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Odelein named Blue Jackets’ first captain

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced Thursday afternoon that defenseman Lyle Odelein would wear the first-ever “C” for the team this year, with center Tyler Wright and left wing Geoff Sanderson acting as the alternates.”Dave (King) and I have had some great captains over the years, and one thing that really jumps out is you want captains that care about your team, care about your players and care about the organization,” said Blue Jackets General Manager Doug MacLean. “I think these three guys really set the stage for that. I’m really proud to have three people who are as capable as these guys to carry out that role for the Blue Jackets.”Odelein was touted as the favorite to receive the captainship as he is an 11-year veteran in the league.As a member of the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup Championship team, Odelein acted as an alternative captain. In a professional hockey career that has spanned from 1989 to the present with the Canadiens, New Jersey Devils and Phoenix Coyotes, he has played 721 games, scored 34 goals and has had 155 assists. Odelein said he learned from captains of his previous teams. “They led on and off the ice. When there was something that had to be said they said it at the right times. It’s just something that you learn through the years of playing in the NHL. For Tyler, Geoff and I it’s going to be a culmination for us,” he said.Neither Wright nor Sanderson have any previous captain experience but have spent plenty of time on the ice. Sanderson has spent 11 years in the NHL, Wright has spent eight. Together the duo has played in 935 professional hockey games, 78 playoff games and scored 245 goals.”It’s the first time I’ve ever had a letter on my jersey and I was looking at the character guys in our dressing room and there’s a lot of guys who could be here as well,” Sanderson said. “It’s definitely an honor.”The captain and two alternates were chosen by MacLean, head coach Dave King, assistant general manager Jim Clark, associate coach Newell Brown and assistant coach Gerard Gallant.”We had a meeting with our complete coaching staff and our management team and we looked at the situation and there was a lot of candidates,” King said. “These have been guys all through the pre-season that have been very positive with everybody. They work extremely hard, and you could just sense from the way they carried themselves they were guys who could help our team.”This was the second big announcement for the Blue Jackets this week.On Tuesday, Columbus signed their first-round draft pick to a three-year deal. Defenseman Rostislav Klesla was taken by the Blue Jackets fourth overall in the 2000 Draft.The Czech Republic native is only 18 years old and had his first season of major junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League last year. He was named to the OHL All-rookie team.Klesla scored twice and notched one assist in the pre-season for the Blue Jackets.”We’re going to play him intelligently which means that he won’t play in certain situations,” King said. “We’re going to play him on the power play and we’re going to give him a regular shift as much as we can. We want to see if this guy is for real.”The Blue Jackets have nine regular season games to decide if they will keep him on the roster or send him down to the Syracuse Crunch, Columbus’ minor league team.

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