COLUMBUS, Ohio – When he catches a glimpse of his brother across the ice, Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno flashes back to the past and remembers the kid he grew up with all those years ago.
“A giant, 10-year-old Marcus,” he said. “It will always be 10-year-old Marcus.”
The two never played organized sports together, Nick said, but there were games with mini-sticks and times when they put holes in the wall.
But his favorite memory was watching the Wild winger make it to the NHL.
“I got to be there at his draft that day,” Nick said. “It was pretty special. You’re excited for your own, but to see your brother live out his dream is pretty special and I’m really enjoying watching his career.”
For the 15th time as NHLers, Nick and Marcus Foligno squared off against each other Tuesday when the Blue Jackets hosted the Wild.
Their reunion this season was delayed when Marcus missed the Oct. 14 game because of a facial fracture suffered in a fight the previous game against the Blackhawks.
“No matter what game it is or how many games we’ve played against each other, it’s always a lot of fun,” Marcus said. “It’s not nervous, but a certain feeling that you don’t usually get playing in a regular game. Always fun to play him. You sometimes catch yourself watching him when you’re on the bench and he’s out there, and vice versa. It’s always been a fun rivalry.”
And when Marcus, 26, spots Nick, 30, on the ice, he, too, recalls their childhood — an upbringing in which his older brother was certainly a role model.
“He kind of paved the way for me to make it, as well, and to learn firsthand on how hard you have to work to get there,” Marcus said. “Nick has been a huge part of my life, and he’s been so supportive and you’re lucky to have that relationship with your brother like that.”
Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones suited up Tuesday against the Wild despite not participating in the All-Star festivities after being invited.
Typically, a player who misses the All-Star Game receives a one-game suspension. That’s what happened in 2016 to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who had to sit out his team’s first game back after he skipped the All-Star Game because of illness.
But Jones, who did not skate in the All-Star Game because he was ill, was permitted to play, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly explained in an e-mail, because the NHL asked Jones not to attend to avoid the risk of a flu outbreak.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s wrong, and I don’t know how it can be justified. The rule states that if you miss the All-Star Game no matter what the reason that you miss the next game or you miss the previous game. He played the previous game; he should be missing this game. It’s cut and dried to me.
“… I don’t understand it. Now to me there’s a gray area in this rule forever and ever.”
Winger Chris Stewart was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch two of the previous three games, and Stewart could help spur on the much-needed improvement the Wild needs on the road. All eight of Stewart’s goals entering action Tuesday have come as a visitor.
“It’s funny how it works out,” he said. “I’ve had chances at home, too. The road is definitely a bigger, stronger game with some of the matchups. That definitely brings out the best in me.”
Since his family has grown, goalie Devan Dubnyk is getting the back plate of his mask redone to add a picture of his third son Dawson and hopes to have it completed in a few weeks.
Currently, Dubnyk has illustrations of his two eldest sons Nate and Parker on his mask.
“I gotta pick a couple photos and send them off to [artist Franny Drummond],” Dubnyk said.