directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Another kick at the oil can

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pre-game thoughts: Another kick at the oil can

The 4-6-2 Jackets take on the 6-4-1 Edmonton Oilers tonight.

Its a chance for the Jackets to get back into the win column after two frustrating defeats in overtime/shootout. They'll play their next 3 at home which also gives them an opportunity to string a couple of wins together.

The Oilers have been winners of their past two and are pretty good on the road going 4-4. They are lead by Ales Hemsky who has 11 points in 11 games. They also have an offensive minded defense lead by guys like Souray, Visnovsky & Gilbert.

The Jackets are 6-16-3-3 all time versus the Oil.

* The obvious is to shut down Hemsky. Alot of the Oilers offensive players are struggling early (Gagne, Coglianio, Nilsson, etc) and Hemsky seems to be the only guy running. Shut him down and the chances of winning greatly improve.

* Watch their puck-moving defense. They have a lot of guys that can move the puck and can fire bombs from the point. If you give them to much space they'll make you pay with lasers in the net.

* No flat tires. Man it sure would be nice to string a strong 60 minute effort together.

* I'm personally disappointed Mason isn't getting the start tonight but its once again Norrena's nets. He'll have to outplay Roloson who has a 2.22GAA and .929 Save%.

* The Oil are stingy defensively. They've only give up 31 goals against which is tied for 5the best in the conference. The Jackets big guns on 'O' have to deliver to pull this one out.

* Nash needs to wake up. I'd like to see his minutes reduced to see if that gives him more energy for the shifts he's out there. He really needs a slumpbusting goal.

* I hope Brass is back because I didn't like his line much at all without him.

* Oil have the 13th best PP but the worst PK in the league. Here's a glorious opportunity for the Jackets 26th ranked PP to get back on track. They need some PP goals.

* Backman needs his ice time limited if he's not producing and I'd like to see Methot even more. Methot has 4 points in 7 games which ties for the team lead on defense with Backman, Tyutin & Commodore.

* Modin-Peca-Torres --- they looked pretty good on Monday despite being unable to get on the scoreboard (still in awe Modin missed that wide open cage) but if they keep playing like they did, the point will come.

This is Raffi Torres first game against his former mates. You'd have to think he'll find some extra motivation for this one.

Doesn't look like Gilbert Brule will be suiting up as I believe he's injured and in the AHL.

I haven't seen the official word that Brassard is back in the lineup but my guess is that he will be. I also think Norrena will be on a very short leash should he falter early. The Jackets must get on a run here to get back into the race and can no longer afford to be patient or wait for chemistry to come to them.




Erik said...

I agree with you LTL, Norrena's play has been shaky, he does tend to mess it up at the wrong moment. That Billy Guerin breakaway was just awful... absolutely awful.. that move should have never been used against an NHL veteran of that stature, you might stop a rookie that way....but Guerin with his experience is not going to be forced into a snap decision. I think Norrena was panicking on that play.. BTW are Weight and Guerin playing together again ?? Are they the Sedin twins ?? anyways..

The D and Norrena need to play an excellent game.. and may I point out that indeed Method has been the best defenseman, OKT wasn't too shabby either... he has been very solid when he played... We need to get a solid game from Tyutin and Commodore.. I think Hedja and Method are doing their part... Norrena needs to keep his confidence...

As for Offense..... Brass has to be back... we need the Mod/Tor/Pec line to really get nasty... and most importantly we need Nash and Huselius to get the points...

Personally I am afraid that the Oilers speed could be an issue for Commodore and Hedja tonight... we'll see...

Let's go jackets... we need 2 points !!!!

LTL said...

For anyone wondering why its a 7:30 start tonight Puck-rakers just mentioned its b/c the game is on TSN.


LTL said...

Good point about the speed of the Oil Erik. Extremely good point actually. Love your posts, keep em coming.

Also Puck-rakers says that Brass is indeed in and Klesla is still out.


DRU said...

Dispatch says Brassard is playing tonight but isn't quite 100%.

Pub said...

Nash needs to wake the hell up and BE NASH.

And hey Hitch...if your top line is not working per usual. Feel free to bring Brass and Vor up with Nash.

