Marc Methot: Columbus Defenseman Impressing at IIHF World Championships

Patrick DrottarCorrespondent IMay 6, 2011

COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 21:  Marc Methot #3 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates on to the ice as the starting line up is announced prior to the start of the game against the Calgary Flames on December 21, 2010 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
John Grieshop/Getty Images

In the beginning of last season, the Columbus Blue Jackets got off to an unexpected start. After the first two months, the Jackets found themselves at the top of the Central division, battling it out with the powerhouse Detroit Red Wings.

One of the reasons for the Jackets hot start was Canadian defenseman Marc Methot. Methot played primarily on Columbus' penalty kill and was the Jackets go to shut-down defenseman.

At the end of November, Methot registered 10 assists and had an astounding plus-eight rating. Methot was on pace to have a breakout season for the Blue Jackets as a top defenseman.

However, as the season progressed and as the Blue Jackets struggled, so did Methot. In the remaining four and a half months of the season, Methot would tally zero goals, only five more assists, and finish three of those months with a negative plus/minus rating.

No one was looking more towards the end of the season than Methot. After the season, it was announced that Methot, along with Antoine Vermette and captain Rick Nash, would represent Canada in the International Ice Hockey Federation's World Championship in Slovakia.

Head coach Scott Arniel would also represent Team Canada as an assistant coach.

Since beginning at the end of April, it looks as if Canada will be one of the favorites to win the championship.

One player who has come up big so far for the Canadians, according to coach Arniel, is Methot. Arniel told the Columbus Dispatch that Methot is confident and is playing like he did in the beginning of the year.

"You should see how he's closing on people over here," Arniel said. "He's playing a PK role, a shut-down guy role here, and he's been excellent."

Throughout the tournament, Arniel has realized that Methot needs to play on the left side of the ice in order to be successful.

"If I can get him back on the left side, we're a better team," Arniel said. "When he's on the right side, the puck is on his backhand too much and he paints himself into corners."

Methot's success this summer has the defenseman confident once again. Hopefully this will carry over into next October when the Jackets look to reach the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.