(hopefully the Jackets can scare the hell outta the 'hawks tomorrow night!!)
(hopefully the Jackets can scare the hell outta the 'hawks tomorrow night!!)
I'll be the first to admit I didn't think the Jackets stood a chance against the Avalanche in Colorado last night.
I was wrong....thankfully!
The Jackets did indeed stop the bleeding after a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche last night. It was a much needed win for a disenchanted fanbase but even more importantly, for a locker room that has seen defeat snapped from the jaws of victory over the past couple of games.
Even though the Jackets got 4 it was the defense and goaltending that stole the show in this one. Norrena looked like circa de '06 while the defense looked like the group who started off last year so well.
The Jackets capitalized on some poor goaltending and limited the high octane Avalanche offense to mostly outside shots.
It paid off with two points.
STOPLIGHT GAME REVIEW
Rank: 26 (-3)
Tough weekend for the Jackets, who are struggling to score goals these days and could be without goalie Pascal Leclaire.
Rank: 26 (-2)
The Blue Jackets come into Week 4 losers of three of their last four games, including two of the three contests they played last week. The club's power play was nowhere to be found in Week 3, going 0-for-8 in its two losses to the Rangers and Wild.
Rank: 27 (-1)
Voracek, Brassard offering some hope for the future
Rank: 29 (-5)
The Jackets haven't been this bad, but losing Leclaire puts their goaltending in a precarious position, since Fredrik Norrena has struggled (.792 save percentage) so far this year.
Rank: 26 (-4)
Loss of Leclaire could be very costly.
What's changed? After a summer makeover, the No. 1 line has Manny Malhotra at center and the defense can't get the puck out of its own zone.
Rank: 26 (-3)
Goalie Pascal Leclaire suffers a sprained ankle and his pain is felt by the entire team.
Rank: 28 (-4)
The heightened expectations for a Columbus team that has never made the playoffs include goalie Pascal Leclaire finding a way to stay healthy – something that has been a challenge for the improved netminder. He injured his ankle Saturday and is now on injured reserve. Don’t be surprised if the move to develop Steve Mason is accelerated.
Meta-score: 26.6 (Last week 23.3)
After 3 straight losses there is no suprise that the Jackets continue to slide in the rankings. This week its the Dispatch boys who have them the hightest at 25 (suprise right?) and TSN who has them the lowest at 29.
The Jackets will have 2 more shots this week to move up but it won't be easy as they face both Chicago and a streaking Colorado.
Labels: Power rankings
This video has been making the rounds in hockey circles today. Its our old friend Jody Shelley and guess what, he actually wins one...convincingly:
BTW - Filatov is already on the board again in Syracuse while Mason has stopped 20 of 21 shots thus far!
Labels: Jody Shelley
Did you know that if that Jackets miss the playoffs this season they will tie the Washington Capitals for the longest stretch an NHL franchise has ever gone without making the postseason at 8 years?
Ryan Malone has exactly 1 point, a goal, through 8 games. Looks like RJ isn't the only struggling early with his new squad.
It took first overall pick Steven Stamkos 8 games to register his first point. I saw last night on TSN that it took 1997 1st overall pick Joe Thornton 22 games to register his first point.
The Syracuse Crunch play tonight away at Grand Rapids. Its anticipated that both Kris Russell and Nikita Filatov will be in the lineup. According to Lindsay Kramer's Crunch blog they both practiced with the team yesterday. I tell ya what, they have some exciting young talent in that lineup when you mix in Mayorov, Mason, Sestito, Holden and Clitsome.
Matt Bartkowski, a freshman defenseman on the Ohio State men’s hockey team has been named the CCHA Rookie of the Week, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association announced Monday. I believe that is two weeks in a row an Ohio State freshman has captured that honor - Zac Dalpe was the previous recipient.
Speaking of Sestito, he will not need surgery on his injured thumb which is good news.
Nash still at center today according to Puck-rakers. Chimera has been moved off the Brass line to join he and Huseilus. Remember Hitch likes his pairs so that obviously means he's okay with the rooks playing together and is keeping Nash with Huselius. Complete lines as follows:
No word on the defensive pairs but I wouldn't anticipate those being broken up. Re-watching Monday's game last night I thought Tyutin played his best regular season game to date which is encouraging.
Rookie watch. Derick Brassard and Voracek are tied for 2nd in rookie scoring with 7 points. They are 1 point off Kris Verteeg of the 'hawks pace. Brass is averaging 14 minutes even in ice time while Voracek is at 12:19.
