directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: STAY OUT OF THE BOX!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pre-game thoughts: STAY OUT OF THE BOX!

Sorry for the caps but I had to get that off the chest.. aaahhhh, I feel much better now :)

So tonight the Jackets finish off the final game of their 3 game opening season road trip against the San Jose Sharks. The Jackets have only won once in HP Pavilion and went 1-2-1 against this squad last season. Oh and that's the undefeated (3-0) San Jose Sharks who have only give up 2 goals against thus far (yikes!).

Needless to say the 1-1 Columbus Blue Jackets will have their work cut out for them as they look to grab another two points before they head on home for their season opener against them damn Preds this Friday.

* One more time for the cheap seats - STAY OUT OF THE BOX!! You could very easily argue that the Jackets could be 2-0 if it weren't for one disastrous period in each of the first two games. They escaped with one victory but couldn't overcome the penalties to grab another. This Sharks team is loaded with talent but the scary thing is their PP hasn't even gotten rolling yet -- its 17th in the league. The Jackets give them to many opportunities (especially 2 men down situations) and they will make you pay.

* Need the top line to be in top form to have a chance tonight. Need production.

* Brassard and Voracek must continue to play strong and I'd certainly like to see Hitch play these kids more as they have earned it thus far. Yes they aren't seasoned defensively but the offense they have produced can't be denied and we need more of it to have a shot at it tonight.

* Shutdown Thornton. Easier said than done but he's the engine the pulls the San Jose train and typically if you can contain Thornton you can contain the Sharks.

* Have to outwork Nabokov. He's one of the elite and it usually takes quick puck movement with pinpoint shots or deflections to beat this guy. Drive that net and get traffic in front.

* Need some production offensively from the defense. Backman has a couple of helpers and Klesla has one but no goals yet from the blueline. Better yet we need to get shots through, especially on the PP.

* I know its been put in some bad situations but the PK needs to step big tonight and shutdown this Sharks PP. They now have some real solid puck-movers on the backend with Boyle and Blake and they can make things happen.

* A good night for the Grinch to steal one.

* Did I mention yet to stay out of the box?

I think its got to be on the discipline of this team. They can't afford to take bad penalties especially given their PK struggles if they want to win the game.

Honorable mention goes to Jody Shelley. Will he drop them for the first time against a Blue Jacket tonight? Boll would be the only real candidate.

It sure would be nice to at least grab a point tonight let alone the win. As I mentioned though the Jackets have their work cut out for them. The good news is that the Jackets tend to play to the level of their opponent and they've had a few days of rest. I expect them to play a strong game but they'll need to solve Nabokov and shutdown Thornton to come out on the winning side of this one.

Its a late one tonight so be sure to set your DVRs or get your nap, Red Bulls, Mt. Dews, etc in before the puck drops!



1 comment:

xoggz22 said...

***Sorry - duplicate post***

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.