Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Boone Jenner best player for Columbus Blue Jackets in loss to Montreal Canadiens

Boone Jenner of the Columbus Blue Jackets set the NHL preseason on fire, producing points at a rapid pace while skating on a line alongside Marian Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky. Every night it seemed like the trio was scoring six or seven points between the three of them, and Jenner’s stock skyrocketed.

He’d gone from maybe-he’ll-make-it, maybe-he-won’t status to top-line forward for the Columbus Blue Jackets heading into the season opener against the Calgary Flames. It didn’t take Jenner very long to recognize the difference between the preseason and regular season though, and he seemed lost out on the ice.

Sometimes it can be tough to tell how fast of a game hockey is on television. Get down on the ice level and you’ll see how little time and space there is to work with out there. That’s what makes guys like Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane so special. The things they’re able to do on the fly with a 6’4″, 225 pound fourth-liner charging at them are incredible.

Chalk it up to a learning experience for Jenner, who sank down the depth chart for Columbus and eventually found himself watching from the press box. This has been a common tactic so far in the 2013-14 NHL season. Young players around the league have been benched and asked by their coaches to really consider the finer points of their game while watching the game develop from afar.

While a few games off hasn’t helped the likes of Mikhail Grigorenko or Nail Yakupov, Jenner came out flying against the Canadiens on Thursday night. With Gaborik on the shelf with the flu, the Jackets needed someone to step up their level of play. That player was Jenner.

Skating mostly on a line with Mark Letestu and Artem Anisimov, Jenner scored twice and added an assist while taking a whopping six shots on net. He was on the ice for 20 minutes—seven more minutes than his former career high—and Jackets coach Todd Richards utilized the guy that appeared to be his most effective forward early and often.

If Jenner continues to play like he did against Montreal, it’s unlikely he’ll be seeing the inside of a press box again any time soon.

Tags: Boone Jenner Columbus Blue Jackets NHL

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