Sergei Fedorov has 8 point in 9 games with 3 of those coming on defense. Maybe it is a Columbus thing?
The Jackets have scored 4 total goals in the last 3 games.
Its down the stretch they come in the Russell poll. So far 38% of you think its a "raw deal" while 33% of you think "he just needs some time" in terms of his demotion. Thanks for participating!
Hockey's Future has a 2008 Blue Jackets System Audit. Check it out here.
Forbes ranks the Jackets as the 28th least valuable NHL team coming in at 157 million dollars. Only the New York Islanders and Phoenix Coyotes are worse.
I said yesterday it was time to panic. Well in a certain way I think Hitch's trial of Nash at center shows he agrees. Although you'd never hear it described that way.
How else can you describe the move? Panic, desperation...same thing to me.
Even more importantly I think it sends a message to upper management that he is very unhappy with his center situation.
..and who can blame him?
The only guy up the middle doing anything is a rookie in Derek Brassard. He's played wonderful actually and certainly looks like the real deal. Through 9 games he has as many points (7) as Malhotra, Peca, Umberger and Novotny have combined. Not nearly good enough.
Lets be honest here, I give the Nash experiment at center a period...maybe two. Its not going to work. Just to cover everyone neither will Modin, Voracek, Filatov. Only a few select players can make that transition and have an immediate impact -- Zetterberg is a guy who comes to mind.
After 8 games with RJ up the middle that move has proved to be a bust...he's back at wing at least for now.
Peca, Manny, Novotny and Murray are in no/way/shape/form top six centers. They are not the answers.
However after thinking about this move through the night I now understand its importance as a signal to management that if we are serious about contending, if you really want to "win now" then something has to be done.
The bottom line is that Howson has got to make a move here.
Now I'm not talking about giving up the world to land some elite center. While an elite center would be nice, trading away the young players like Brass/Voracek/Filatov/Mayorov/Mason would be counterproductive to the long term success of the franchise as it appears that we are finally hitting on these guys.
No, what we need is a capable competent player. Now this player isn't going to be perfect. I mentioned in the comments that a Robert Lang type...a veteran guy who knows the game, can put up points and has a short term contract and could be had for a reasonable price could work.
Now if they are willing to part with some young assets then maybe you look for something different which I have an idea I'll share in a bit.
So who do the Jackets target?
If I'm Howson I start with other teams that are struggling out of the gate that may need a shakeup. Ottawa, Islanders, Tampa, Phoenix, LA, Dallas, Atlanta...
Then there are the teams up against the cap like your Wings, Bruins, Ducks, Flyers, Captials. These teams aren't struggling but may want to clear out some salary or make some early adjustments to their squads.
Now its early so teams may be reluctant to deal but I at least get conversations started with them.
Two ideas I'll throw out there.
Michael Nylander. Now stay with me for a sec. I know he's older at age 36 and doesn't have the best contract out there (3 years left at 4.875) but he fills the hole and he's productive (has 8 points in 9 games). He's veteran who is great on the PP and really good with the puck and finding the open man. The risk is that he becomes the new "Fedorov" and he has been injury prone lately. The Caps would likely move him relatively cheap to get out from under his contract.
ASSETS: Has terrific playmaking ability and excellent vision. When hot, he's an assist machine. Is improving his defensive game with experience.
FLAWS: Does not possess a knack for scoring goals, and too often will pass up a shot in the slot area. Plays a passive game and can get pushed around physically.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Second line center.
David Krejci. Now here is a guy at the other end of the spectrum. He's a 22 year old center for the Bruins who is just now finding his way in the NHL. He had 27 points in 56 games last year and has 6 in 10 so far this season. I have watched this kid a lot and I absolutely love him. The B's have Savard, Bergeron, Axlesson, Yell and even Kessel playing some center so may want to unload one as they need puck-movers on the backend. The risk is that he gets to Columbus and flames out or that he commands the world this offseason as he's an RFA. That would also give Hitch two young 22 and under centers as his top 6 guys....and we know how Hitch likes his vets.
ASSETS: Has excellent vision and passing skills, and profiles as a classic playmaking center. His head is always in the game, and he possesses great hockey sense.
FLAWS: Must get physically stronger in order to maximize his offensive potential at the highest level. Needs to work on his play without the puck.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Second line center.
So there are two names for you. Again not perfect answers but they are top 6 centers who could help this lineup and shouldn't take the sun (and the moon) to acquire.
