Scott Arniel played for the Sabres in Memorial Auditorium and coached them as an assistant in HSBC Arena. Obviously, returning to stand behind the bench as the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets means something.
"It’s nice. I have great memories here," Arniel said this afternoon while preparing to face the Sabres tonight. "This city, there’s lots of family, friends and lots of people over the years that you grew up with and got to work with. I got my first sort of gig in the NHL with Lindy [Ruff], working with him, so I certainly have a lot of respect for him and what him and Darcy [Regier] have done here.
"It’s the game that’s most important, and it’s our 20 guys against their 20 guys. It’s nice when you go against guys you know on the other side, but again it’s about making sure that we win."
To do that, Arniel said, the Blue Jackets will attempt to outskate the Sabres from the start.
"They’ve had a week off," Arniel said. "I guess that gets them rested. Hopefully, it maybe gets them a little slow start. We need to get after them. I know it’s been one of our strong suits recently that when we get after people in the first period it gets us into the game and it gets kind of the momentum shifted our way. We won’t do anything different tonight."
The Blue Jackets are 0-2-1 in their last three games but are 14-8-1 this season. They will start goaltender Mathieu Garon, who is 6-1 with a 1.33 goals-against average and .950 save percentage.