hitchcock’s demands over the summer to come to camp ready to play in the best possible shape! THE PLAYERS KNOW EVERY NIGHT THAT THEY MUST STICK WITH HIS GAME PLAN AND THE WINS WILL COME…. THE TEAM IS WELL PREPARED EVERY GAME AND THAT IS A CREDIT TO HITCH. If they continue on the same path…yes, playoffs this season are within their reach. Everyone in the West is bunched up….and it’s likely to stay that way right to the finish!!!!
TheNeilShow -Who on the Blue Jackets roster would you say NHL fans are going to know about very soon, Prospect-Rookie wise? And why?
Jeff Rimer – Nick Zherdev has taken a big step and those disappointed around the league are starting to take notice about a player drafted fourth overall that has outstanding talent that we are seeing for the first time on a night to night basis….. Prospect wise the Jackets have a couple of players on the horizon……Derrick Brassard, Yacub Vorocek, and goalie Steve Mason…and all will have a major impact on the Jackets and the NHL as early as next season… All 3 had impressive camps…were close to the final cuts….and watch out…next year as I said could all crack the teams lineup…. 20 year old Chris Russell is still with the team…smart, mobile defenseman playing the toughest position…and the sleeper in the bunch is Curtis Glencross, perhaps a late bloomer acquired in a trade last year with Anaheim….out of Alaska and the US college system…and he is having an impact on the team right now…
TheNeilShow –“Rusty” Klesla was chosen 4th overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. The highest point total he has had was 22pts in 75 games in 2006-07. Is Klesla the player they wanted when they drafted him that high?
Jeff Rimer-Klesla is improving slowly but surely… my former broadcast partner in Florida…hall of famer…Denis Potvin says the toughest position to break in is on the blue line and it takes time…Rusty looks like he is finally ready to take the next step
TheNeilShow -I heard a pretty interesting story about how you broke on to the NHL scene. Can you tell our readers about how CNN’s Larry King was involved?
Jeff Rimer – Larry King is a great friend…I moved from working pre and post game Montreal Canadiens games to Baltimore/Washington in 1984. I started working Orioles games on WBAL radio…and I had my own talk show as well in Baltimore.
I had talked to David Poile about joining the Capitals as well and he said at some point there would be a place for me on the telecasts. Well, Larry and I became close friends…and one night before he headed out to do his national Mutual radio late night talk show… (he was the Caps host on HTS telecasts he interviewed me in the first intermission. And said something to the effect that he was starting a new chapter the following week…Host of a talk show on CNN. and turned to the camera and said…this guy Jeff Rimer knows a lot more about hockey than I will ever know…and since I start Monday at CNN Jeff is your new host…and he will be with you in the second intermission.
Of course he had told the powers that be at the Caps and HTS that he was leaving them…but I had not yet worked out a contract….a couple of years later I became the play by play voice of the Caps.
In the 93/94 season I became the first broadcaster in NHL history to do two teams games…Caps and the Florida Panthers in their first season….. I did all road games for the Caps and 31 of 33 games for the Panthers…televised in their inaugural season……..
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