If Dallas continues to struggle another guy I would love to have as a stop gap is Mike Modano. He has one more year left after this one at 3.45 mil and there is the Hitch connection and I think he could really help this Jackets lineup. Would the Stars part with their life long player (including his Minny years) is a very good question?
There are some other names as well. Spezza is getting tossed around a lot in the rumor mill. Would the Jackets revisit the Brad Richards scenario as he's not exactly setting the world on fire in Dallas?
So what would the Jackets have to give up to get someone? I think anything short of Nash, Leclaire, Voracek, Brassard, Filatov, and Mason has to be on the table. I can't see any of the new faces going anywhere in Commodore, Tyutin, Huselius, Backman or Torres yet.
For a young guy like Kreci I think it starts with Russell going the other way -- in fact that is really the only asset the Jackets have defensively that would be of any attraction to the Bruins. They won't want prospects or picks back -- they are in "win now" mode as well.
For a guy like Nylander the Jackets would have to send some salary back. The paper has mentioned a few times now that the Jackets are deep at wing. The obvious name for me would be Freddy Modin. He would give the caps another big body who is playoff tested and after Ovechkin they could use some help at LW. His contract has one year left after this at 3.35. Both teams take some risk with the injuries. He could be had for a draft pick/prospect I think but ownership would really have to step up financially in addition to what they already have which, judging by Monday's attendance -- ain't happening anytime soon.
So there is a couple of scenarios. I love Russell and like Modin but something has to go the other way.
Now I don't see Howson doing anything for a few more games, if at all, but I would be burning up the phone lines right now to see what's available in the middle. This team can't afford to dig a bigger hole that what it has and this franchise can't afford another top 10 draft pick year.
As far as what to do now in the immediate short term?
1. Its wake up call time. I play the best players in the moment. Brass and Voracek may not be the best players, yet, but they are currently playing like it. They get prime ice time.
2. I sure don't break up the only thing that is working for me in the Chimera-Brassard-Voracek line. In fact I elevate them to #1 until the Nash line takes it back over or this line goes sour.
3. I take the next best option I have at center and elevate Peca to the #2 hole between Nash & Huselius. Its not ideal but its all we've got.
4. Time to take the kid gloves off with Nash. If he's playing well, play him. If not, then play who is. He certainly stays at wing.
5. I shake up the defensive pairings. Tyutin goes with Commodore. Hedja goes with Klesla.
6. I start LaCosta for a game and give the kid a chance. Its a risk but so is starting Norrena.
My lineup tomorrow night:
Chimera Brassard Voracek
Nash Peca Huselius
Umberger Malhotra Boll
Murray Novotny Dorsett
Bottom line is that while I don't agree with moving Nash to center Hitch knows you can't just sit still and hope something happens. I think the same applies to Howson.
Fire away - time to make a move or to early?
I'm not even going to get into a deep anylysis with a game review from last night because at this point I don't think anyone really gives a damn.
The bottom line is that the kids continue to play well while most of the vets, save Jason Chimera, continue to either 1. get injured 2. no show or 3. commit horrible game changing plays that the rookies aren't even making.
If 3-6 isn't bad enough where would this team be without Voracek, Brassard, Dorsett, Murray (young old guy), Russell and Methot?
Its time the fingers start getting pointed at the real problems on this team and it all starts and ends with the veterans who just aren't getting their jobs done.
Its time to panic down at Nationwide? You be the judge:
In 2000 this team started 1-7-1 and finished with 71 points.
In 2001 this team started 1-4-4 and finished with 57 points.
In 2002 this team started 3-5-1 and finished with 69 points.
In 2003 this team started 3-6 and finished with 62 points.
In 2004 season was cancelled due to lockout.
In 2005 this team started 2-8 and finished with 74 points.
In 2006 this team started 3-5-1 and finished with 73 points.
In 2007 this team started 5-3-1 and finished with 80 points.
In 2008 this team started 3-6 and finished with ?
Of course its been well published that there are no playoffs years in that mix.
There is one decent start in there and that ended up with just an 80 point record which was good for 4th in the Central and 13th in the conference.
The Jackets are DEAD LAST right now in the conference and are the 3rd worst team in the entire NHL with a game at hand on the bottom two.
Is it time to panic?Even if they won last night if you draw a crowd of only 10k on any night in a major league sport then you better panic.
