Every good team has that one player who gets the most of out of his talent through hard work and dedication to the game.
And rookie center Boone Jenner is that player for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are set to make their second-ever appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after clinching the first of two wildcard spots in the Eastern Conference with last Wednesday's 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars in Texas.
"He continues to do the things he needs to do to have success," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "He plays a hard game. He works his butt off. When you're a young kid and you have some good values, good character, and come to the rink every day ready to work -- and he's got talent -- when you're ready to work -- and he's one of the hardest workers on the team -- you're probably going to have some success.
"You always look to guys driving the team, and there's some guys that drive the team. He's a young player that's one of the guys that helps drive this team."
Jenner, a 6-foot-2, 208-pound native of Dorchester, Ontario, Canada, ranks 10th on the Blue Jackets with 29 points scored in 72 games played this year. He scored 16 goals, assisted on 13 others, and had a 12.6 goal-to-shot percentage, one of the top six marks on the team.
Jenner scored a goal in a 4-3 overtime win over the Phoenix Coyotes in the last regular-season home game of the year for the Blue Jackets. He also tallied a goal and handed out two assists in Columbus' final two games of the season, a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning last Friday and a win over the Florida Panthers Saturday that helped the Blue Jackets clinch the top wildcard spot in the East.
"We want to keep playing the right way," Jenner told Bluejackets.nhl.com recently. "You don't want to have any setbacks. You want to keep getting better every day. Once that first game starts in the playoffs, we know it's going to be intense. We want to ramp it up and keep playing well, like we have for the last while.
Jenner finished the regular season with a plus-six rating, meaning the Blue Jackets outscored their opponents by six goals when he was on the ice. And it is Jenner's desire to play defense that has helped the Blue Jackets return to the postseason for the first time in five years.
"It's huge," Jenner said. "I think we've been doing a good job of that. Us, as forwards, we've got to keep coming back and helping our D. They've been doing a great job, so (we have) to keep back checking. We want five in the picture when we're back in our zone, so we've got to keep doing that."