directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Filatov

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Monday, October 13, 2008


Nikita Filatov has this picture posted on his blog which I thought I'd share here. Its the first shot I've seen of him in his Crunch gear:

Filatov has 2 goals in 2 games for the Crunch thus far.

After most of the hockey world overlooked the potential impact rookies Brassard and Voracek could have on the Jackets on their preseason predictions they are now scrambling to catch up - example from THN below:

True, it's about as early in the regular season as it can possibly get, but the fact Columbus rookies Derick Brassard and Jakub Voracek are producing right away is so important for this Blue Jackets squad.

Doormats for basically the length of their existence, the Jackets to date have only proven that you can, in fact, stock up on high draft picks and not succeed.

Rick Nash has become the star he was expected to be, but Rostislav Klesla and the recently jettisoned Gilbert Brule and Nikolai Zherdev proved that luck has nothing to do with drafting.

But Columbus's retooling in the summer not only served as an enticement for Nash to stick around once his contract is up, it also helped give players such as Brassard the space he needed to grow. In 17 games last season, Brassard had just one goal and one assist. In two games this year, he has two goals; one on the power play.

Voracek is making his first run with the Jackets, though his advanced play with the Quebec League's Halifax Mooseheads last year proved how very tempting it must have been for Columbus GM Scott Howson to keep him with the big club last season. Ah, but that would have been the old Jackets way. The way the team overwhelmed Brule with responsibility he wasn't ready for.

And now both of them can play on a forward corps with infinite more depth than last year, one that not only features the dynamic Nash, but also steady hands such as Kristian Huselius, R.J. Umberger and a healthy Freddy Modin to take the weight.

In the old days, a suspension to Michael Peca and an injury to a player such as Raffi Torres would have been a death sentence. Now, it's an obstacle that can be overcome.

Of course the folks here in Columbus have been preaching this for months now.

If both Brass and Voracek can keep up the level of play they've shown through the first two games -- and there is no reason to think they can't -- then its going to be a lot more difficult to game plan against the Jackets. No longer will just the following be written on the opposition's wipe board:


I think we'll see Hitch continue to increase their ice time as they are just playing to well and creating every time they are on the ice.



Toledo Walleye #1 Fan said...

dude, are you getting paid yet to write all this?

LTL said...

Naw... just do it for fun..kind of like a hobby really.


dru said...

The key to beating the Blue Jackets is the same this year as is was last year and the year before that. Pressure the defensemen in their zone and wait for them to make a bad pass up ice. Basically force us to make good passes thru the neutral zone.

June said...

Just thought I'd pass along a Syracuse Crunch fansite that I have found that has a message board and more importantly, pictures from last Saturday's game. On the fourth from the top under Schedule/Pics/Game reports there are lots of photos including a couple of good ones of Filatov, including the one on the front page right now.

Wally said...

I'm kinda questioning Hitch's defensive philosophies... The way I understand it, the end result of his system is low scoring on both sides, but when we get tired, beat, or just slow/lazy... we hook/grab/etc to compensate which means more penalties. Add on a terrible bad PK & you end up with a high GAA against a team who strives to defend rather than offend. I don't know... it's still early but I see our guys just looking for the best times to shoot rather than crashing the net and looking for rebounds.

LTL said...

Thanks for the link June!

Also solid points Wally... we were 6th last season in average penalty minutes and that trend certainly doesn't appear to be changing early on this season.

Is it because of the defensive system, undisciplined play or just bad calls, lack of puck posession? I would suspect its a combination of all of that.

One thing is for certain - if they keep taking them at the rate they've done the past two games it could be a long year.

FTR - after two games wer are 29th in the league averaging 32 minutes of penalties a game.


Xoggz22 said...

I think one thing we all need to keep in mind with regards to the crazy penalty march thus far is that we simply don't have a comfort level among the players. Also known as Chemistry.

I've played sports, amateur and professional, for a long time and one thing I know is that integrating a single player into a group can be difficult. If you don't have great communication (not always by voice but also eye contact and an ability to read your teammates habits and patterns) it takes some time to learn how to play with a new body. Now make that 8 new bodies and it's going to be slightly chaotic for a little while.

Take the first night against Dallas. One glaring example I noticed was that when Pazzy would stop the puck behind the net with Hejda and Commodore on the ice they both skated to the corner expecting the other to collect the puck and begin to move up ice. OOPS, nobody gets it forcing Pazzy to send it around the boards which I think was ultimately picked off and a penalty committed. Granted I'm not sure that Hejda or Commodore really wants the puck on their stick (I would play them with Backman or Russel as a partner) but in time they'll figure out who should take the play and that will make for a smooth transition.

It's going to take some time but I think you'll see a drastic penalty reduction as we get through the first 5-10 games. With that will become better overall play and then we'll see who the Jackets are.