A poster over on HF posted this in regards to a prediction for tonight's game and I thought I'd share it here:
Blue Jackets Score 9 times but the Ducks win 9-0. Everytime the Blue Jackets score Toronto reviews it and can't decide if its a good goal so the other 3 on ice officials decide to award the Ducks a goal.
Peca gets suspended for farting near a ref.
Nash scores on a break away against Freddy.
Freddy post a shutout.
Labels: Kris Russell
Lost in all this goal inconclusive-so-lets-reverse-it mumbo jumbo was a decent road game by most of the Jackets.
I'll spare everyone the spotlight today and just throw a few thoughts out there and see what you all think:
* Leclaire held the Jackets in there during the first period and played very well - especially on the extended 5 on 3. Not much he could do on either Wild goal but unfortunately he left the game injured (again). If this guy could ever stay healthy.... sigh.
* Have the Jackets gotten a 5 on 3 PP yet this season?
* Chimera-Brassard-Voracek created the most chances by far...again... was nice to see Hitch increase Voracek's ice time to just under 15 minutes. That's more like it. These two kids are playing wonderful hockey and look to be the real deal. I hope Hitch keeps playing them b/c I still believe they are the difference for us being contenders or pretenders.
* I tell ya Brass got real lucky out there catching that skate blade on his chin and not on his throat. There were some anxious moments there and I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say thankfully he's okay. Was great to see him come back out and make a nice rush with the puck to set up Nash's goal.
* The good news is that he's creating some fantastic chances for himself....the bad news is that he's 0-7 on those 7 breakways. C'mon law of averages...!
* The Jackets had there moments last night controlling long stretches of the play....unfortunately so did the Wild. Overall a decent road game minus the climax.
* Loved Brass's reaction after that game ended when he broke his stick in frustration. These new faces aren't used to losing and that's a good thing.
* I thought Manny looked better than Umberger between Nash and Huselius but that's not saying whole lot. I really like his ability to win some offensive zone faceoffs even though he had a below average night in the circle by his standards winning 10 and losing 12.
* I thought the top 4 defensmen played better than they have recently. Klesla got a goal but just as important were that I thought both he and Tyutin managed the puck better.
As I mentioned in the comments of a previous post, Hitch has his work cut out for him to pull this team back together after such a back breaking loss. You hate to say it, but at 3-5 you've got to find a way to get some points tomorrow night off a struggling Anaheim squad.
Ohio State and Syracuse fared better this weekend. Ohio State lost versus #2 Denver on Friday but rebounded on Saturday night with an exciting come from behind 4-3 win which was capped off by Sophomore Peter Boyd. Zac Dalpe, Chris Reed and Corey Elkins all scored for the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes now sit at 2-3-1.
The Crunch won both of their games over the weekend to move to 5-1 (what's that like?). They won 4-3 over Binghamton Friday with goals from Wilson, Sigalet, MacDonald and Pineault. Plekhanov had a couple of helpers and Mayorov picked up one as well.
Speaking Mayorov, he added 2g and another assist the following night as the Crunch rocked a very poor Rochester team 6-1. Wilson also had 3 points with a goal and two helpers, Plekanov added another 2 assists, Vigalante had a goal and a helper and Starkov added a goal. John "nasty" Mirasty also added a few fights to the mix which I read that he won both against a guy a foot taller.
Mayorov has 3g 4a in 6 games thus far and from all reports, has looked very good early. He's tied with Plekhanov and Wilson for the team lead in scoring.
Dan LaCosta won both games and its expected Steve Mason will get his first game action next weekend.
Puck-rakers also reported this afternoon that Jared Boll is expected to be back in the lineup tomorrow night. No word yet on if he's "fight eligible".
Oh and about that reversal -- here is the Wild's own beat writer's view on the goal:
"The Wild owes the NHL's video war room a bouquet of roses and bottle of Pinot noir."
Here is NHL.com's official statement from the game review article:
The NHL had all 30 teams in action Saturday, so the video review room in Toronto was overworked. According to a blog post on the league's official Web site, off-ice officials deemed the evidence inconclusive. So the decision was sent back to Minnesota, and the referee who made the initial call was overruled by his three colleagues.
"Overworked" and now the refs get the final judgement on reviewed goals? Are you kidding me? Do they just make this crap up as they go?
Lets see, you have how many months to plan for these games and you can't staff accordingly?
Mickey Mouse meet the NHL.
I'll have more on this game in the morning but I just saw the replay of the waived off game tying goal by Nash.