Erik said...


I agree... although Defensively putting Brass and Jake on the top lines is very dangerous..
But he should give this a shot:

Nash - Brass - Huselius (Brass can create space and setup Nash and Huselius.. .having Brass and Huselius on the same line creates a lot of puck movement/vision and setups for Nash... furthermore Huselius and Brass can put pucks in net as well, Nash would have to be the physical player in front of the net...the issue is that Brass can't match Umbergers defensive abilities, something that is very important against the best top lines in the league)

Chimera - Umberger - Jake (Umberger would a decent setup guy, however most of the puck movement will have to come from Chimera's speed or Jake's skill.. I am not sure if this line would work without Brass... Defensively this would be a solid line.. Umberger will be in front of the net as Chimera and Jake cycle for opportunities )

So far I like the Modin - Peca - Torres line... this has to be one of the better 3rd lines in the league..They could easily be a second 2-line... IF Modin and Torres get some momentum going... look for this line to create some serious issue for the opposition over the next couple of games

Murray - Malhotra - Boll
Boll hasn't been 100% yet.. he's been solid on the 4th, adds the bang and some offense.. I personally love Murray.. .this guy does all the little things right.. .he goes the extra mile... and he's solid defensively... did I mention I love this guy.. .but Malhotra ?? WTF sure he's a great face off guy... but in my humble opinion Novotny is the better choice... I personally think we might see some type of trade involving Malholtra... He's just not adding anything to the fourth line except for face-offs.. Novotny imho has the better killer instinct, better puck control and vision.. Malholtra has a great face-off and is better on Defensive side of things...

What is your opinion Malhotra or Novotny ?? let the discussion begin...

Anonymous said...

Per Puckrakers, Mason gets the start!


Wally said...

Did he get the "mild groin strain" when he heard Mason was on his way up? DOH!

Should be interesting to see if the Norrena-haters have something to crow about with this guy.

LTL said...


You pretty much nailed my opinion of Manny versus Novonty.

Personally I think both are more than expendible and won't be Jackets after this season but if I had to choose one I'd choose Novotny.

Not that Manny was ever great but ever since he got into that fight (I think it was Backes vs. the Blues in '06) and broke his sternum he hasn't been the same physical player he used to be which draws from his game even further.

Like you say he's good at faceoffs but Novotny has him beat in just about every other facet except for maybe leadership (which we don't know since we aren't in the room).

As far as Brassard... I'd keep him with Chimera and Voracek until that line goes stale.. at that point I'd try him with Nash.

I'm not sure Nash's problem is his linemates though....and I worry that Brass may try to hard to get hmi the puck instead of taking the play he's given thus hurting both players.

I'm sure we'll see it soon enough though but if Nash wants to be an elite guy, then he needs to make the players around him better and not vice versa like all great players do.

3 hours til the puck drops!


lamdeveg said...

great article on Brassard on|NWS|Feat

Ari Baum-Cohen said...

Is Mason the future Blue Jackets goalie or is Leclaire?

Good to see such a strong hockey blog from a place not considered to be a traditional hockey hotbed.

Erik said...

First off.. regarding the Mason question.. he's going to be the franchise goalie as soon as he's ready.. it might be a couple of years.. until that time it's the very capable LeClaire.. although unfortunately he's also very fragile..
LeClaire could be a solid franchise goalie but he's too fragile.. and so far this appears to be true again this season...

BTW What a game.. what a game...... it's a good thing I don't have a heart condition...

LTL said...

Thanks for the comments Ari Baum-Cohen!

Pretty much agree with Erik.

Something intersting to keep in mind about Leclaire and Mason. Leclaire signed a 3 year deal this summer. Mason starts the first of this 3 year entry level deal this season.

Coincidence? Naw.. I think the Jackets see Mason as their long term guy but certainly know in the ever unpredictable world of goaltender development that the need some security there which Leclaire gives them..if he can ever stay healthy.

I tell ya what though, if Mason does develop liek everyone thinks he will and Leclaire can get healthy, stay healthy and perform... the Jackets could find themselves with a very nice problem on their hands.