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Friday, February 20, 2009

Jackets pull rabbit from hat as Hitch notches milestone win!


I'm not sure if David Copperfield is throwing on the Union Blue jersey lately or what but these Jackets are finding some magic of their own in coming up with improbable points.

Last night was a game the Jackest used to lose. They were outplayed.. sloppy... energy was zapped.. unforced turnovers everywhere.. but somehow, someway this group hung in there and....PRESTO...two more big points!

The Jackets are 6-0-1 over their past 7... that is remarkable.

STOPLIGHT GAME REVIEW


GREEN
* Congrats to Hitch on his 500th!

* It wasn't pretty but the Jackets are making key plays to keep them in games even when overall they get outplayed... think about some of the key goals.. the key defensive plays.. the block and clutch saves. There were mistakes to go around but when a big play was needed somebody stepped up. Good teams do this.

* Nash and Juice... they found a way to lift this tired Jackets to this win with timely scoring. The each also had fantastic dishes to each other for goals.

* Manny is heating up again.. he notched a couple of assists but how about his defensive play in OT!!

* Just another night for RJ Umberger.. he notched his 20th to match his career high in goals.. he could certainly reach the 30 mark by the time this thing concludes... and how about that defensive play he made to basically save the game?

* Jan Hejda with 6 blocks... Mike Commodore also got into the action with a couple... remember that shot he took right in the stomach? The Jackets as a whole continue to get in front of those shots. The team as a whole combined to block 25 shots... the Leafs had just 11. This is an area of the game I don't think the Jackets get near enough credit.

* Mase would probably like to have that first goal back but he stopped a number of quality chances.... that save late in the 3rd on Blake was a game saver.

* SHOOTOUT BABY! Okay.. who believe Jason Williams that his attempt was intentional? I'm glad it went in but that sure looked accidental to me. Nash buried his attempt and Mase with two saves. Its nice to come out on the positive side of one of those after Dallas stole a point from us last week.

YELLOW
* The Jackets were only on the man advantage twice... they did get 3 even strength goals.. so it goes.

RED
* Ugly first period.

* The Jackets had 12 give-aways and some very bad ones in the defensive zone.

* Somebody grab a rag and wipe the brown off Rimer's nose.. and the drool off his mouth. We get the message loud and clear Rims.. you love Toronto.

* Some cute shots of Nash's grandma throughout the game but what's up with the old CBJ logo jacket she was sporting....? The big man is stepping up on the ice but he needs to step up off it and open the wallet and spring for some updated CBJ digs for Grammy!!

* Too many penalties..5 to be exact.. They only allowed one PP goal but your playing with fire there. I'll admit that those refs seemed very "interference" happy last night.

* Thanks for joining the live blog and sorry I had to cut out early. I'll do a better job of scheduling next time around. Thanks to Rick for helping me out.

* It was just one game in Toronto but I'm already sick of reading the Nash to Toronto speculation.

3 BRIGHT LIGHTS ON THE NIGHT
1. Hitch's 500th!
2. Jackets find a way to win despite getting outplayed.
3. Nash's grandma.

The win moves bumps the Jackets into a tie with Vancouver for 5th place. They are now 7 games over .500 in the month of February -- that is not a misprint. The Canucks have played one less game so they retain that position. Its also provides a temporary 4 point cushion between themselves and 8th place Edmonton.

The great battles just keep on coming though as 9th placed Anaheim rolls into town tomorrow night.... they will undoubtably be looking at this game as a must win. The Jackets will look to rest up and re-energize.

The game looks like its going to be a sell out so if you don't have your tix better grab some while you can!! There is nothing like hockey on a Saturday night in front of a sold out crowd!!

Also I just put a poll up regarding the rumored Leafs players to be on the block. I was personally impressed with both Moore and Antropov last night. Moore's has some wheels and played a solid north/south game... Its hard not to like the size an Antropov brings down the middle -- really made me think that is what Svitov could have developed into if he hung around under Hitch. He showed some nice quick hands around the cage as well.

GO JACKETS!

-LTL

9 comments:

eplagge said...

I agree with Chimera25, Williams has been solid and should be kept in the fold..
However I disagree with Chimera25 on Antropov... he looked good as a winger, but I really don't see him as a center... remember he needs to be responsible on both ends and setup Nasher and Juice... I found him to be subpar on the Defensive side and he showed no setup skill and he looked rather slow..he definitely does not have Nash's deceitful speed.... He's a power forward on the wings, like a mini Nash or Nash 0.6.. not the guy we are looking for..
I thought Kubina was a beast though, BUT how different is he from a Tyutin or Commie.. Plus he has a hefty price tag... all-in-all I was unimpressed with Toronto.. I really don't see anything of great value here and I think Burke will be pulling his hair out trying to make this club better.. because quite frankly they are very unimpressive and Burke's starting point is really really bad.. I'd almost feel bad for him...

