Leadership from Nick Foligno usually looks something like this:
AND THE FIRST KEPI OF THE SEASON GOES TO... pic.twitter.com/kt8ZCw95Ik— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) October 8, 2019
Pregame, in-game and postgame, Foligno is the vocal leader for the Columbus Blue Jackets. His hunger for success and consistent challenging and encouragement towards teammates is unmatched.
However, in a 4-3 overtime victory Monday night against the Buffalo Sabres, Foligno wound back the clock and showed us an element to his game that has taken a bit of a dive the past few seasons - his leadership in his play on the ice.
Game Score from last night shows Alexander Wennberg turning in a solid showing. Lot of focus on 42, 28, 71, etc., but Wenny was good.— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) October 8, 2019
Also, a good night for Nutivaara-Gavrikov. #CBJ pic.twitter.com/hvTeyHdd8k
Foligno was a menace all evening - finishing with a stat line of 1-1-2, which doesn't even quite capture the impact of his presence. He was an absolute nuisance to the Sabres. What did that lead to, exactly?
"Nick Foligno...he draws the penalty, then scores the power play goal, then strips Eichel on the winning goal." said John Tortorella after the victory."
Right. Foligno essentially taking over to help his team gain a crucial first win.
In 2014-2015, Foligno was an all-star and 73-point player. Since then, he's recorded seasons of 37, 51, 33 and 35 points. So, though it seems performances like last night in a consistent manner may be in the rearview for the 31-year-old captain, he still has some premium gas left in the tank.
And even with his role being reduced from top-six to bottom-six winger, and his minutes taking a dip, Foligno has never complained about this (publically at least), he has continued to fight for his club and know his duty.
And it wasn't a "needed" win last night for the Blue Jackets...but it was close.
"It's such a long year...if it was an 0-3 (record) and we absolute shit the bed in all three games, yeah I'd be worried about it," continued Tortorella. "I think we played a more complete game in this one here."
The Blue Jackets went through a turbulent summer, and after a less-than-encouraging 0-2-0 start to this young season, they were already hearing it from the hockey world about how they were a shell of their old team.
Foligno was clearly sick of this talk - and did something about it.
As younger budding stars like Alexandre Texier, Pierre-Luc Dubois and even Emil Bemstrom look to find their games consistently, it'll be crucial for veterans like Foligno, who currently leads the club in points with three, to compensate for the youth of the team on the ice, and not just vocally.
Last night, Foligno did just that.
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