directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Jackets fall 3-1, Vyborny helped off ice

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Jackets fall 3-1, Vyborny helped off ice

Despite out shooting Nashville 33-17 yesterday evening, the Jackets fell to the Predators 3-1.

The teams were scoreless after 1 and the turning point of the game came after Davide Vyborny (pictured right) was slammed head first into the boards by Martin Erat. Erat was ejected and assessed a 5 minute major. Unfortunately it was the Preds who capitalized scoring two shorthanded goals. One off a mental mistake by Pascal Lecalire that Scott Nichol capitalized on and another mistake by Sheldon Brookbank when he bobbled a pass at the blueline that allowed Jet Ortmeyer to walk in for the 2nd shorthanded tally. Ville Koistinen capped the scoring for the Preds in the 3rd.

Dan Fritsche has the lone tally for the CBJ off a nice feed from Manny Malhotra while shorthanded.

Of course the big story of the game was David Vybory's health. Vyborny has been an iron man of sorts for the Jackets only missing two games over the past 3 seasons combined. So to see him take that kind of hit was very concerning for Jacket fans. There is some good news from coach Ken Hitchcock from this morning Dispatch:

"We're thinking right now it'll be pretty good news, that we caught ourselves a wee bit of a break here," coach Ken Hitchcock said, "because that was a hard hit."
Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson said he was "cautiously optimistic."

"(Vyborny is) pretty tender," Hitchcock said. "We're going to get a better idea (this morning), but for right now, it doesn't look serious at all."

More on the story can be read here. So we'll see what the report on #9 is sometime today.

As far at the game itself here are my thoughts:

I was actually rather impressed with Nikolai Zherdev at center. His faceoffs were terrible (went 9 for 20) but he back checked extremely well, controlled the center of the ice and had a pretty good effort out there. I know in the past many fans, including myself, road #13 pretty hard for hogging the puck but last night he almost seemed to pass it *too* much (poor guy can't win for losing). I'm sure he'll find the proper balance moving forward but I thought he looked better at center in the game than he did at practice the day before.

The "bubble" player that stood out the most to me last night was Jared Boll. He played a feisty sandpaper game and always seemed to be in the mix of things. He was involved in the game's only fight against a much bigger man in Alex Henry and won it handily. This kid is certainly making a case for himself and looks like he could have a good career as a third/fourth liner.

This was the first time seeing Jan Hejda and he didn't disappoint. He pretty much delivered what I was expected which was a sound positional defensive game. He reminded me of a mix of Rostislav Suchy and Micheal Ohlund of the Vancouver Canucks. Doesn't look to posses the offense game of an Ohlund however. It wouldn't surprise me if this guy ends up becoming our best defensemen this season.

Outside of one big mental error by Pascal Leclaire I also thought he looked solid in his first game back since his latest injury. He had a miraculous save in the first period but unfortunately followed that up in the 2nd period with a brain fart that resulted in a goal. This team cannot afford those kinds of mistakes if they want to stay in the mix this year but Leclaire is off to a good start.

Some other guys who played well were Danny Frtische and Manny Malhotra. They pretty much gave you what we've come to expect from them night and night out.

Although not liking his game as was noted in the Dispatch this morning I thought Duvie Westcott played decent. He was by far our best puckmover and the only guy who would get physical in the corners with heavyweight Darcy Hordichuck. I look for him to steadily improve throughout the preseason.

Intensity. For the most part I liked the intensity and sense of urgency this team played with last night. We controlled a lot of the game but just couldn't convert on our chances and PP opportunities.

Hitchcock. How fun was it to see Z on the PK (even though he took penalty)? I love how he puts players in uncomfortable situations. There is a well thought out reason for every move that Hitchcock makes out there. I love how he's trying to rebuild Z's confidence and gain some trust between player/coaches. Early signs are that Z is responding just as Nash did last year. Just a treat to watch.

Ron Hainsey. At this point I'm not sure why we even play this guy as the QB of our powerplay. He is so frustrating to watch carry the puck b/c its either two options for him: 1. dump it in and he goes and tries to retrieve it himself or 2. he turns it over on a dump in. This guy cannot see the ice well at all and to QB a PP you have to be able to find the open man on the rush to gain the zone. Its no wonder our team goes 0-9 on the powerplay. If Kris Russell performs on the PP I can see this team parting ways with Ron Hainsey.

The aforementioned powerplay. Even with our lack of an effective PP QB this team has no excuse going 0-9 on the PP even in a preseason game with a mixed bag of players. I have a very good feeling that once Hitch gets this team cut down to his core players they are going to practice special teams to death. This team must covert on the PP more this season to stand a chance. We must score more - a repeat of a 14 shutout performance last year then we can welcome another top 5 pick.

Sheldon Brookbank. He looked better in game action, much better actually especially positionally, but the man is slooow and he had a huge mistake on the second goal. I was expecting a little more edge to Sheldon's game last night. We'll see if that shows up more as preseason progresses.

The crowd. Yikes was it ever empty in Nationwide last night....and note to the usher in Sec 101, if you continue to treat paying customers the way you do then that building is going to get even emptier.

The next game is tomorrow against the Chicago Blackhawks at 7 p.m.


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