I really don't think we are going to find anything of interest this trade deadline.. Expect some Costco deals.. although I can still daydream about a Spezza dump for some minor picks followed by Hitch being the only coach who can get Spezza to compete hard every game.. ahh the sweet Nash-Spezza-Huselius line.... can you imagine in 1 or 2 years..

Nash- Spezza - Filatov
Umberger - Brassard - Huselius
Chimera - Williams - Voracek
Torres - Peca - Boll

LTL said...

You know I was most impressed with Moore which really suprised me. He seems like a the type of costco Howson would go after.

At least last night he played a simple North American speed game. Reminded me of Lombardi actually.

He could be had fairly cheap as well me thinks. I'm thinkin 4th round pick cheap.

Toronto was a pretty awful. Burke has his work cut out for him with that squad.

-LTL

tom said...

eplagge...Ooo that looks nice. Spezza with Nash and Filatov...WOW.

However, I'm not convinced that Williams and Peca are long term keepers. But I am with you in that we don't need much more than time to have a great hockey club. (Nash is a "veteran" at 24?)

We need Spezza or Lombardi to drop between Nasher and Juice, even if just for this playoff run. Manny can drop to Chimmer's line with Voracek.

I'd roll with this lineup for 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs (man, that's great to type out!)

Nash - New Center - Huselius
Umberger - Williams - Modin
Chimera - Malhotra - Voracek
Torres - Peca - Boll

Any news on how Cody Golabef (sp?) is progressing this season? Will he be ready to join the fray next year too?

jemhuff said...

I wasn't convinced that Williams' shot was intentional either, but if you look at the replay at
http://watch.tsn.ca/nhl/clip141820#clip141820, I can see where that was intentional. The way he moves the stick after he whiffs doesn't look natural.

roadman said...

Two points is two points is two points is two points. Seems I've said that a lot recently. Pretty or not the jackets are in a playoff race and every point counts, so take any that you can get. Ugly or pretty it just doesn't matter. Playoffs, we want to get to the playoffs and then see what we can do. But to do that there is still a lot off hockey to play and points to be had. Take em, take em whenever and however they come.

GO JACKETS!!!

PLAYOFFS, HERE WE COME!!!

Viqsi said...

Two points:
* I would not be shocked at all if that jacket Nash's grandmother had was a "first ever from my NHL grandson" sentimental one.
* Williams told the bench beforehand he was going to try that move; Hitch confirmed it in the press conference. ;)

JAL said...

Over the course of 82 games there are going to be some ugly losses, and some ugly wins, and certainly this falls in the latter category.

What is great to see, though, is the grit. Instead of getting weaker as the game went on, we got stronger. Pogge had no chance in the SO, poor guy. First gets fooled by the change up, then blown away by the fastball. If Huselius had a shot, would he have put a slider up there?

Not sure you can appropriately evaluate a player within a poor context. Jason Williams is a perfect example -- Atlanta forces him into a slot where he almost can't be productive, and we give the opportunity to use his skills. Results are pretty good.

For that reason, I am not so quick to write off Antropov. Although I still suspect that there is something out there we haven't thought of, but Howson has.

Realistically, I don't see Peca and Modin both playing into long term picture, though 1 of them may stick for leadership purposes. Similarly, I only see 2 of Dorsett, Murray and Boll sticking around, and maybe only 1.

Given how hard they are playing, and the guts they are showing, I am less concerned about the specifics of a trade. I just know that it will give us plenty to talk about!

--JAL

A Shot From The Point

Max said...

Re: Williams-Watch his eyes. He's looking at the puck the whole way, not where he would expect the puck to go. Also, I'd like to see Howson extend Williams' contract. He's going to be pretty cheap. I think he's making $2.2 million this year. I think Howson could talk him down to $2 million a year for two years. That's a pretty good deal for what he brings to the table.

LTL said...

One guy that we haven't thought of JAL that the Dispatch just blogged about is Jeff Halpren:

ASSETS: Is a diligent worker. Plays a solid defensive game and excels on the penalty kill. Possesses solid leadership qualities and decent offensive credentials.
FLAWS: Is more of a checker than a scorer, so he shouldn't be called upon to serve a top-six forward role.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Checking center.

Halpren makes some sense to me. Know he isn't our answer to a #1 center but he's the kind of low cost hard working guy up the middle I can see Howson grabbing -- a definitey Costco.

Should he obtain him we can pretty much say audios to Manny/Peca/Novotny this offseason.

A guy from HockeyBuzz is also saying Howson has his eyes on Brendan Morrison.

Morrison falls into the Cougar category for me. He's only got 20 points but he has an expering contract, is on the downside of his career and the hope is that he'd be productive on this Jackets squad. Guess I'll have another player to watch on Saturday night!

To summarize here are the more prominant centers linked to the Jackets being tossed around up the middle:

Antropov/Moore/Reasoner/Halpren/Morrison/Lombardi/Vermette/Weight/Tkachuk/Kovalev

Some more likely than others of course.

-LTL