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

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This and that

According to the Globe & Mail it looks like the NHL will get one more year out of NBC:

The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that the league is "expected to extend its TV deal with NBC through the 2009-10 season", which would allow NBC to use NHL telecasts to promote its coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

According to the paper, both the league and the network have made money off of the profit-sharing agreement, which began with the 2005-06 season, "but not a great deal." The NHL and NBC each earned a profit of less than $5 million during a relatively successful 2007-08 season that saw the highest rated regular season game in years (the Winter Classic) and the highest rated Stanley Cup Finals in six years.

Any kind of national TV exposure in the states is a good thing. Unfortunately I don't see this relationship lasting past the Olympics because 1. NBC doesn't get enough return for the air time 2. the Olympics will be over so no need to use the NHL to promote them and 3. its anticipated that this will be the last Olympics for quite some time for NHL players.

I see one of the other networks working out some kind of similar deal once this expires though. After all its still a major league (no matter what the ESPN mouthpieces try to sell us) and NHL does a respectable job of attracting that sought after male demographic of 18 - 35 year olds.

Some good news on the injury front. According to Puck-rakers Derek Dorsett has returned to practice from a broken finger. This team could really use Dorsett's energy right about now.

The bad news is that Clay Wilson continues to practice as a winger. That means that Backman will most likely see time against Nashville Thursday especially if Tollefsen needs a another couple of days after that nasty fall he took that cracked his cranium against Anaheim.

Things could really get interesting if Dorsett comes off the IR (which I'm not sure if you can practice and be on the IR at the same time) -- at that point who goes? Does Norrena finally find a pink slip in his stocking? Does Wilson go back down? Backman or another get put on waivers?

..and what about this Peca situation? He's certainly in the doghouse only getting 8 minutes of ice time against Anaheim. He had this to say in this morning's rag:

"In San Jose and in Anaheim, I was surprised by it and I don't understand it, but there are a lot of things about the game I don't understand," Peca said before the meeting. "You see if it's a pattern, you talk about it and you figure out where each side is on the matter."

Obviously the coaching staff not happy with his play. So what motivated this? Lets take a look.

In terms of my personal expectations heading into the season I expected Peca to thrive in a shutdown center role on the 3rd line. I expected him to excel in faceoffs, be in that 30 point range offensively (he had 34 last year), be a positive +/- player, be a key penalty killer and a leader in the room. He's a cerebral player who I expect to be in the right position at all times with an active stick and to take the body when its there.

So far Peca, who has played that 3rd line shutdown center most of the year, has 1g, 5a for 6p in 22 games. He's on pace for 21p. He's also a -5 and 15th overall in ice time averaging 14:15 minutes a game.

More Peca stats. He's 17th in hits with 14. 4th in blocked shots with 21. 17th with 18 shots. Has won 52% of his draws. He's 2nd in forwards in shorthanded time averaging 2:58 per game.

Of course stats are one thing while watching his play is another entirely. When I think of Peca this season the only real plays that stand out have been on the PK. Other than that he really hasn't done much to contribute offensively. He's had a couple of decent hits the last two games but before then he's been quiet in that department. His faceoffs aren't bad but he doesn't' seem to be winning them it counts the most which are the key offensive and defensive zone draws. Emotionally you don't see a whole lot from on him on the ice. Of course no one can comment what he's like in the room except for players/coaches there. He is 4th on the team with 34 PIMS but if you take away the 20 he got dinged with in Dallas for that ref incident he's right in that 12 to 13 area in terms of team rank.

Look I like Peca but when you add all this up its hard to argue w/ the coaching staff reducing his minutes. We know he's not hitting or agitating because that's not really his game at this stage of his career but if he's not shutting down opponents, not creating offense and not winning key draws what exactly is he providing out there besides a warm body?

Quite frankly I'm glad to see the coaching staff singling out veterans who aren't getting it done. We saw Hitch drop Nash's name earlier, Backman finally got scratched and now Peca is feeling some heat.


In fact I think their leashes should be much shorter for vets than the rookies out there. Its up to those veterans to set the example for the young players and if they aren't getting it done night in and night out, how can you expect the younger players to? Its all about accountability throughout your lineup and nobody should be exempt from that.

