directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: 60 minute men

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Friday, February 22, 2008

60 minute men

Jeckyll and Hyde.

The Jackets proved again last night that when they want to play, they can hang with and beat any team in this league. Hence a 60 minute effort that knocked one of, if not the best Eastern Conference teams in the Ottawa Senators.

Unfortunately for the Jackets and everyone else associated, it seems to take a dramatic step like Hitch walking out of practice or a pro-longed slump to put up such efforts.

Lit it up

60 minute effort. Perhaps one of the best 60 minute effots this team has put in all year long. The most impressive aspect was the physical play and just all out hustle. The Jackets outhit the Sens 32 to 27.

How good has Nik Zherdev been these past two games? He was the best forward from both teams in Toronto as was just as good yesterday in Ottawa. Dynamic with the puck, making plays, shooting when he should, blocking shots -- he led all forwards with 22+ minutes of ice time. I really thought Howson may use this kid as trade bait but how do you deal him when he's playing so damn good?

Nash was clutch last night. I didn't think he had the best of first period and was dogging him a bit and then he comes out and scores a beauty off an equally beautiful pass from Modin. He also played a physical game with 5 hits and was second in ice time with 20+ minutes.

Adam Foote. I thought one of his best games ever as a Jacket. He played some of the best shutdown hockey I've ever seen him play. Danny Heatley had no room - zip - when Foote was out there. He was skating real well last night, making contact, playing strong positionally...and got totally screwed by the refs when he dropped the Sen (I think it was Spezza) like a wet sack of potatoes in the corner.

Sergei Fedorov. Where has this Sergei been since joining the CBJ? He was flying last night. Controlling the play, making smart passes, scored a goal? Perhaps he wanted to look good for the Sens?

Gilbert Brule was another guy who played well. Heck, he's played well since coming back from his stint in the NHL. Tellin ya, the light is going off in this kid. He's figuring out what he can and can't get away with at this level. He's figured out his niche and that's to play physical, take the hit when its there, how much time he has to move the puck, paying a price. He's played well -- hasn't gotten rewarded nearly enough but it will come.

Jared Boll. People say this team is better with Michael Peca in the lineup? I would argue that there is no more glue to this team that rookie Jared Boll --- not even a question in my mind. He does everything no one wants to do. Leveled Alfredsen and Redden..and then stood right in their and went with Commodore...and he can play. This kid is a coach's dream.

Shootout. We finally won one....really, we did!

How lucky are we to have Hitch - most coaches would have packed it in by now. He's doing everything he possibly can to keep this season alive.

Dim the light

Not all was rosey. The Jackets gave up a goal 30 seconds in. To be honest, I thought "game over" but for once the Jackets hung in there and battled back from two 1 goal deficits on the road.

Pascal Leclaire. Was really shakey early. In fact I thought Ottawa's second goal was one of his softest this entire season. He recovered though. Especially in the 3rd period and into OT and then the shootout. He had some game saving stops and still only allowed 2 goals on 27 shots.

PK gave up another goal. Its definitely trending in the wrong direction but that goal was more on Pazzy than anything else. He has to be our best PKer and he wasn't in this case.

Jackets did a pretty good job staying out of the box. Had 3 penalties. Two of which were very questionable calls. More on that later.

Busted bulbs

Really not much to bitch about after that one. I will say is Manny Malhotra contributing anything what-so-ever out there besides face-offs? Get rid of this guy Howson.

Officiating. That call on Foote was rediculous especially given Heatley did the exact same form arm shiver that Foote got called for. I still don't know what Tarnstrom was called for. Vyborny and the OT call I thought were good calls. However, apparently someoned needs to just strap a saddle on Nash b/c he got road all night long without anything called.

I'm filing this away in the strange category - but does the "event summary" on really need to be in French?

Was Jiri Novotny and punching bag last night out there or was it just me? Seems like that guy took every hit Ottawa had to give and spent half the game on the ice.

3 bright lights on the night

1. Full 60 minute effort - the boys came to play last night
2. Nik Zherdev - just playing lights out hockey right now
3. Pascal Leclaire / Jared Boll - to close to call but was proud of the way both of these guys played - especially how Leclaire responded in the 3rd/OT/SO

I tell ya, I was proud of this team's performance last night. I don't think any Jacket fan would be dissapointed in a loss if they brought it every night like they did last night....and I know that is the type of effort Hitch/Howson are working towards building consistantly.

It was a great win that brings the Jackets to a respectable 2-2 on this 5 game road trip but I don't think it stops any plans come the deadline. I still think we are looking at the Jackets unloading some veterans and who knows, they may add some key pieces if the right deal that helps now and long term falls into place (Richards anyone?).

Next up is Montreal tomorrow night. Its Bob Gainey's jersey retirement ceremony. Hitch and Gainey are really close and from what I heard last night on the broadcast Gainey requested this game so Hitch could be there. Pretty cool.

The Jackets should be pumped to play in Montreal but they are a team that is really playing great hockey -- another challenge. The last before the deadline so it will probably be the last time we see some guys in Jacket jerseys.


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