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

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

First impressions

As I mentioned in the previous post I was only able to catch the first period of the Jackets propsect game against the Dallas Stars yesterday so I wouldn't put a whole lot of stock into my first impressions.

..but its what we do here!

From what I understand the first period was the Jackets best of the night so I probably saw most of the guys at their best during the game.

Jakub Voracek - no question he has the size to be an NHLer. I was actually most impressed with his defensive awareness than I was his offense. He isn't going to be a super flashy player like a Z who tries to zig and zag through opponents often losing the puck in the process. Voracek is a guy who sees the ice incredibly well, can carry the puck at high speeds, but is patient and makes accurate tape to tape passes to open players.

He started off a little rocky mis-firing on some plays but later flashed some of that high end skill - especially on the Jackets 3rd goal where he made a nifty cross ice pass to John Hughes that created a nice tic tac toe goal that McGuirk eventually finished off.

Grant Clitsome - my personal favorite from the first period. Dude is just solid as a rock making smart plays all over the ice. Absolutely no panic in his game and I loved his hockey smarts at both ends of the rink. I'm really looking forward to seeing him in the big boys camp.

John Hughes - he certainly stood out offensively making some nifty plays with some quick passes that directly resulted in goals for (he also scored one of his own in the 3rd). This guy completely reminds me of Geoff Platt. He's quick yet undersized guy who went undrafted but certainly has some nice offensive flair to his game. Defensively nothing stood out however. Jackets may have a decision on their hands with him. If the Jackets pass I certainly don't see him sitting "home alone" as someone will scoop him up at least on an AHL deal.

Nik Holden - I'm pretty sure he was paired with Clitsome and I can see why there is some excitement with this guy. Great size, moves pretty well and just has the tools where you think maybe this kid can grow into an NHLer with a year or two of seasoning.

Maksim Mayorov - Looked much better than I thought he would. Made some nice plays but its just the raw talent that really gets you excited about this kid. He's got an NHL body right now and can really move well for a big man. There was one play where he really impressed me with this stamina going real hard at the end of a shift and creating a nice offensive chance.

I think there is quite a bit of work to do in terms of defensive play but this kid is a talent and now that he's here Howson is looking pretty astute in giving up those three 5th round picks to move up and grab this kid in the 4th. He's a bit of a project but brought along the right way look out -- we could have something here.

Matt Calvert - at prospect camp I thought...ehhhh...nothing special. Then again that was only practices and a scrimmage. What the first period showed me is that this kid excels in game action. Sure he's undersized at 5'9" but he makes an impact out there. He's certainly a few years away but keep your eye out for this kid. He threw up 64 points in 72 games in his first year in the rough and tumble WHL last year so he should only build on that.

Devin Didiomete - of course one cannot blog about the first period of yesterday's game without mentioned the hay maker delivered by Didiomete on Luke Gazdic 1 minute into yesterday's contest. I'm not sure Gazdic still knows what planet he's on. Unfortunately Didiomete got tossed for removing his elbow pads.

That's about all I can remember from the contest --- well other than the whistle happy stripes calling the game.

Remember the Jackets prospects play their final round robin game today at 2:30 versus the St. Louis Blues. You can view the game preview here and the box score should be available off of this link.

The Blues have some nice prospects on their squad in Berglund, Petriangelo and Oshie. Should be a solid matchup.

I believe the Jackets have to win to advance to a podium game.

Fire away - for those that had a chance to watch did anybody stand out in particular to you?



Mike MacLean said...

Voracek got better as the game progressed, ditto for Hughes. Other than those guys though, the rest of the team got into a funk, and then they started to get chippy, hence all the PPs. (Some were questionable however)

I'm loving Clitsome too- the guy is steady as hell. He was paired with Regner mostly man, not Holden. Holden and Delisle were together a lot. Clitsome and Holden played as a pairing for a short while, but it didn't last long.

Hughes = Platt 2.0. I agree completely. Sign him up.

Didiomete- if there's room- sign him too. The guy scores, and can knock guys the eff out.

I liked watching Delisle and Holden work together on special teams- both are good in either situation. Delisle has a surprisingly good shot for a defensive blueliner.

d. michael said...

Platt 2.0? Don't ginx him with that!

Most of the refs calls were fine, however, a couple of those interference calls were interesting. If you don't slide in any direction and just put your arms up to protect yourself. I don't see how that's interferance. Interferance by existance?

Fun game to watch. Guys had plenty of space to work, so we'll see how Jake responds to less space and time.