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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Jackets lose Torres in expected win


The Jackets rolled last night 7-1 over a Chicago team filled mostly with AHLers, junior players and blockheads.

There were some strong signs and some bad ones but the story of the night was Raffi Torres' seperated shoulder that will keep him out of the lineup for 4-6 weeks.

It happened in the 2nd period when Torres agreed to fight Ben Eager before a faceoff after he slashed rookie Jakub Voracek on the wrist. Eager, a noted pugalist, won the fight convicingly. It was an ill-advised move but one in which Torres was certainly looking to make an impression in his frist game as a Jacket as someone who will compete hard and stand up for his teammates.

Unfortunately what looked like a very promising 3rd line (Torres and Peca were excellent last night) has now been put on the back burner. As Hitch stated in the paper now somebody will have to step up and this is exactly why you need quality depth in your organization.

As far as the game itself its very hard for me to get excited about a blow out score against an "maybe" AHL caliber squad but lets break it down anyways:


STOPLIGHT GAME REVIEW

GREEN
* The new faces continue to show up on the score sheet which is a great sign. Kristian Huselius had a 3 points night as did Fedor Tyutin. Christian Backman had 2 points and Raffi Torrest notched a goal. In fact out of the 7 goals scored 4 of them were from the new faces.

* Was nice to see Nasher get goin with 2 goals and an assist.

* I am personally blown away with Huselius' puck skills. Unlike Z who creates room for himself Huselius creates room for his linemates and finds them in open spaces. He is so smooth with the puck as well and I have yet to see this guy really flub a pass. I really like his ability to gain the blueline with the man advantage. He does have to watch his turnovers.

* Michael Peca had a nice first game. He put in over 14 minutes worth of work with 5 of that on the PK. He was also 57% in the face off circle and collected a helper. The 3rd line is definitely where Peca is most effective.

* I thought Torres looked incredible for the minutes he played. He was strong on the puck, played the body and made smart hockey plays -- well until the right which we'll get to later.

* The PP got going as the Jackets collected 3 PP goals. Still hard to get real excited about it against that 'hawks lineup.

* The Garage Bar - two big thumbs up! Nice staff, great prices and wonderful atmosphere.

YELLOW
* Alex Picard with two fights..who woulda thunk it? He played a decent game overall I thought.

* I thought defensively the team was really good. Allowed low percentage shots and generally contacted the 'hawks AHLers. Commodore and Hejda looked very good as a shutdown pair while Tyutin and Klesla played solid physical games. In fact Commodore and Hejda and led all players in ice time with 22+ and 23+ minutes respectively. Another intersting stat is that Commodore had 3 blocked shots while Tyutin had 4.

* Game ops did a little better on the replays (I liked the overhead goalie shots) but I think there is plenty of more room for improvement.

* Modin looked much better last night. He had the legs pumping and didn't look nearly as rusty. Although he didn't convert, that rush he had in the 3rd was a beaut!

* Leclaire was also much better (especially when compared to Huet) but of course his competition was much lighter. He made some really nice gloves saves, seemed to be positioned and moved well. Now about that stickhandling.....

* Brassard and Voracek were just okay last night. Which isn't to say they played bad b/c they didn't but I didn't think either played as well as they did on Friday. Both these guys don't look out of place at all out there and are going to really help. I was a little worried about Brass there in the 3rd as he took a cheap shot behind the 'hawks net that looked like it rattled him a bit but the Dispatch boys said it was a cut lip and he's okay.

* I thought Jared Boll played a fine game. How he got a 5 minute major for keepin a glove on a taking 3 jabs is beyond me. I guess when you do what Jared does he doesn't get the benefit of doubt on most nights. I tell ya that is the first time I've seen a skate break at the NHL level... poor Boll couldn't get off the ice with that bad wheel.

RED
* That first period by the Jackets was a train wreck. As someone said last night to me, it seems to take this group a while to get going and they seemed to be playing down to their competition. Agreed but that doesn't make it any prettier to watch.

* Arena was empty. I see Nationwide like that in the pre-season and I think there is no excuse for it. The Jackets should be using these pre-season games to sell their product at a discount in hopes of making up those losses on the backend let alone the money gained on concessions, merchandise, parking, etc. Sure it may be a short term hit financially but the potential benefits of hooking in new fans vastly outweighs the negatives. If they are going to insist on having 8 pre-season games the Jackets have got to start thinking out of the box in terms of how to market them. You can't sell these games as you would regular season games -- it just doesn't work.

