directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Coulda...woulda....shoulda..but didn't...

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Coulda...woulda....shoulda..but didn't...

The Columbus Blue Jackets absolutely outplayed Calgary in every area but the scoreboard. They outshot the Flames 39 to 19 but once again the offense failed to deliver.

The powerplay went 0-6 including a 1:19 two man advantage where they barely managed to muster a shot. Its gone 0 for its last 28 attempts. Its the single biggest reason the Jackets record is what it is.

After Nash and Z there is nothing. Its an area that must be addressed this offseason. It must happen for the Jackets to take the next step.

This game isn't on Leclaire. Sure the goal he let him was stoppable but when he only gives up one then the Jackets should win.

Its a real shame too as the Jackest coulda, woulda, shouda won all 3 games on this trip. They worked their asses off out there for each game. They outplayed every team but the failure to win all comes back to the offense's inability to score and convert on its chances.

There are some good signs to build off here but as Tom Reed put in the puck-rakers blog last night, when it comes time to make a big acquisition Scott Howson needs to replay this tape and if he has to overpay so be it. I also had the same thought he did, you have to think Brad Richards would have made a difference out there last night.

Lit it up

The Jackets lit everything up but the scoreboard. The competed, the won races to the puck, they played air tight defense, the had chances (hit 3 posts) -- even strength there were dominant.

Klesla & Hejda. Played very well in a shutdown role last night. I particularly liked the way Klelsa went at Iginla and set the tone early.

Hitch. I thought is a cunning move to put Boll out there with Nash, especially last night. Phaneuf has done a really good job if shutting Nash down and getting in his face. With Boll out there he turned the tables and got Phaneuf off his game -- Phaneuf was a non-factor and collected 4 minor penalties.

Dim the light

Leclaire made some good saves but the one mistake cost the game. Its unfortunate that once again Leclaire would have had to be absolutely perfect for this team to get him a win.

Andrew Murray. His game really stood out to me last night. I thought he was the best Jacket forward on the ice and played a great game in all 3 zones.

PK was solid. It killed off all 4 Jackets penalties. Created quality short handed chances. Really they had more chances on the PK than they did their PP.

Busted bulbs

Really this starts and ends with the Jackets anemic powerplay. Its was pathetic -- really no other way to describe it. No real quality chances, nobody in front of the net, nobody moving their feet, turnovers...just no sense of purpose with it.

3 bright lights on the night

1. Once again the boys showed up to play and competed as a team.
2. Klesla/Hejda/team defense - Jackets did a terrific job of limiting Calgary's chances, unfortunately one snuck by
3. Andrew Murray - best forward on the ice

That lost definitely felt like the dagger to any already distant playoff hopes. I am proud of the ways the boys competed though overall on this trip and they deserved a much better outcome. I guess our expectations are raising as 3 out of 6 points just doesn't feel like much of anything besides disappointment.

The bar is raising.

The Jackets now have 5 straight at home. Earlier this year that would have been a great thing but considering the Jackets haven't won on home ice over their past 6 games I'm not exactly popping out of my seat in excitement.

I do think we are finally seeing a foundation layed here. We are seeing some real good signs that this team is learning what it takes to compete night in and night out in this league. The team play is now there, especially defensively. That is very critical step towards putting together a championship caliber team. Its been painful at times to watch them grow but I think they are almost there.

The next step is to bring in more talent to help complement the core of Nash/Z/Leclaire/Klesla/Chimera/Modin/Boll.

If its not obvious to Howson by now, I think he knows exactly what he needs to address this offseason which does give me hope. Now its just a matter of him going out and delivering on some quality talent to help this team generate some more 'O'.


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