directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Now what?

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pre-game thoughts: Now what?

The Jackets hit the road for 5 games...their first opponent? The NHL's best team the Detroit Red Wings.

Lets just say the cards aren't exactly stacked in their favor as they try to break out of a 3 game slump. The Wings have lost 4 in a row. The are the 2nd highest scoring team, they've given up the least amount of goals and surely are looking at the Jackets as a slumpbuster.

So now what for the Jackets? They couldn't beat the two worst teams in the Western Conference at home so exactly what chance do they have against the league's best team?

I will say this, its a fickle league. The Wings have been on cruise control most of this season. The Jackets tend to play better against teams ahead of them in the standings (which is a real problem with this team that needs seriously addressed this offfseason).

As optimistic as I'd like to be though its hard not to prepare for the inevitable. The Wings have won 2 of 3 this season.

Keys to lighting em up

Outside of maybe Gilbert Brule and Dick Tarnstrom -- everyone on this Jackets roster has to be better --- MUCH better in fact. In fact Brule and Transtrom have plenty of room to improve as well. They playe like they did against Chicago and the Wings will throw up double digits on that scoreboard.

Datsyuk, Zetterberg & Lidstrom. Those three make the world churn for the Wings out there on the ice. Jackets probably won't stop them entirely but they can't let them dominate either.

Leclaire. Should be back in nets tonight and not a moment to soon. Need big saves tonight -- he needs to be the best player for the Jackets to have any shot at points.

Nash. Can't play the invisible man.


Simple hockey. Jackets can't outskill the Wings - hell, they can't outskill anyone - but they can sure outwork teams. That means everyone including all the vets who decided to take the night off against Chicago.

Somebody has to step up and replace physical play that Jared Boll brings since he's out for the 2nd straight game. Its absolutely disgusting that when this rookie is out of the lineup how soft the Jackets are. Unnacceptable.

Need some bounces/breaks. The Jackets will need a few of these tonight. Teams that work the hardest usually catch the most breaks.

Rafalski, Cleary, Kronwall and Hasek are all out of the lineup. Those are some strong players out that the Jackets can take advantage of.

The Jackets are clobbered in every statistical category by the Wings other than PK. The Wings are 8th, the Jackets are 3rd. They will have to live off it tonight. Although the PowerPlay is showing signs of life again moving up to 19th in the league.

Game Spotlight

Pascal Leclaire. He's back in the lineup and has got to be the go-to guy for the Jackets.

I'll be going up to Detroit for this one in person tonight. Its my first time at the Joe and I'm hoping this team at least puts a competitive effort out there. I'll be honest, I am going into this game expecting the worst and hoping for the best. Its a crappy attitude to have but with the way this team has been playing since the All Star break its reality.

Regardless I'll be rooting the boys as always.



Brad said...

Last year my brother and I went to our first CBJ road game. We caught the Blue Jackets 2-1 shootout win over the Wings in the Joe, and it was great fun. You're gonna be disappointed in the Joe, however, as Nationwide is a palace in comparison. It does have a nice old timey feel though.

We we're sitting in Red Wings Attack Twice zone directly behind the net in the second from last row, so the seats weren't that great, but we still had fun. The best part was that every time Fedorov touched the puck, the whole place would boo. And then he scored the winner in the fourth or fifth shoot out attempt.

Good Luck! And have fun!

Brad said...

Whoops! It was actually the sixth round of the shootout! I don't remember it taking that many, but I do remember that this old Red Wings fan could not understand why my brother and I were cheering whenever the Wings failed on a shootout attempt, and we cheered on Vybony's, Nash's and Fedorov's goals. Every time he'd turn around a give us a look of incredulity. As if he could not understand how someone would want the wings to lose.

When I was over, we were cheering pretty loud and realized nobody else was (being Wings fans) and I turned to my brother and said "OK, let's go before we get beat up.", which made the Wings fans laugh. It really was a good time. I expected to take some crap, but if you say its your first time there, and play nice, they'll be nice to you too.

Shaggy said...

I've never been to the Joe, despite only being an hour away (Living in Toledo). I'd love to be there tonight, but it's not gonna happen. I can at least watch the game on TV tonight.

Good luck up there, and Carry the Flag for me!