I have two words:
That is a flat out one of the worst calls I've ever seen. How is there any conclusive evidence in that video to overturn the call on the ice which was ruled a goal? There isn't. Even the Wild couldn't believe it was overturned.
Judge for yourself:
The Jackets have enough problems winning games so they most certainly don't need Toronto (or whomever) taking points from them...and make no mistake about it, this was a robbery.
What could have been a huge momentum boost for the Jackets is now big deflating kick in that area loss.
Man I've stomached a lot of losses as a fan but I haven't been this pissed after one in a long time. I couldn't imagine being a Jackets player in that locker room after this one.
Its not that the Jackets played horrible, but the Rangers were certainly the better team last night.
You knew one of the traded players would make a difference but the question was who? Well Z certainly had his night and answered that question with a goal and 2 helpers. Figures right? Meanwhile both Tyutin and Backman were okay. I would say Tyutin has been a pretty big dissapointment thus far early in the season - the turnovers he commits have been killer.
STOPLIGHT GAME REVIEW
* Got to tip your hat to Z, he was the difference the last night.
* The games of "New York" segment was a pretty creative and well received.
* I really like the opening video this season. I didn't get to see it on opening night. Very well done.
* Pascal Leclaire played well. Would have been nice to stop that first shot from the point but he made a lot of quality saves last night and certainly wasn't the reason for the loss.
* The kids continue to deliver. Voracek had some early turnovers but also created a goal out of thin air. What was funny was that goal was scored with a line of Filatov-Brassard-Voracek which Hitch trotted out just that one time. He's got to find a way to play Voracek more as he only got 11 minutes of ice time.
* I thought Rusty Klesla made one of the best plays I've ever seen him make as a Jacket when he took a head first hit into the boards but recovered to hustle back and break up a real good scoring chance. The rest of his game was typical Rusty.
* I thought Peca had a pretty good night. He was awesome in the faceoff cirlce winning 71% of his draws and made a lot of strong defensive plays. He had some bad luck at the end there with that 4 minute high sticking penalty but by that point this game was well in hand by the Rangers.
* Backman for me has been much better than I thought he'd be. Methot played decent again last night as well.
* Nash 0-6 on breakaways. At some point the law of averages has to catch up with him.....right?
* Where are the replays at? During the review of Dubinsky's goal why not show the crowd the replay?
* Although a competitive game, the Jackets were just outplayed by the Rangers and didn't deserve the win. I can't think of one aspect of the game where the Jackets outplayed them. They were outhit, outshot, out goaltended, allowed a PP goal... the did come out on top in the face off cirlce winning 55% of the draws.
* Huselius was real quite last night as was that entire line. As Puck-rakers hinted in their blog, look for a shakeup on that line -- which probably means Manny Malhotra on the top line (ugh).
* Get Filatov to Syracuse. He's gains nothing by playing 2 minutes a night. The Jackets and Howson are smarter than this. Pure speculation on my part but one must think there is something going on behind the scenes as for the reason he's up (flight risk?).
* I'm not a fan but I don't really get the booing of Z. He didn't choose to leave, the Jackets traded him.
* Jackets top two defensive pairs are not clicking. Time for a shakeup.
* That's a real big grey area in terms of re-directing and kicking. I could see that Dubinsky goal being waived off many a night throughout the NHL. No such luck for the Jackets.
* Nash Umberger Huselius each a -2. Giving up way to many chances when they are out there.
3 BRIGHT LIGHTS ON THE NIGHT
1. Voracek gets another.
2. Leclaire did what he could.
3. New York New York segment.
That was a tough 2 points to let slip away, especially when the Jackets have to go into Minnesota tonight to face an undefeated Wild team. It doesn't get any easier and the Jackets will certainly have to play a whole lot better than what they've done on previous back to backs to have any kind of shot.
ESPN has an interesting article looking back at some of the past draft classes. Here is what they had to say about some current and former Jackets:
4. Columbus, Nikolai Zherdev, RW, CSKA Moscow (Russia): When he came into the league, his obvious skills could be breathtaking. He was up and down in his first three seasons, scoring 26 goals in 2007-08 but chafing under Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock. He went to the Rangers in July with Dan Fritsche for defensemen Christian Backman and Fedor Tyutin, and if the Rangers get more out of him, the deal could turn out to be embarrassing. He'll get his first chance back at Columbus on Friday night.
