directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Depth to be tested

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pre-game thoughts: Depth to be tested

Out: Klesla, Torres, Brassard, Tollefsen, Chimera, Murray

In: Novotny, Wilson, Picard, York

Of course Dorsett just came back into the lineup.

The new Nashville is the opponent tonight. Phoenix has solidly beaten the Jackets in all 3 meetings this season including 2 here at Nationwide.

The Jackets as mentioned are an injured bunch. They have 6 regulars out of the lineup and the Brassard injury (man I love Brass's passion, guts and competitiveness but to lose him in that fashion really hurts...) is a dagger as it removes, perhaps for months, the most skilled center the Jackets have from the lineup.

Depth will be tested.

Every team in the NHL goes through stretches over an 82 game season where injuries mount and most of the time its the depth that steps up and keeps the boat afloat while the walking wounded slowly return. Its not trades or the waive of a magic coaching wand. Players have to step up. The teams that can weather the injury storm are the teams that make the playoffs. The Jackets will be no different.

This is why Howson brought in a guy like York in the offseason. A guy with a lot NHL experience whose game may be on the decline but when injuries stack up he's a guy who should be able to step in and help keep the boat afloat.

More than York though its guys playing further down in the lineup that need to step up their games. Guys like Malhotra, Peca, Boll and Novotny are names that come to mind.

* As bogus as that call was the other night in Dallas the Jackets have to move on. Nobody can change the call and the NHL certainly won't admit error. Its time to use it for motivation... nobody is going to give the Jackets any breaks.. its clearly the Jackets vs. NHL.

* With less skill in the lineup special teams become even more important. The Jacket have to start making teams pay with the man advantage. The skill guys still there like Nash, Voracek, Russell, Huselius, Modin & Umberger have to bring it hard on the PP and convert!

* As I mentioned guys have to step up and play above their heads for a while.

* Contain Doan. Guy has been a Jacket killer this season. He is their leading scorer with 29 poitns 32 games.

* Have to get up for this one. This is a conference opponent the Jackets will be battling all season long for a final playoffs pot. The 'yotes have already taken 6 points in this season series... Jackets cannot let it be a season sweep for 8. No flat legs.

* Phoenix loves to set Jokinen up with the 1 timer... don't give him time or space b/c he's got a laser.

* Of course we have the standard stuff... stay out of the box, score first, strong even strength play and Mase just needs to play like he's been playing to give the Jackets a chance.

Couple of things. How will the Jackets respond after the Dallas "Texas Stole One" game? How will the depth perform? Does Brass's effort to stand up for his teammate bring this team closer together -- the Jackets are going to really miss him but that kid showed alot in that play about what kind of teammate he is and the price he's willing pay. If can't take some inspiration away from that play then your living a cold life.

Puck drops at 9 EST tonight.




Rick said...

I think the Brass injury is part of the "gel" that will bring this team even closer together. They seem to be playing with more passion lately and this will only stoke the "us vs. them" mentality of the team. They understand that they are the only ones who can get the job done. It's time to step up and do it.

Rick said...

This can't be good...(from Puck-Rakers)

"Nash Questionable
Blue Jackets left winger Rick Nash is questionable for tonight's game in Phoenix because of the flu. Nash did not attend the morning skate, instead remaining back at the team hotel to rest."

I'm starting to get that queasy feeling.

LTL said...

Ouch.. thanks for the update on Nash Rick...