* For as good as Torres was you hate to see him drop the gloves in a situation like last night. Frankly I was worried the entire time about his ACL and wasn't even thinkin he'd injure something else. The silver lining here I guess is that the extra 4 to 6 weeks off should have that ACL injury completely healed.
* I'd really like to see Backman improve his lateral play with the puck. He had a lot of shots blocked which is a shame b/c the dude has a cannon. Maybe it was just one game but if he moved left to right better last night with the puck he would have had a lot more shots on net.

* A 7-1 win against this team just didn't know a whole lot for me. Now if we can break out those kinds of scores in the regular season I may start mapping out the parade route!

3 BRIGHT LIGHTS ON THE NIGHT
1. New faces continue to shine in the scoring department notching 4 of the 7 goals.
2. Rick Nash pots a couple and grabs a helper as he shakes the rust off and prepares for the regular season.
3. Fan in the 4th row of secion 107 who got the entire area chanting "Backup" as Huet was struggling. That guy was a riot all night - well done!

Honorable mention goes to the couple of readers I got to meet last night at the Garage Bar who are great hockey fans! A special shout goes out to Mike Dury who from what I understand is an avid reader but wasn't able to make it --- I hope to grab a beer and chat some hockey with ya soon Mike!!

The Jackets move to 2-3 on the pre-season and their next game is Thursday night at home versus the Buffalo Sabres. Jakub Voracek continues to lead the team in pre-season scoring with 1g, 4a in 5 gp. Huselius, Nash and Tyutin are right behind him with 4 points each.

Tonight is the season ticket holder event at the Columbus Zoo. It should be a fun event and I hope to see alot of you out there tonight to meet and hang with this year's Jackets!

-LTL

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another thing that I noticed was how we were able to knock the puck out of the air and gain control. We probably did that four or five times, to keep it in the zone or to intercept a pass..

WALLY said...

Sure it may be a short term hit financially but the potential benefits of hooking in new fans vastly outweighs the negatives.

The uneven match-ups during preseason don't even compare to seasonal play, so why charge like it is? Hell, charge $5 or 10 bucks General Admission and let people sit wherever they want. You'd have people camped out and running down the aisles to get front row seats! We used to go to the USHL (Jr BlueJackets) games and it was really cool to sit behind the goal, behind the bench, wherever. I will never get that chance for an NHL game, ever. It's just too much money.

Jon said...

charging full price for pre season is an abslute joke. they have had seven years and still don't get it.

terrible marketing 1/2 price is ok but I agree $ 10.00 is about right. when will they stop blamminmg the fans and take responsibility. stop stealing money from season ticket holders. and get some energy behind this team again. very short sighted IMHO

LTL said...

Couldn't agree with you more Wally and Jon.

From what I hear Mike Priest wouldn't even consider the possibility when asked in a season ticket meeting.

Apparently he replied how would they make that money up? Really its not that difficult to figure it out.

Its a bean counter approach that gets you nowhere unfortunately. Like you say - extremely short sighted.

-LTL

Wally said...

UGH. The amount of commercialization that goes on in that building is just ridiculous... If they had a proven winning team, I might follow his train of thought or reasoning.

This moment of disgust with the NHL & CBJ is brought to you by Mentos-The Freshmaker.

Chris said...

Buffalo game is Thursday night not tomorrow night.

LTL said...

Ooops.. sorry Chris.. will make change.

-LTL

Jeremy said...

Yeah its all about the money they make off the season ticket holders. You have to figure that 10,000 season tickets are worth more than filling the building. Think of it this way. The lowest ticket amount this year is $20 (I know that season ticket holders get em for $18 but let me make the math easy). If you were to get just the minimum of $20 for each of the season ticket holders for 10K fans it would be 200K in profit. If you fill the building with 18K of fans for $10 a ticket, it is 180K. Obiviously its a lot more than 200K that they bring in so they will never go to anything like that.

LTL said...

Yep and that 20k is the short-sighted part. If you sell $10 tickets, fill the buidling, and gain say 100 new season ticket holders then that 20k loss is made up pretty quickly..

..add up concessions and merchandise sales along with parking generated from those return customers and you blow right past that 200k mark and also generate alot of goodwill from your loyal season ticket base that has stuck with this team through 7 losing seasons.

-LTL

Mary said...

Re: fans in 4th row of 107... for any of you who sit regularly in 107 you are in for a full season of goalie bashing in period two and ref bashing the entire game. The group moved from behind us in 109 and suffice to say... it was a hysterical year... they were just getting warmed up on Monday!!