directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Avalanche burry Jackets 5-1

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Avalanche burry Jackets 5-1

The Colorado Avalanche buried the Jackets yesterday evening with a 5-1 victory. Joe Sakic had a 3 goals and Milan Hejduk added two of his own as the game was never in doubt starting from the first drop of the puck. Rusty Klelsa had the lone tally for the Jackets early in the 2nd.

Lit it up
The only player on the ice that played even close to well was goalie Pascal Leclaire. Although the stats won't show it (he stopped 20 of 25 shots) the score could have been much worse. He also broke the record for longest stretch of hockey for a Blue Jacket goaltender - unfortunately just as Jeff Rimer announced said record Joe Sakic scored off a lucky bounce.

Dim the light
The penalty kill was strong early as it was able to kill a lengthy 5 on 3. Unfortunately for the Jackets the Avalanche were able to convert on two PP opportunities throughout the contest.

Busted Bulbs
There were many busted bulbs last night - where to begin:

Lets start with captain Adam Foote. He looked slow, uninterested and was exposed multiple times throughout the game. I'm not sure what it is, but more often than not when Foote plays Colorado he really plays awful. He was a -2 on the evening and took another dumb penalty which seems to be an every game occurrence with #52.

Fedorov was another no show tonight. Between Foote's 4 mil a year and Fedorov's 6+ mil that's over 10 million dollars of salary that combined tonight for 35 minutes of ice time, no points and a -2. Unacceptable.

Nash, Modin & Vyborny continue to struggle after a strong opening night game. They have zero points between them and aside from a few flashes from Nash last night, did not make an impact again last night. Again unacceptable. How much longer will management allow the offense to sputter before calling up hot shot rookie center Derick Brassard who has 7 points in 4 games already for the Crunch and is leading the AHL scoring?

The defense was a wreck. I already mentioned Foote but his linemate Jan Hejda didn't fair any better and was a -1 on the night. In fact nobody on the backend played particularly strong but I'd single out Hejda and Foote as the worst as they looked slow and generally uninterested.

Michael Peca. He was moved up to the top line with Nash and Vyborny but outside of one pass he was ineffective and was pretty much a liability out there. He was a team worst -3 and for a veteran made some very costly turnover that directly led to pucks in the back of our net. I know its only Peca's 2nd game but that performance last night won't cut it and I'm sure he knows it.

Hard to play against. The identity this team wants to build is to be a big strong physical team that is hard to play against every night. I'm not sure what happened but this team was anything but that aside from a few flare up towards the end of the game by Duvie Westcott and OK Tollefesen which was too little to0 late. This team was slow to loose pucks, missing on passes, not physical and generally looked to be on cruise control. This was not a Hitchcock coached team yesterday and I'm certain they will hear about it.

Its kind of embarrassing but this team really missed 21 year old rookie Jared Boll out there tonight who was out with a shoulder injury. Its not a good sign when your most consistent energetic player is a rookie.

The powerplay was a train wreck last night. Again guys were not winning the battles along the boards for loose pucks, they were not moving and making smart player and there were way to many lazy attempts to get pucks to the net.

The bottom line here is that this was a terrible, terrible game for the Jackets. They need to erase this one quickly from their memories, learn from their mistakes and get ready to compete hard at home against Dallas on Wednesday.

Each game is a test of sorts and this Colorado game was to be used as a barometer. If that is the case then there is a lot of work to do. The key for me though is how does this team respond to Dallas on Wednesday. They aren't going to win every game and there will be some nights like this throughout a season but if this team is really going to challenge for a playoff spot they will absolutely need to at least compete night in and night out and be that hard team to play against that they desire to be.

Its definitely not time to hit the panic button but a few more nights like last night and it will be time to sound the alarm.

As a side note, the Duvie Westcott (pictured right) high stick to the face of Scott Parker is under review by the league and with the way the league is cracking down on those types of plays it wouldn't surprise me of Westcott gets handed a suspension.


No comments: