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

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Monday, September 24, 2007 examines the Jackets has their pre-season preview of the Columbus Blue Jackets posted on their site. The most interesting thing about the preview are the quotes as

Anyhow, here are a notable quotes, especially from #61:

"It was sort of defined by two parts — since Ken Hitchcock took over as coach and since the All-Star Game," Nash said. "You don’t get the tempo you want by playing just 14 minutes a game. You look around the League and see the prominent forwards playing at least 20 minutes a game and in all of the important parts of each game. When Ken Hitchcock came, he kind of challenged me to be at the level that the great forwards are who play the power play and kill penalties in addition to playing on the team’s top line.

"But the confidence really came to a head for me when I went to the All-Star Game — even though my numbers might not have been where I wanted them. It was funny, but I looked around the locker room and at all of the stars at the skills competition and during the game and I felt like I belonged there. It was kind of like a boost in confidence for me."

"You don’t get to the level that I achieved and then just pat yourself on the back and stop," Nash said. "You want that kind of good pressure. There are a lot of young players who learned from their early experience at this level that they can’t just do it in spurts. You see them do it every shift, every game. That’s the kind of consistency I want for myself ... and my team.

"The best advice I ever got was from Dale Hunter when I played my junior hockey for him at London (in the Ontario Hockey League). He always reminded his players that hard work beats talent and harder work from talented players is really hard to stop."

It really does sound like Nash is ready to be a leader, if not 'the' leader, of the team. Its another sign of his maturization. He certainly appears to be picking the right players to pattern himself after.

They also have some interesting number breakdowns. Some of the ones that caught my eye:

The Jackets lowered their goals against average by 30 from the previous season.

Columbus’ 438 power-play chances were the most in the Western Conference and second in the NHL. But the Blue Jackets allowed opponents 453 power-play chances, the most in the league — including 246 (six per game) on the road.

The Jackets did well when they did score first. Their problem was getting the first goal — they won only 11 of the 49 games in which the opposition began the scoring. When they scored first they were 23-5-5.

Points for the Blue Jackets in their first 20 games, before Ken Hitchcock replaced Gerard Gallant. The Jackets played .492 hockey under Hitchcock (61 points in 62 games), but the slow start virtually eliminated them from the playoff race by Christmas.

If the Blue Jackets have any playoff hopes, they’ll have to earn a berth the hard way. Columbus’ last nine games are all within the Central Division, and four of its last 11 are against Detroit. The Jackets do have a chance to get fat in December, when 11 of their last 13 games are played at Nationwide Arena.

As I was reading their review there were a couple of errors that I wanted to point out:

They have Kris Russell already returned to juniors and note that the Jackets do not have any offensive defense on the horizon -- umm....obviously they know nothing about Russell.

They have Sheldon Brookbank as playing 3 games for us last year which is incorrect, he played 3 for Nashville.

There is much more to read than what I posted here - 8 pages worth in fact so go out and take a look.

The best sign about these preseason reviews from the NHL - the season is definitely right around the corner!


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