1. Columbus, Rick Nash, LW, London (OHL): The Blue Jackets got this one right, although it wasn't as if they had to rack their brains to make this choice. The big winger is off to another fast start this season, too.
3. Tampa Bay: Alexander Svitov, C, Avangard Omsk (Russia): Traded to Columbus in early 2004, he played the 2005-06 season in Russia, returned to the Blue Jackets for the following season, then pulled off the feat of signing with both Columbus and Avangard Omsk for last season. He's playing in Russia and is under NHL suspension.
4. Columbus, Rostislav Klesla, D, Brampton (OHL): The genuine article as a physical defenseman, the Blue Jackets got this one right, too.
5. New York Islanders, Raffi Torres, LW, Brampton (OHL): Torres played only 17 games for the Isles before being traded to Edmonton, where he showed flashes, including when he had 27 goals in 2005-06. He's been injury-prone of late, missing the latter half of last season with the Oilers with a knee injury. After going to Columbus in a July trade, he is out with a separated shoulder.
Burnside also takes a look at lines that are clicking (of course no mention of Nash or Huselus) and takes a head scratching shot at Hitch:
After opening with two wins in Europe with Scott Gomez centering Chris Drury and Markus Naslund, the New York Rangers have tinkered with their "top" lines but haven't suffered in the standings. That's because Brandon Dubinsky, Nikolai Zherdev (who came over from Columbus, where he was too inconsistent for coach Ken Hitchcock) and the surprising Aaron Voros have provided consistent production for the Rangers (6-2-1). At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Voros has been the biggest surprise since his offseason arrival from Minnesota (five goals, four assists in nine games), providing a nice compliment to the skilled Zherdev (five points).
You know I don't think Hitch nor Howson get nearly enough credit for turning this guy around last season. Two seasons ago the Jackets wouldn't have returned anything close to a Tyutin for him.
..that and its still waaay to early to judge that trade although I freely admit Tyutin has struggled early in his Jackets career.
Just a quick update from the glass explosion last night. According to the Globe & Mail, Apparently two people were cut on their faces and taken to a nearby hospital for further treatment.
Here are a couple of quotes from Lucic and Van Ryn:
"I looked over to see the two (fans). They had their face down," Lucic said after the Bruins' 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. "I was just hoping they were all right. They pay good money to have seats like that, and that's the last thing you want to see happen to a fan."
"I'm still itchy. It seems like it's caught everywhere on me," Van Ryn said. "I don't know, it just exploded. I feel bad for the lady that got cut."
Labels: nikolai zherdev
Of course we know we've got plenty of Jackets hockey to keep us busy this weekend with the game tonight versus the Rangers and then after its hopping a plane for a game against Minnesota the following night (I hope these guys get frequent flyer miles).
By the way -- that Minnesota team is undefeated thus far (I don't know how they do it!).
There's plenty of other hockey action as well.
The Ohio State Men's hockey team is off to Denver to face the #2 ranked Pioneers. They'll play tonight and tomorrow with 9ish faceoffs.
Check out this blog entry by Buckeye's sophomore Corey Toy for a detailed description of the Buckeye's trip out west.
Also Zac Dalpe was named CCHA rookie of the week.
The boys could use at least one big win in Denver this weekend to really get that confidence going.
The Syracuse Crunch are also in action this week as they will take on the Binghamton Senators tonight and the Rochester Americans on Saturday.
The Crunch are 3-1 and look to start a new streak after their AHL record tying 17 wins straight was snapped last week by the Hershey Bears.
Finally the Jackets ECHL affiliate, the Johnstown Chiefs, will take on the Dayton Bombers tonight and the Reading Royals tomorrow.
Looking through their roster the only two guys I recognize are Peter Pohl who has 3 helpers in 3 games and Trevor Hendrix who is scoreless in 2 games.
Just some quick stats for you today:
- The Jackets are 9th overall in the West but have as many points as 7th ranked Colorado and 8th ranked Nashville.
- The Central is 4-4 versus the East thus far.
- Can you believe Anaheim, Calgary and Dallas are all 11th or worst in the conference (I know its real early)?
- Through six games this year the Jackets have scored 20 goals versus 16 last year. That's an average of 3.3 goals per game.
- On the flip side through six games last season the Jackets had given up only 9 goals versus 23 this year. That's giving up 3.8 goals per game. That 9 goals from last year included 3 shutouts -- really amazing if you think about it.
- 10 different players have scored goals for the Jackets. 4 have scored their first ever NHL goals in Voracek, Methot, Dorsett & Filatov.
