directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Canada falls short of gold and more..

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Canada falls short of gold and more..

Team Canada couldn't close the game after having two two goal leads throughout it. For a country that is disappointed with anything but gold, this loss was certainly no less deflating:

"We really sat back in the second half (of the game)," said Rick Nash. "You have a two-goal lead in the gold medal game going into the third period - we had to play better."

"Nobody on this team came here to win silver," said Ward. "It's tough right not because you do feel like you've let your country down. There will be other tournaments, there will be more to come. We've got to keep our head up high.
"We have an excellent program."

Nash didn't have a great final outing and while his penalty in OT will unfortunately be what most people remember about his performance in that tourney, he played very well. He tallied 6g, 7a for 13 points in 9 games played for 3rd best in the tourney behind Heatley and Getzlaf.

Jason Chimera didn't exactly "light it up" but he played a key role on the 4th line and collected a couple of helpers and finished a +3 in 9 games.

Finally Pascal Leclaire. He went 4-0 with a 92.52 save% and a 2.0 GAA. He even collected a shutout. He roughest game was the semi-final against Sweden where he gave up 4 goals and a lot of juicy rebounds. Overall though he had a very solid tournament.

There is a nice 1v1 with Rick Nash on

So what's next for Hitch and the Jackets? The players will no doubt take some much needed R&R while Hitch will certainly take a day or two to catch his breath. Then it should be right back to Columbus to get to work on next season.

On the docket will sure to be a complete breakdown of last season and a thorough overview of not only unrestricted free agents that will be available, but players they will target through trade or perhaps even offer sheets.

I'm sure he will also check in to make sure his players are sticking to their assigned offseason conditioning programs and no doubt he'll have a lot of long talks with Scott Howson about the direction this team needs to go. Lets also not forget that there are a few prospects that will be spending the offseason in Columbus

Its certainly a key offseason..perhaps a make or break it one for the franchise. The grunt of the work will happen over the next few weeks when the spotlight shines the darkest.

Congrats to the Pittsburgh Penguins for making the Stanley Cup Finals. This is going to sound like sour grapes, and it is, but damn them. A team that was a cup contender when we entered the league went to be the worst team in the league for a four to five year stretch to almost being relocated. Now they have Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Whitney, Staal as their last 5 of 6 round draft picks, a new stadium on the way and are back in the finals.

Meanwhile the Jackets continue to toil in mediocrity.

The Jackets have sucked but just didn't suck enough to get the no brainer draft picks and sure as hell didn't have luck on their side during the Crosby-stakes or any draft lottery for that matter. Instead we've got Klesla, Leclaire, Nash, Zherdev, Picard, Brule, Brassard & Voracek. One legit superstar out of the bunch - despite having the best average draft pick over that span.

Leclaire is finally showing that franchise potential. Klesla will be no more than a top 4 defensemen. Nash is the only legit superstar who desperately needs some help. Z is an enigma. Brule and Picard have bust written all over them. Brassard and Voracek look promising but we've heard that before.

Again - sour grapes I fully admit - but a lot of "what ifs" in that group. What if we took Vanek or Phaneuf over Z? What if we took Kopitar instead of Brule? The Picard year was horrible for everyone outside of top 2 but damn what if we could have finished one spot better and won the lottery like Washington did and the rights to draft Ovechkin?

I could play this "what if" game all day but it doesn't do us any good now. Doug MacLean dug a real deep hole of shit for this franchise and we can only hope Howson/Hitch can dig it out. The problem is what if they don't?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really tough loss for Team Canada. The media in Canada, so far, haven't pointed the finger at Nash for taking that penalty at all. If anything, they have looked at that penalty as one of the most ridiculous things in hockey. The Russians took two penalties of the same nature earlier in the game. I believe Canada scored on one of them (Fedorov was in the box and then a Russian player took a high sticking penalty which gave Canada a 5 on 3 on which they scored).

Nash likely feels terrible, but he shouldn't feel any worse than what would be expected. The team had a 2 goal lead with 11 mins. left and couldn't get it shut down. I don't think Canada won a faceoff the entire third period and they never had the puck. They were always chasing the game and it cost them. This was a collective loss by the team. Doan was the leader and a veteran along with St. Louis, Staios and Jovonovski but this was a very young group and the experience that they gained will be paramount for 2010.

Canada also took over as the #1 seed for 2010 based on where the Swedes finished.

Sucks for them to have lost, but it keeps Canada on edge for 2010.