directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Day 1 impressions

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 1 impressions

Wow what a day!

First off -- HELL YEAH to the folks who showed up to today's first day of camp. You folks completely rocked that place! I mean... standing 'O' during the post practice stretch.. THATS what I'm talkin about C-bus!!

I know for a fact the players recognized and thrived off of your enthusiasm today... just fantastic stuff... when we get to the playoffs boy I can't wait to see this town blow up.

Okay.. on to today's impressions: word "magical". I said to a number of people (well, anyone who would listen) that Nash has never had passes/plays like Huselius was dishing to him today. He was just finding him all over the ice in shooting positions. If that translates into game day dishes then we are in for a treat. Brassard was also incredible today -- he looked like he belonged and just further solidfied my stance that he is the impact rookie to keep your eye on this season. Kid was flying all over the ice.

Modin-Umberger-Voracek.... one word "surprise". Everyone thought it would be Nash-Umberger-Huselius but Hitch has already thrown his first curve ball (that didn't take long) in the line department -- more on that in a sec. As far as the line, Modin looked really good and better yet..really healthy. Umberger played the exact type of simple yet effective game I was expecting.. the kind of game Hitch loves. Voracek looked like a rookie on that line but showed his skill as well as deceptive wheels.....he realized pretty quickly though that this isn't Traverse City. I look for him to continue to improve.

So what's with the line mixup? All we've heard is that Hitch and co would play Nash-Umberger-Huselius all preseason. That is certainly still a possibility but what he did makes perfect sense. What today's moves showed me. First off its obvious Torres is a few weeks away from any kind of top 6 duty -- in fact he's only got the green light to go for 45 minutes intervals. Secondly Hitch would prefer to balance his scoring across two scoring lines. Thirdly he is not going to line up two rookies on a scoring line..yet. Fourth(ly) Chimera on a top 6 spot is last resort. Fifth(ly) who says Hitch doesn't give young guys a shot?

Commodore. Looked solid and how about this guy being the last player off the ice? Just set your expectations for him as being a solid top 4 shutdown d-man who is going to be one helluva leader on this team and you won't be dissapointed. He made some nice outlet passes and oh this dude is certainly big as advertised.

Huselius. I eluded to hit above already but wow -- can this guy play the game or what? Makes quick smart plays at high speed.....every play he makes he does as his linemates advantages...and makes it look easy. I am very intrigued as to how this guy is going to work out for us.

Tyutin. To me he just looks like a good defensemen. Great size and moves extremely well. Not the best practice for him today but my man-crush has been activated. He needs to shake off some rust. Something interesting I learned about him today was that he had a baby the same day he was traded from NY to Columbus. I'm sure he liked New York but if your looking to start and raise a family there aren't many better places than right here central Ohio.

Hejda. I've seen it put best on HFBoards by an Edmonton poster. Hejda is a like a "black hole" - he just sucks people in. He looked very good today doing what he does best paired next to Commodore.

Klelsa. Looks like he's got even bigger! That's really all I noticed from 97 today which to me is a good thing.

Murray. I thought he was one of the best forward on the ice playing his game. His motor was churning and he just does all those little small things out there that win you hockey games. I'm also glad Tyutin grabbed 51 so there will be no more confusion between he and Nash -- not that there games are similar but at quick glance those two are comparable build wise.

Goaltending. I thought both Norrena and Leclaire were okay today. Nothing fantastic but I didn't see either let in softies. Then again with so much going on the ice you need like 8 sets of eyes to track everything.

Sestito. His skating looks drastically better to me than last season.

Russell. No doubt he's much bigger than last season.

Matvichuk. Looked real slow but also well positioned and hardly ever got beat

Tollefsen. Not his best practice as he continues to struggle with the puck but in typical Tolly fashion got physical in front of the net when needed.

John "Nasty" Mirasty. Looks like he can whoop some ass but he was also suckin wind though a vacuum in group B. I will say he can skate better than Shelly (sorry 45) but that's about it.

Chimera-Malhotra. Gave exactly what we've grown to know from these two. Although someone did make the comment that they thought it looked like Chimera trimmed down a few pounds.

Filatov. Saw him at Boston Pizza. Said hi and welcomed him to Cbus. If you've ever seen Brassard in street clothes after he was drafted that is exactly what Filatov's build reminds me of at the same age -- not small but can certainly stand to put on a few pounds. Was great to see him out at day 1 of camp but can't wait to see this kid on the ice.

I did not stay for a lot of group B but once again Grant Clitsome looked like a beast to me. Other notable names in Group B in addition to Clitsome were Mayorov, Holden, Pineault and Plekhanov.

Was sweet to see Nash lead the post practice stretch. That's your captain folks!

York. Didn't really notice a lot of out him.

Backman. This dude is much bigger than I thought but about as physical as I thought as well -- which to say is about as much as Hainsey ever was. Didn't seem nearly as bad as Rangers fans painted but didn't do a lot for me either. I really wanted to get a good look at his heat from the point but he never really unleashed it.

Picard. I wonder how this guy scored 40 goals in junior? He wasn't terrible or anything but his hands... oh his hands...

Wilson. Reports are that he's gained some 15 pounds. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to him but I heard that some were impressed with this game today.

Boll was Boll. He got a heroes welcome when he hit the ice at the start of practice which was super cool.

Rome and Methot. Both were solid today. I'd hate to have to choose between the two.

After the main drills the d-men were taking a lot of shots (Russell working alot on setting Tyutin up for the 1 timer) while the centers worked on face-offs (with Manny schooling everyone) and the forwards doing their thing at the other end of the ice.

Overall the practice today was very high temp with some good energy and contact. Lots of good competition especially on the defense.


Be sure to check out Bzarcher's camp pics from today here.

Fire away - for those that made it down... who impressed/depressed you today?



BZArcher said...

Mostly agreeing with you, but here's 3 things I noticed.

1) Russel - When he had to do 2 on 1s, he just didn't let himself get beat. He kept his head moving to give a good view of what both guys were doing, and he was really good at getting where he needed to be.

2) Boll - Jared had a lot of "scoring line" combinations in drills. I saw him with Torres and Brass several times, and even once with Nash. And he managed to get several past Norrena. I think that he's been trying to work on that part of his game, and I wonder if we're going to see him get rewarded with 3rd line and maybe some PP minutes in pre-season.

3) York - He wasn't anything spectacular, but he -was- good at handling outlet passes and carrying in, even in the drills where they basically had a full shift of defencemen and forwards against his line. A lot of the "friendly" defensemen tended to put the puck his way when he came up as part of a Chimmer - Manny - York line.

All this and $5 will get you 2 beers at the R-Bar. :)

Mellington said...

I was wrong the baby was born at 1:30am July 1st he found out he was traded the next day at 4:15

His quote from Puck-Rakers
"Different city is OK with me," Tyutin said. "New York gave me my chance, and I appreciate that. But Columbus will be good. I want to go there, get better in my own game and help the club get to the next level. Playoffs, right?

"I hear it's a good place to raise a family. So, perfect timing, right"

Jeff E. said...

Re: Torres...From what I could tell, he was skating at full speed and fully participating in the drills. I didn't notice any problems or hesitation on his part, though I wasn't watching him the entire time, so I could have missed something

Hitch Rules said...


It was really great to meet you and the gang over at Boston's Pizza. Great Blog! Here's to many great blog posts, and especially to the run for the playoffs for the CBJ. Hitch Rules!