directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Mess with the bull you get the horns!

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pre-game thoughts: Mess with the bull you get the horns!

That picture is all that comes to mind when I think about the game tonight - two Western Conference bulls locking horns.

I read an interesting post today from an NHL fan whom says he sees this Jackets team in the same way he saw the 2003-2004 Calgary Flames team. A team with one legitimate star, a hot young goalie and bunch of players with something to prove. It was also the Flames breakout season after missing out on the playoffs the previous 7 campaigns.

It was a very fitting analogy I thought.

If you recall that Flames team rode that wave all the way to the 7th game of the Stanley Cup finals.

Now do I think this Jackets team is capable of that...? Well lets not put the flame before the match but there are quite a bit of similarities between that team and this year's version of the Jackets.

Of course the Flames of today have that same superstar in Jarome Iginla but some of those players that needed to prove themselves in '04 certainly don't have to today. Guys like Kiprusoff and Regehr have certainly made names for themselves. Since then they have also added another budding superstar in Dion Phaneuf while also surrounding Iginla with well equipped talent like Langkow and Cammalleri.

So now that I can hear some virtual screams yelling would you get to a point already LTL I'll finally make it.

Take a good hard look at this Flames team tonight Jacket fans b/c in 2 to 3 years time there is a real good chance that this is what the Jackets are going to evolve into although I think the Jackets will have more top end scoring at the foward position.

For tonight though its all about the here and now... this 60 minutes. Can this Jackets team with 1 superstar, 1 hot goalie and a bunch of players with something to prove out compete a more hardened and seasoned Flames squad in their own house?

The Jackets need the points more than the Flames... they should play more desperate.. but as I mentioned yesterday the Flames are a very difficult bunch to beat at home.

* Not time allotted for a slow start and to gradually get in the game. If you want the 2 points.. you'd better be ready to compete after the first whistle blows.. you'd better be ready to play physical and you'd better be ready to pay a price to score.

* Iginla is the engine that pulls this train.. but believe it or not the Flames have 5 players who have scored 40 points or more sof ar this season... the Jackets have just two. So while Iginla needs contained everybody needs to contribute defensively to limit these guys offensively. Luckily though it looks like both Bourque and Langkow are out for this one. The Flames are the 4th highest scoring squad in the Conference with 187 goals.

* Kiprusoff is having a solid season with a .907 save% and a 2.76 GAA.. that said this team can certainly be scored on. They have allowed 172 goals against which is middle of the pack in the West. Jackets need balanced scoring -- Nash and Juice need to contribute obviously but other players need to step up as well.

* Steve Mason has to outplay Kipper.

* This will be in-your-face hockey tonight. Its a difficult style of hockey to play. If you aren't prepared to play it might as well take a seat in the press box.

* Flames PK is very good ranking 3rd in the league. Maybe the Jackets can catch them sleepwalking against the league's 30th ranked PP? Although we all know its been better than that since the new year. An early timely PP goal would certainly be huge.

* On the flip side the Jackets PK has climbed to 16th in the league.. it will match up against the Flames 18th ranked PP. The Flames will look to launch the bombs from the points via Phaneuf and co. which the Jackets will need to neutralize by getting in lanes, getting strong clears and getting bodies in front of those shots.

* Controlled desperation & no posts!!

This "Juice" returns. Tonight will mark Kristian Huselius' first game against Calgary since leaving the squad via free agency. Will he disappear or will he put the squeeze on the Flames in his return?

Keep your eye on Dorsett. If he gets a chance(s) to tattoo Regehr after the cross check to the face (that resulted in squat from the league) from their last meeting believe me he's going to take it.

The Jackets have not won in Calgary in their past 9 games dating back to March 29th, 2003. That is a streak that has got to end....and what better time to do it than tonight?

I know we've said it alot this season but as the Jackets stay in the hunt every game, including this 3 game road trip, becomes the biggest in franchise history.

I'll be "live bloggin" tonight with no interruptions so feel free to pop on in.




Mary said...

Didn't know if you caught this on the hockey news today...

Kind of fun :-)

~ M

LTL said...

Hey Mary!

No, hadn't caught that one.. thanks for the heads up!