directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Tkachuk's 500th and Peca

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Tkachuk's 500th and Peca

There are a couple of things I wanted to write about this morning.

1. A friend of mine sent me a link to the following TSN story with the following comment from Blues coach Andrew Murray:

"It was exciting watching that puck go down the ice into the empty net," he said. "I wish they'd inform the people right away what was going on here. That's a special moment. They should have said that's Keith Tkachuk's 500th goal, it's something special."

I actually agree with Murray here. Yes I know it was Tkachuk and yes I know his goal was the exclamation point to another year out of the playoffs and yes I definitely know that Jackets fans weren't exactly in a good mood after another loss for the second time in as many nights to the St. Louis Blues.....and yes I'd say the whole celebration like Tkachuk just clinched the cup in OT like it was the 7th game of the Stanley Cup finals was overblown.

That said scoring 500 goals as an NHLer is a helluva milestone. He became only the 41st player to do so and 3rd ever American. The games ops staff did a HORRIBLE job of letting the fans know what was going on. In fact outside of the canon the game ops staff has been horrible all year (I mean seriously, what was the humming crap they did yesterday?)

A small graphic on the jumbo tron does not cut it. Announcing that it was his 500th goal way after the fact does not cut it. Sure some fans may have still booed but with a little bit of advanced planning on how to present such an achievement I think the majority of fans would have recognized the milestone and payed it its proper respect.
By the time any of that was announced the entire St. Louis Blues bench had emptied and they were about done with their celebration. What is a fan to think if they aren't informed? Of course the natural reaction was to boooo. That this was happening on their home ice and to the uninformed it looked like a blatant attempt to rub in another lost season.
(please insert Columbus fans don't know crap about hockey jokes here)
The Jackets game ops dropped the ball. Then again what's another ball dropped at that point.

Maybe I'm way off base here but that is how I saw it watching it all unfold in the stadium.

2. Now we move onto Michael Peca's comments after the game last night regarding what his furture as a Blue Jacket may hold:

"I want to be assured that it's going to be a competitive environment, a place where a championship isn't an afterthought, that it's something that's attainable and expected," said Peca, 34. "I want to win a championship before I'm done playing, so I want to see if those pieces are part of the plans."

I read these comments and I get the feeling like he thinks he has the ultimate choice here. Like a contract offer is a given. I'm not at all convinced that the Jackets will want this guy back.

Lets take a look at Peca's season here. Peca played 65 games, had 8g 26a for 34 points. He finished a -1, had 86 PIM, 52.7% in the circle . He finished 3rd on the Jackets in scoring. The 34 points is the most he's had since the 2003-2004 season when he had 13g/29a/40p in 76gp and finished a +17. He played in all situations ES/PP/PK.

Not a terrible year by any means but he certainly was not the difference either in terms of contending for a playoff spot.

Here's how I see it. I don't think the Jackets want Peca back. The biggest reason is I don't think they liked his competitive level and his kind of production is common place any place other than Columbus or on the Island. That and I'm not sure that even if did want to stay he could help them to that next level. I think his kind of production is easily found on the market for a younger, perhaps cheaper price and with that they'll also get a much more competitive player and on the rise instead of decline (Chris Kelly anyone?).
This is at best a 3rd line center we are talking about here. Yes they are important but they are also more available.

I know one thing is that if the Jackets do resign him it better not be for any role other than a bottom 6 player. Peca a top 6 center again = another year out of the playoffs.

Bottom line is that I don't expect Peca back for precisely the point he makes "it's going to be a competitive environment, a place where a championship isn't an afterthought".



Douglas said...

I was pretty steamed when I first read Peca's comments, but after giving it some thought, I'm not quite as mad. I mean, the guy *is* 34... nothing wrong with wanting to win the Cup before you get too old.

That said, he probably could have been more diplomatic about it. Something more like, I plan on staying unless this team fails to commit to the Cup next year. Heck, you can't blame somebody for THAT. But get this I'm probably too good for this team attitude out of here, Pecs... you were running at about 0.5 PPG. You're not Alex the Great.

Anonymous said...

Peca was doing the organization a favor: letting them know that VETERANS need to see some HOPE here before they'll come.

The Tkachuk thing didn't surprise me. The jumbotron show often seems like they're out of touch.

Ya know... the fans made the cannon an issue, especially HF board fans. How about a campaign to highlight the need for a better jumbotron presentation across the board.