All-Blogs.net directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Who's smokin, who's chockin - halfway point

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Who's smokin, who's chockin - halfway point

Here we are... one game past the half-way point and the Jackets sit with a 20-18-4 record which currently puts them one points out of 8th place. In fact they are just five points out of 5th place at this stage.

Digging a little a deeper from 5th to 14th place teams are separated by just 9 points. The only teams that are running away from the pack are San Jose, Detroit, Calgary and Chicago. That leaves 4 places still up for grabs in a very competitive Western Conference.

...and the great news, the Jackets are most definitely right in the fight with no signs of slowing down despite many key injuries!

WHO'S SMOKIN

* The Jackets collectively are a smokin bunch. They went 4-2 on what I believe was the most important road trip in franchise history despite up to 7 regulars out of the lineup. They have won 7 of 8 at home. They are 6-4 over their past 10.

* Steve Mason. Just where would the Jackets be without this guy? I shudder to think. He currently leads the league in Save%, GAA and Shutouts. He is the single biggest difference why the Jackets have remained in this fight and his excellent play has gotten contagious.

* Young guys all stepping up and contributing. Voracek has 20 points in 41 games ..what's most impressive about him is he's a +13! Guys like Dorsett and Methot have really been contributing... and then of course we have the Russians in Filatov and Mayorov who are helping out.

* Speaking of Filatov... first career hat trick at the tender age of 18... 4 goals in 6 NHL games.. the future is indeed bright.

* Attendance has improved of late (although according to ESPN we are still ranked 29th). Reasons for improvement is better play by the team and I think the marketing staff is getting much more creative in putting butts in the seats as well.

* PK is also on the rise getting as high as 10th... its sitting at 19 killing at 81%.

* Coaching has done a good job using what they have (or have left) and getting them to buy into a style that they have to play to win. Its not pretty or entertaining a lot of times but if it produces two points who cares!

* Jackets are allowing the 6th fewest shots per game at 28.3.. more importantly the shots that are coming most of the time are of the low quality variety in low scoring areas of the ice.

* Mase has been great but so has the 'D' in front of him. Commodore/Hejda are one of the best shutdown pairs in the NHL. Tyutin has really solidified that second pairing and has worked really well with Methot. Kris Russell has looked fantastic after getting sent down.

* Commodore and Tyutin are both on track for career years point wise. In fact with 18 current points Commodore has already surpassed his season point total from of 14 last year. Tyutin had 20 points all of last season and has 18 already this year.

* Nash was on a tear before he went down with an "lower body" injury. He was named player of the week and has racked up 14 points in his last 9 games -- just 4 of those were goals. To me the best part is he was scoring key goals (penalty shot!) and making the players around him better which those assists illustrate -- alot of those were the 1st assist types for tap in goals..

* Big wins against San Jose, Philly, Colorado & Washington!

* R BAR!!

* Even strength goals continue to "carry the flag"... They are tied for 11th in the league with ES 77 goals.

* The Jackets are 9th overall in GAA. They've allowed just 2.64 goals per game.

* Mike Commodore is 3rd amongst NHL defensemen with 109 hits. Jan Hejda is 11th with 92.

* Commodoroe is 11th in blocked shots with 94, Hejda is 18th with 83.

* We've got more replay... less sponsor promos... better music and they have almost done away with those stupid movie clips... game ops is on the right track!

* Back to back to back shutouts for Mase. Back to back t0 back NHL "Rookie of the Month" awards for the Blue Jackets!

* Malhotra currently sits 5th overall in the league winning 58.4% of his draws. He is playing his best hockey as a Blue Jacket as well.

* Nash an "all star" for the 4th time.

* Folks who regularly comment on this blog -- your thoughts make this blog a much better place for hockey nuts like us! Thanks for contributing!!

WHO'S CHOKIN

* No 5 on 3 goals to date.

* PP ranked 30th in the league. Its done a little better of late but just imagine where this could be in the standing if they had a middle of the pack PP...

* Christian Backman. Just 1g, 3a for 4 points and is a +1. He hasn't been as horrible lately but if Howson gets a chance to dump this guy I'll drive him to the airport myself.

* Derick Brassard out of the year. That one is still stinging.

* Injuries have completely engulfed this squad but they are hanging in there.

* That LA Kings 3-0 loss on Dec 23rd. The worst game of the year and perhaps a moment we will reflect back on as the turning point in the season for the Jackets.

* Still desperately need a PPQB and could use another center.

* The "war room". Puke.

* 4 straight losses to the Phoenix Coyotes who are battling the Jackets for one of those remaining playoff spots.

* Glasscal Leclaire injured yet again and its safe to say is having a very down year.

* Me for believing this team was toast heading into a 6 game road trip.

There you have it. Feel free to add more in the comments section!

-LTL

6 comments:

Skraut said...

Hey Lamp, Check out Puck Daddy's interview with Filatov.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Puck-Daddy-chats-with-Nikita-Filatov-about-the-B?urn=nhl,133751

Dan said...

Great blog, love the content and frequency of updates. One question, why all the R Bar fluffing? Do you have an ownership stake or a bartending gig or something? It's a cool bar and all, but nothing special. Go Jackets!

LTL said...

Thanks for the comments Dan!

As for the R Bar.. I do know the owners but we aren't affiliated in any way.. I just love having a dedicated hockey bar + its the only one in town -- so I give it a lot of love.

Skraut -- thanks for the link.. I was just blogging about that one. Fantastic read!! That guy does such a great job.

-LTL

JAL said...

The Filatov interview is about what I expected, based upon some other interviews I have heard on the radio. Nice young man, and a great talent. Glad he is one of ours!

Wally said...

Brass is somewhere between smoke & choke. If things continue as they are, we're going to need him for a full season next year. Much as it sucks, I think it's good that we got this out of the way now & everyone in the dressing room should be proud as hell they're getting it done w/o the likes of Nash & Brassard.

SavaLuce said...

Great review of the season so far, Lamp- nothing I can argue with there! The biggest thing for me is that for probably the first time at a season's halfway point, I am really encouraged by their play and hopeful for the rest of the season. Despite all the injuries and set-backs these guys are still fighting hard and winning games...that's huge. I can't wait to see where these guys go in the second half.

Carrying the flag across the frozen north...