directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: This and that

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This and that

Peca is out according to the Dispatch. The good news is that its just an illness (bronchitis) so he should be back before we know it. I'd much rather a vet like Peca miss time than say a guy like Voracek or Brassard. Lets hope this isn't the start of a bad trend.

Sportsnet's Mike Brophy thinks the following

about the Jackets:

Can the Columbus Blue Jackets make the playoffs for the first time? (No) has us ranked 24th heading into the season:

Still without a true No.1 center, the Blue Jackets managed to bolster their roster this summer with the acquisitions of R.J. Umberger, Kristian Huselius, Christian Backman, Raffi Torres and Mike Commodore. Trading away Nikolai Zherdev is also a positive, as he never seemed to fit in Ken Hitchcock's system.

Hitch was interviewed by and has some good quotes:

"We changed out a third of our roster, which is significant," the Blue Jackets coach said. "We think we know what we have and we're really happy with our changes, but I don't think anybody in the NHL knows what we have. We're the mystery team in the West because we've made such significant changes."

"We feel like there is a definitive spot for everybody, but I'm curious just like our fans are," Hitchcock said. "How good is Umberger going to be? Is Brassard as ready as people think he is? Does Voracek make our team? How good is our defense with all the changes we made? I mean, we changed out half our group on defense."

He pretty much sums up my thoughts.

I was thinking (yep, it happens once in a while!) about the Chicago Blackhawks yesterday. Remeber when they added big time UFAs (at the time) Nikolai Khabibulin and Adrian Aucoin as their headline grabbing offseason acquisitions and everyone thought they were playoff bound? ...but instead they crashed and burned? It wasn't until last year when they finally hit on some rookies in Toews and Kane that the 'haws took big strides.

I think the Jackets are well aware of this... and I think they are also very aware that while their offseason acquisitions are smart, big competitive players who will help it won't be until the likes of Brassard, Voracek, Russell and Filatov find their strides at the highest level when they will take the biggest strides.

Most of the time history has shown that UFAs just compliment an already strong roster. They aren't neccesarily part of the core - especially in that first year.. For every Marc Savard there is a Mark Parrish. For every Scott Niedermeyer there is a Adrian Aucoin.

As we see all the new faces this morning don't be surprised if say a Kristian Huselius only hits the 50 point plateau instead of that 70-80 point one in this first year or if say a Fedor Tyutin only puts 15 points on the board. Its going to take these guys some time to adjust and no matter whom the Jackets would have acquired this offseason they will have still needed guys like Voracek and Brassard to contribute to make that playoff push.

I'm as excited as the next guy with our acquistions and the more I think (there I go again) the more I think Howson was right to pursue the kind of a 2nd tier players that he did. The hard working no frills types who give you an honest effort night in and night out. The risk of those guys busting out drop dramtically. The high skill will have to come from our draft picks and looking at other successfull organizations in this league that is the template --- from Detroit to Pittsburgh to Washington to Chicago and Edmonton -- their high end skill are draft picks.

So off we go today on another year of professional hockey in Columbus -- one in which I can honestly say, that while not a cup contender, is a team that I think we will all be proud of the effort and outcome once it concludes.

I look forward to seeing many of you down at camp today and over at Boston Pizza after.




drew dawg said...

Great stuff LTL, getting really excited for the puck to drop. Infact I just ordered my season opener lower bowl tickets. =P Can't wait to show off my new #21 Red Army jersey!

BZArcher said...

Photos from today's camp:

Great to see you! Go Jackets!

drew dawg said...

Are you sure that you were taking pictures of practice and not Tron on Ice? ROFL Seriously though whats w/ the jerseys in some of those pics.... must be reflective tape.

BZArcher said...

Because the practice jerseys are made for both ice and street hockey, the piping's lined with reflective tape. Every time I have to use the flash it's hockey on the Game Grid. Unfortunately, there's not much choice because the lighting in the ice haus suuuuuuuuucks for photography.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the pics!

"Tron on Ice" - priceless