- The Jackets' Brassard and Voracek are tied for 2nd in rookie scoring with 5 points each. Kris Verteeg of the Chicago Blackhawks leads all rookies with 7 points.
- Rick Nash is tied for 7th in goal scoring with 5. Tomas Vanek and Keith Tkachuk lead with 7 each.
- Kristian Huselius is tied for 23rd in overall scoring with 7 points (the highest Jacket).
- Derek Dorsett leads the NHL in PIMs with 39. Picard is 13th with 22.
- The Jackets are 17th in face off percentage 49.4%.
Labels: Stat of the day
I rant and rumble on about hockey and the Jackets day in a day out and go through the greens, yellows and reds but then you read something like what Aaron Portzline posted today in the Puck-rakers blog and you think, this is really what its all about -- a snippet:
After yesterday's practice in Nationwide Arena, four players -- Rick Nash, Jason Chimera, Jared Boll and Freddy Modin -- walked down the hallway from the dressing room and into a room where dreams came true.
Flashes of Hope, a non-profit organization, hires photographers to take high-quality portraits of children fighting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The idea is to help kids deal with their changing appearances by celebrating it. For families with terminally ill children, it's a keepsake.
The parents, too. Judging by the scene outside the makeshift photo gallery, there were lots of happy moms and dads.
The kids love Jared Boll, the tough guy. They're blown away by Modin's towering size. They relate very well to Chimera, an overgrown kid with a similarly bald head.
"And then Rick walks in the room," Modin said, "and the kids go crazy."
Now that is making a difference.
Labels: Columbus Blue Jackets
This is a team built around a defensive system, yet Columbus is giving up 4.2 goals per game. Getting Pascal Leclair back this week should help.
Rank: 23 (-9)
Sloppy play in their own zone has overshadowed a decent start on the other end of the ice.
Rank: 24 (+1)
With Derick Brassard, Jakub Voracek and now Nikita Filatov playing, the Jackets have a brighter future that at any point in franchise history. It just may take some more time before that playoff dream is realized.
Rank: 23 (unchanged)
One area of improvement in Columbus this season is the power play that now ranks eighth after finishing 26th last season.
Rank: 22 (unchanged)
Tough team to play against.
Rank: 26 (new)
Disclaimer: We did not touch any referees during this edition of the Power Rankings.
Rank: 24 (-6)
The Blue Jackets need some home-cooking in the worst way. The club dropped three of its first four games on the road, including two in Week 2. Columbus won its home opener, skating past the Predators 5-3 on Friday.
Rank: 24 (+1)
You may have skipped over the Columbus-Nashville boxscore last week. But something very rare happened. The Jackets' 5-3 victory ended the Preds' string of 16 consecutive games of earning at least a point against Columbus (15-0-1). It was the longest such active streak in a regular-season series. Of course, the Preds got revenge the next night with a 6-3 win.
Rank: 23 (-4)
Wonder if the Flames will ever admit they made a mistake letting Krisian Huselius (six points in five games) get away?
Meta-score: 23.3 (last week 19.85)
Not surprisingly the Jackets slide with a 2-3 record at the time most of these were written. Yahoo.com ranks us the highest at 21 while we come in the lowest on ESPN at 26. Most have us in that 23/24 spot.
Labels: Power rankings
Puk-rakers got an explanation from Commodore on "the photo" which I will also share here:
No. 1 -- The photo was taken by a friend in February while Commodore was still a member of the Carolina Hurricanes.
No. 2 -- The money pictured is his winnings in from a Hurricanes' Super Bowl block pool.
No. 3 -- The photo was taken in a spare room of his Raleigh-area home.
No. 4 -- The photo was posted on a friend's web page without Commodore's knowledge several weeks ago.
No. 5 -- Commodore learned about the photo from a contact in the Ottawa Senators public relations department four days ago and called his friend and asked him to remove the photo. By then, of course, it began to spread.
Jackets management is satisfied with the explanation and will not speak to Commodore about the photo. Commodore signed a five-year, $18.75 million deal over the summer.
Not sure I buy the whole "spare room" in his house line... looks like a hotel or door room to me. Either that or he really needs to redirect some of those benjamins towards an interior designer!
Regardless, go out and knock some heads tonight Mike and believe me everyone will quickly forget about this (well maybe not the skoal can....or the curtains.....or the..okay....moving on).....
Also a few more updates. Russell gets the scratch tonight while Methot in is. Malhotra is also in and looks to be centering Picard and Dorsett.
