directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Blue Biscuits

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Blue Biscuits

A mixed bag of Blue Jackets news and nuggets for you this morning:

Brian Compton of takes a look at players to watch out for this season in the Western Conference - here is his CBJ pick:

Columbus Blue Jackets: Michael Peca — Columbus will be Peca’s (pictured right) fourth home in the last four seasons after stays in Long Island, Edmonton and Toronto, but his leadership skills cannot and should not be underestimated. While coach Ken Hitchcock certainly won’t be relying on Peca to fill the net — he had just four goals in 35 games last season for the Leafs — the Blue Jackets bench boss will definitely lean on the two-time Selke Trophy winner to guide a franchise that has yet to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Aaron Portzline of the Dispatch weighed in late night on his blog regarding the Eklund rumors that we are interested in a Vancouver center and that Edmonton is interested in Zherdev - some of this thoughts:

On Vancouver:
Let's break this down: Which Canucks center? Brendan Morrison? Doubt it. He centers Markus Naslund on the Canucks' No. 1A line. If they trade him, who's the No. 1 center? That creates a huge hole in the lineup of a club that already struggles to score goals.

I'm told the Blue Jackets have not had talks with the Vancouver Canucks. I'd be a fool to believe they haven't kicked a couple of tires in an attempt to acquire a No. 1 center, but it would be tough to swing. I mean, really, who has too many No. 1 centers?

On Edmonton:
The Blue Jackets and Oilers makes sense ... sort of. Edmonton has already turned a fancy, frilly player into a NHL stud (Ales Hemsky), so maybe they could pull off the magic trick with Zherdev, too. There were rumors this summer that the Oilers turned down a Zherdev for Joffrey Lupul trade. Maybe Howson was behind that decision. Funny, now that he's in charge of the Blue Jackets and Zherdev, eh?

Some good points and notice he never denies the Jackets talking with Edmonton. Both Vancouver and Edmonton need offense more than they can give it but both have a suprlus of defensemen -- we can certainly use either. If a deal were to come out of either of these teams I'd look for a defensemen to come back the other way.

Portzline also takes a look at the powerplay this morning and Hitch, as always, has some intelligent comments regarding it:

"We kept trying to make plays to get the puck to the net," coach Ken Hitchcock said, "rather than getting the puck to the net and then making plays."

The Blue Jackets plan to keep the two point men moving along the blue line, with the forward perched along the half-wall rolling to the point to allow one of the point men to creep down low.
"It seems like we're getting more shots through," defenseman Ron Hainsey said, "or at least we're opening up a lane to get the puck down to the forwards and, hopefully, to the net."

"You can't have an effective power play and be static," Hitchcock said. "The penalty kills are too good. We have to play with more risk to be effective."

I love that last quote that we have to play with more risk to be effective.

So the key to improving our 26th ranked PP last year is movement and getting shots in from the point on net - something of which we were terrible at last year. I also suspect having a guy like Kris Russell QB the PP is also going to significantly improve out chances as he's shown an incredible knack at finding the open player on the rush and delivering hard pinpoint passes to sticks. He also has shown the ability to know when to pinch and when not to. I think its safe to say he will, if he hasn't already, supplant Ron Hainsey as our primary PP defensemen. He will make his share of mistakes, that all rookies do, but the plusses will by far outweight the minuses assuming he stays healthy.

I'll have a game preview against the Carolina Hurricanes later on today.


No comments: