Blue Jackets Center’s Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov Getting Acclimated to Columbus.
After a 119-day hiatus from hockey due to the lockout, players across the NHL are gearing up for a 48-game schedule over a condensed time frame. Players have the pressure of having only a week worth of training camp to prepare for the upcoming rigorous 2013 campaign. For two new players who arrived in Columbus due to a trade with the former face of the franchise, Rick Nash, they’ll have to quickly get used to a new city and environment with the Blue Jackets.
Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov played for the New York Rangers, one of the most storied franchises in NHL history. Being a professional athlete in the most populous city in the United States certainly has its perks. Upon hearing over the summer that they’ll be playing in Columbus, a franchise that’s notorious for their poor on ice performance, the news was a tad bit shocking.
“My initial reaction was I was going to a small city and I really didn’t have much expectations,” said Dubinksy. “There’s differences, there’s changes. The pace is a little bit different. When I got here though I will say that I was pleasantly surprised how nice of a city it was and the size of it and what it had to offer. I tell all of my buddies back home in New York that it’s sort of a hidden gem.”
Dubinsky spent six seasons playing with the Rangers in New York and was drafted by the organization in 2004. Artem Anisimov, a Russian born Center, was a 2006 draft pick by the Blue Shirts and was more focused on his job duties than his living environment. “To me, I just came to play hockey. It doesn’t matter what city you live in.” Anisimov is currently living in a hotel downtown but has found an apartment near the arena district to move into. “I played in Russia during the lockout so I haven’t even had a chance to move my furniture in. Its nice though with the Blue Jackets that there are other Russians on the team!”
One thing both players can agree on is the friendliness the city possesses. “It’s a small town, people are nice here and so friendly, I like it,” stated Anisimov. “The people are certainly more genuine, nice and receptive, “ said Dubinsky. “In New York you get into an elevator and kind of just put your head down, pull out your cell phone and act like you’re doing something on it and there’s a little bit of that awkwardness. And here people actually want to have a conversation with you!”
Dubinsky’s favorite restaurants in Columbus so far have been Hyde Park and Martini while Anisimov preferred Schmidt’s and the Ocean Club. Come Spring though, both Blue Jacket players would prefer the taste of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Columbus and would rather have their fans spend time inside the ice rink at Nationwide Arena when the temperature begins to rise. “Hopefully the fan base has an opportunity to identify with our hockey club and the hard working, blue collared type club we’re going to be,” said Dubinksy.
Jason Parks is the Owner of The Media Captain, a Digital Video and Online Marketing Company in Columbus, Ohio.