I'm scratching my head over the Russell scratch but I'm sure Hitch has his reasons. It was hinted at in the paper today that Russell was told he needs to move his feet more.
Personally I don't get it.
We know he's undersized and his game isn't to hit so its no surprise he's only been credited with 1 (which is tied with Backman)..his game is all about positional play, skating and an active stick which I think he's done well at. He's also only a -1 which is tied with Backman for best +/- for defensemen who skated in the first 5 games. He's taken zero penalties. First in shots taken for defensemen. Has more blocked shots than Backman with 4. Has 1 giveaway and 1 takeaway.
He's out there to generate points from the blueline which he hasn't done a lot of but I really think they are coming for this kid. I know Methot played great in Nashville so you have to keep him in the lineup so perhaps at the end of the day its just a numbers game and its just Russell's turn to take a seast? Or maybe Hitch just wants to match up bigger bodies against a grind it out Vancouver squad?
With Russell out I look for Voracek or Brass to man a point on the PP.
UPDATE: Puck-daddy has a new article up about this with some great quotes from Commodore. Check it out here.
Fire away - how do you feel about Russell getting the scratch tonight? What am I missing?
Labels: vancouver canucks
Russell at wing? According to Puck-rakers Hitch has him playing there in practice today with Picard and Malhotra. Who knows if this is permanent but IMO Russell has been one of the few non-problems on defense so this doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. If Hitch is looking to clear out some room how about scratching one of the top 4 defenders and sending them a wake up call.
After stopping 17 of 19 shots in relief of Freddy Norrena that Jackets have sent Dan LaCosta back down to the AHL. Of course that means that Pascal Leclaire is ready to go and should be the starter tomorrow night against Vancouver. He and the Jackets could certainly use a solid performance between the pipes.
..and please Pascal, use the blocker!
Thanks to a comment by Soultrain, we now know the blackout for tomorrow night's game will be lifted on Center Ice (and for all the games that won't be televised on FS Ohio). That is great news for those of us who can't make it down to the arena tomorrow.
The Jackets continue to struggle on the road (what else is new?) so the good news is that they'll play their next 8 of 11 at home. Its a chance to gather some momentum and re-group as a team which according to Puck-rakers started in earnest yesterday as the team met and reviewed tape.
So I don't know why I keep forgetting this story, but as just about everyone knows by now Michael Peca received a reduced "sentence" and will only be suspended 5 games. That will put him back on the ice Friday against the New York Rangers.
The Jackets could certainly use his defensive zone play.
Here is something interesting from NHL.com. This Saturday will see all 30 teams playing at once. According to the article as of around 9 p.m. EST 12 games will be going on at once. Pretty cool.
FTR the Jackets will be in Minnesota to battle the Wild on the 2nd night of a back to back on Saturday night starting at 8 p.m. EST.
Looks like Malarchuk is on ice for now as Puck-rakers has confirmed that the Jackets will add a interim goalie coach. My guess is that the new coach will be given some time and if he pans out then Malarchuk and his baggage are history. If the new coach is a dud then he may be given another chance.
The Jackets missed out on signing Devin DiDiomete as the Rangers apparently have pounced on him and signed him to a standard 3 year deal. Crunch blogger Lindsay Kramer has some interesting details around this one:
Talking to DiDiomete at the end of the prospects camp and before the Syracuse preseason opened, he was raring to come to the Crunch, no question about it. But a couple of days before he was expected to close out the AHL deal with Columbus, his agent said to sit tight.
In retrospect, it's obvious now that another team was interested in him, and was coming through with an NHL deal. That's much better for the player, three years of guaranteed money compared to one year in an AHL pact.
Problem is, teams aren't supposed to negotiate with players under contract to other organizations, even under tryout deals. The Rangers were at Traverse City, and saw DiDiomete. Did they jump the gun? Hope said nope, there was no improper contact.
But somehow, some team made its intentions known to DiDiomete's agent before the tryout deal was over. Anyways, Columbus was faced with the decision on whether to offer him an NHL deal as well, but it did not. Hope said Columbus let him out of the deal over the weekend, and the Rangers were there to pick him up.
Sounds to me like an obvious case of tampering but nobody is going to rock the big boat over a minor league signing. Its a shame too because I love the potential of players like DiDiomete who to me is a Dorsett clone. They make perfect 4th liners at the NHL level and can really be a nice complement to your high skill guys developing down on the farm.