This doesn't come as a surprise to Jacket fans who follow things closely but is reporting that Nikita Filatov will be released by the Jackets to play in the World Junior Championships this month.

I think this a no-brainer for the Jackets. While it hurts the Crunch short-term I think the long term benefits of both Filatov and Mayorov being released to represent their country in this high profile tournament will be well worth it. Not only is the organization showing these players some good-will but it should also do mountains of good for their development.

When they do return the Crunch should get back some re-energized players, hopefully brimming with confidence, whom played key roles for their country on a big stage ready to take the next step in their professional careers.

The only real risk here that I see is that the players may choose to not return which I think the chances of that happening are next to none - especially since the tourney is in Canada.

According to Steve Mason on NHL Live he is "going to be here for the year".

Now what that means for Freddy Norrena remains to be seen but I can't see the Jackets carrying 3 goaltenders the entire season. I think the Jackets will keep him up to the Christmas roster freeze and then part ways either by trade, waivers or release to Europe.

Finally the Mens Hockey Buckeyes have moved up 1 spot in rankings to #17:

The Buckeyes have won games in Pittsburgh, and Cleveland this season, which puts them ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.




Rayth said...

Does OKT Really impress you more then Backman 5 on 5? OKT doesn't even play on the PK, other then maybe 30-40 seconds a game. Do you really want Wilson on D? The Wilson was a pure desperation move. He has no business being dressed for D on a NHL team.

Does your hatred of Backman extend so far that you can't see the major flaws of the players that you want to replace Backman with? OKT adds some toughness, but beyond that his transistion and skating have much to be desired.

I'm not saying Backman is a world beater here. But you're really not making much sense with your statements here. At least say that you would like to get Rusty back to replace Backman. That, at least, would make some sense.

As far as Peca goes, he's slow. Peca and Novotny are done with the Jackets, they just don't know it yet. They are both this years Vyborny. As far as the PK goes, he hasn't been that effective. I have to disagree with you there. At best, he's been average. 5 on 5, those 2 are pretty useless at this point.

LTL said...


I agree wiht you completely that OKT and Wilson have flaws..big ones...but so Does Backman.. really none of them should be in the NHL but that's unfortunately not reality for us.

Why do I scratch Backman over OKT and Wilson at this point? My thoughts..

OKT brings some toughness and at least hits...he can't make an outlet pass but Backman isn't much better. Wilson brought more offense in one game than I've seen from Backman this entire season....i.e he actually got some shot through from the point...and isn't that what Backman's role was supposed to be? He's got holes defensively but that's a risk I'm willing to take b/c something has to be done about this PP.

What's the bigger risk.. dressing Backman 5 on 5 and continuing to let our PP sputter... or taking a chance w/ Wilson defensively hoping he can provide a spark for the PP?

At this point I've seen enough of Backman 5 on 5 and a sputtering PP.... I'm willing to roll the dice on Wilson until another solution presents itself (i.e. trade, etc) Yes its desperation but that's where this team finds itself.

Backman doesn't bring toughness, doesn't bring any offense, is a slow prodding skater and average passer at best... he needs to fill more of a role for me outside of a 5 on 5 contributor.. we have 4 of those guys in our top 2 pairs.

Its not personal.. I'm just not at all a fan of his on ice play. I don't think he adds anything to this lineup. I see why St. Louis only got a 4th round pick for him at the deadline in an drastically inflated market that develops at the deadline.. they were probably thrilled to get a pick and lose that contact... as I'm sure the Rangers were when they dumped him on us.

..and yes I'd rather have Klesla in the lineup than all 3 of those guys but that statement was made assuming he won't be ready for this next 3 games stretch.. if he is then great although he still isn't going to help our ailing PP.

Thx for the comment.


Sean said...

Long time no post....As far as Klesla is concerned, there are many people on the HF boards who complain that his ship has sailed and we have to face it that he'll never be the player we hoped when drafted in the first round. However, our PK stinks. How much do you think Rusty's injury has affected the PK? When he comes back does it get that much better? Will he really come back from his two injuries and play at 100% this season. I remember at least one story in the Dispatch mentioning that he may need to have surgery on his wrist in the off-season.

LTL said...

Great point on Rusty and the PK Sean. That is definitely something to keep an eye on.