directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Jackets crack under pressure to make playoffs

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Jackets crack under pressure to make playoffs

Two things we learned in a big way last night in the Jackets 7-2 to loss at home to the Chicago Blackhawks:

1. The young guys who have been holding this team together all year, Nik Zherdev-Rick Nash-Pascal Leclaire, clearly don't have the experience to know how you have to play when games matter. Although to Leclaire's defense he was out sick.

2. The veterans on this team, the ones who should know how to play in games like this, do not have what it takes to lead this team towards a playoff push. That's Adam Foote, Michael Peca, Manny Malhotra, Fredrik Modin, Sergei Fedorov, Rusty Klesla and so forth and so on. No fire, no competitve spirit from any of these guys (yes I know 91 was out still).

How else do you explain dropping two games straight to the 1st and 2nd worst teams in the Western Conference? How else do you explain getting completely embarrased in the process in front of a home crowd that is trying their hardest to believe in this team?

Its unnacceptable and with that Jackets have pretty much kissed goodbye any shot at the post season.

The Jackets have won once -- ONCE -- in their past 8 games.

Lit it up

Nobody....that is nobody in a Blue Jackets sweater anyways.

Dim the light

There were a couple of minor positives. Although pointless Gilbert Brule played his best game of the year and was the Jackets best forward which unfortunately on a night like last night isn't as good of a compliment as I'm sure Brule would hope to receive. In fact Brule-Brassard-Vyborny was the best line for the Jackets -- the only line really.

Dick Tarnstrom recorded his first goal as Blue Jacket. His second point in as many games. He played well I thought but did have one bad turnover. If you can't see the difference between a guy like Hainsy and Tarnstrom when they are carrying the puck up the ice then look closer. Tarnstrom is very cool and calm with the puck and finds the open man with ease to gain the blueline with puck posession vs. Hainsey who has a very hard time at finding that man and often choses to dump it in.

The powerplay scored a couple of goals.

At least Hainsey was willing to drop the gloves to stand up for a teammate.

Busted bulbs

Lets start with the fact that only Jason Chimera and David Vyborny were the only non-minus players wearing the CBJ.

Agressive, motivated, left it all on the ice, emotional, engaged, physical, pumped -- all words I would not use to describe this team's play last night.

Anyone notice Rick Nash last night? I sure didn't. Once again our franchise player plays invisible man.

Is it possible to turn the puck over any more than we did? Doubt it.

Michael Peca's worst game of the year which might have earned him a one way ticket out of town come the deadline.

Nice to see absolutely no teammates, other than Hainsey, sticking up for teammates. I've seen chess players more pissed off when losing.

Kris Rusell. Bad bad game. Terrible turnover that led the second goal.

Freddy Norrena - 6 goals against. 3 on games first 4 shots. No big game saves. League seems to have figured this guy out. He was hung out to dry quite a bit but he has got to make a couple saves early to keep this team in it.

3 bright lights on the night

1. At least I stayed home and watched this one

2. Gilbert Brule - 5 shots and his best all around game as a Jackets. Can he keep it up?

3. Ron Hainsey - at least someone on this team showed some fire

Did this team miss Jared Boll this much? Have they really fallen apart this much since the Jody Shelley trade? Or is it just time to call a spade a spade?

I'd say right now Hitch has gotten just about everything he can from this team. As he said in the paper this morning after this game they'll either completely fall off the map or they'll go on a run. They aren't going to do much more "hovering" (as he called it) in the standings.

I think one thing is becoming crystal clear. GM Scott Howson's decision on whether to become a buyer or a seller is being made for him. The next five games before the trade deadline on Feb 26th are all on the road. I expect some major moves as before or on the date as Howson really begins to put his stamp on this team.

On to Detroit on Friday. A game at which I'll be attending in person but at this point I beginning to seriously wonder what I was thinking when I bought the tickets. It could very well be another ass kicking.


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