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

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Friday, November 21, 2008

This and that

Some interesting comments from Freddy Norrena in this morning's 'patch:

"I don't want to discuss anything with the media," Norrena said. "I don't need this."

Norrena apparently was upset about a Dispatch story earlier this month in which the current glut of goaltenders was compared with another one -- Marc Denis, Martin Prusek and Pascal Leclaire -- at the start of the 2005-06 season.

"You compare me to Martin Prusek? I am not Martin Prusek, OK," Norrena said. "I am not Martin Prusek. I am trying to do a good job and be a professional. That's what I'm trying to do. That's all I can do right now. And I'm not going to talk about it with the media."

Not sure I understand the problem with Prusek other than the fact that was the last time the Jackest had a 3-headed monster betweent he pipes. Perhaps there is some history between the two?

Overall these comments aren't suprising though. Norrena is a competive guy and he wants to play like everyone else so when I read he's frustrated its to be expected.

Here were Howson's comments on the situation:

"We're going to continue to evaluate how Steve does, and we're going to keep making sure that we're making the right decision by Steve and by our team," Howson said. "The three-goalie system does get awkward at some point. But it's a necessity right now, as far as we're concerned."

Bottom line is that the organization has lost all confidence in Freddy. In 8 games played he's credited with 1 win and 3 losses (he's relieved Pazzy a few times). His GAA is 3.16 and his save% is .872. Horrible numbers for a goalie.

Basically it comes down to this (and Eric mentioned this in the comments of a previous post)... The organization will hang on to Freddy until they have seen enough from Steve Mason to either 1. keep him up for the rest of the season or 2. send him down for more season. If they go with 1. then Norrena is history be it waivers, traded, back to Europe what-have-you. It its 2. then they'll ship Mason down to get more work in the minors and keep Norrena has a backup for relief purposes only.

Either way I think his days are done in terms of starting NHL games for the Jackets barring both Leclaire and Mason getting injured at the same time.

Good Pierre Lubron column on the Calder race and here is some varoius comments on Brassard:

"The biggest compliment a young player can get is when the coaching staff treats him like a veteran player, and that's how we treat him," Hitchcock said. "We just count on him every day. His performance isn't a bonus for us. It's needed. And he hasn't let us down."

Brassard was taken sixth overall in the 2006 NHL draft, but unlike some high picks in recent years, he didn't make the jump as an 18-year-old. He went back to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for another season and spent most of last season in the AHL. He came to camp ready this summer. The Jackets had openings at center, and Brassard didn't miss his chance.

"He's grabbed it and taken it," Hitchcock said. "Every person in this organization knew how qualified he was offensively. We knew he had really good offensive tools. I think the thing that's been impressive is his responsibility when the other team has the puck. I think that's what has made him have the season he's had so far. He's been really accountable and really competitive when he's checking people. I think that's the part that's impressed everybody. His competitive level has really given him a chance to be a competitive player."

Music to Hitchcock's ears? Brassard's being plus-8.

Lots of love for Doughty but if Brass can keep up this pace its going to be real hard to deny him the hardware. The one thing he's got over most of these other rookies is he's a year or two older and has a year of AHL grind under his belt. Still lots of season to go of course.

Scott Burnside grades the Jackets at the 1st quarter mark:

Columbus Blue Jackets: C-plusThe Blue Jackets are another team that hit the quarter mark looking for that elusive quality called consistency. Pascal Leclaire is back after a couple of stints on the injury shelf and his return to form is crucial to the Blue Jackets' hopes of making the playoffs for the first time in team history. Rookies Derick Brassard, who leads all rookies in scoring, and Jakub Voracek have shouldered a surprising offensive load. Still, there are a lot of questions, including whether there is a natural center to play with star Rick Nash and if the revamped defense can cut down on its first-quarter mistakes.

Pretty fair assessment.

Lindsay Kramer on Kris Russell:

Syracuse defenseman Kris Russell had no points in his first four games with Syracuse. In his last six games, he has two goals and five assists. Wednesday, I asked him about the turnaround.

"I think the first couple games you have to adjust to the league,'' he said. "This is a tough league. The first couple of games you come down, you're confused. It's a transition. Lately, it's been a progression. Confidence is a huge thing. It's the reason why you play good.''

How long until this kid get re-called? Only a matter of time IMO.

I can see the agrument of letting him bake even longer down there and giving a shot to a guy like Wilson. I don't see Wilson in the long term plans so why not give him a shot short term? Where as Russell is certainly in the long term plans so his development and confidence is the key at this stage -- playing yo-yo with him could hurt more than help.

Hockey watch.

The 5-5-1 hockey Buckeyes play two games at Northern Michigan this weekend starting tonight at 7:35 a.m.

The Syracuse Crunch play 3 games in 3 night starting tonight Albany. They'll take on Albany again at home tomorrow and then finish up at home on Sunday against Binghamton.

Another great weekend to see how Filatov/Mayorov/Russell and co. perform over a tight and challenging 3 game stretch.

Another quick side note on Filatov/Mayorov.
Kramer also reported in his blog that both players will not be participating in two exibition games leading up to the World Junior Championships in December. The reason, at least publicly, is due to the inability to work out an insurance agreement for both players.



Wally said...

If goaltending option 1 happens, who is the backup for Mason when LeClaire blows a gasket (again)? I'd always heard that LaCosta was not an NHL goaltender?

OhioGolfer said...

LaCosta looked tremendous against Chicago last Saturday in Syracuse. Confident, square to the shooter, agile. Faced 47 shots, saved 45 (approximately).

Russell and Wilson both looked very sharp -- lots of energy, good puck presence, good vision. MacKenzie was #1 star, and he had some great moments, but also some real mistakes -- several whiffs on one timers or passes, etc. Consistency is his problem right now.

For interesting opinions on the goalie situation, poll the active Crunch supporters. #1 is Mason and #2 is anybody except Le Claire. I was amazed at the antagonism toward Pascal, who is viewed there as whiny, not tough and egotistical.

LTL said...

Interesting stuff OhioGolfer. Thanks for sharing!

As far as LaCosta.. Granted I'm not the best person to break down a goaltender but from everything I've seen from LaCosta he seems like a capable backup.. he's looked better than Norrena in the times I've seen him this camp/season anyways.


Erik said...


I haven't seen much from LaCosta, but I do remember reading scouting reports... They all come to the same conclusion.. Very solid AHL goalie who could potentionally become an NHL backup, but probably wouldn't make it in the NHL longterm..

Now I would like to point out that when it comes to scouting reports and predictions, the least accurate scouting reports are on goaltenders.. They are an unpredictable bunch..

Personally I would have to see at least 5 games at the NHL level to give a fair assesment, but as it stands right now I think LaCosta has some potential to backup Mason in the future.
Scouting Report


Owns a very projectable frame and plenty of upside as a starting netminder. Proved he can carry the load at the major junior level.


Must make the necessary adjustments at the NHL level to develop into a quality 'keeper. Needs to improve his stamina in order for that to happen.

Career potential

No. 2 goaltender.

Max said...

I hate to sound like I don't like the kid, I really do. But why are we talking about Kris Russel being recalled? Why not try Wilson or Sigalet? Both those guys are big boys who can take a shot from the point. It seems to me that Russel is a guy who scores when he pinches in, shooting from the middle of the circles in. Don't get me wrong, that's a great attribute to have, especially on the powerplay. But as the PP QB, you want a guy who can fire at will from the blueline. Anyway, that's just my take. Let Russel play the game in the 'Cuse like he should have last year.