directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: STOP HEMSKY!!

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pre-game thoughts: STOP HEMSKY!!

Mike Commodore said it best after the disappointing loss versus Anaheim last Saturday.... "don't let it become 2"...

As we know it did become 2 and now the challenge tonight is to not let this thing become 3 and burn away all that momentum built form that 6-0-1 run.

The Edmonton Oilers are right on the Jackets heels.. They've played 1 less game yet sit just 1 point behind them in 9th place in the conference.

Yep you guessed.. just another one of the "biggest games in the Jackets history" tonight at Rexall Place.

The Jackets must find a way to get points in this game and in Vancouver. These are the games that will ultimately make the biggest difference to whether the Jackets are in or out come April.

*STOP HEMSKY!! This guy has almost single handily beat the Jackets this season.

* The Jackets have gotten way to careless of late in their forecheck and sticking to their system.. they are allowing to many odd man rushes and freedom through the neutral zone. They must get back to their hard work in all 3 zones b/c if they don't this quick transitioning Oilers team will chew you up.

* Broken record time but the Jackets have to win the battle of special teams. They didn't in Calgary and we saw that result. The Oilers are nothing special on the PP (20th) or the PK (28th) but that's doesn't mean they can't beat you with it.

* Need to limit Souray who has 17th goal and 40 points.. dude has a massive blast from the point that needs contained... Gilbert is also having a very good season on the blue line for them notching 34 poitns thus far. They like to work the pucks to those guys and they get shots through and on net -- limit their time and space.

* Edmonton brings a balanced attack.. They have 7 players with 12 or more goals (the Jacket have 4). Hemsky is the key but the Jackets need a complete defensive effort as they do have other weapons.

* Speaking of scoring... the Jackets have to get more of it. The lines have been significantly changed in hopes of sparking some offense.... somebody other than Umberger needs to step up and start putting pucks in the net consistently..

* As its been for most of this season.. the Jackets goaltending has to be excellent to win. Mase needs to control his rebounds and outplay Roloson. Hopefully he's energized.

* Never hurts to rattle Rolo and throw him off his game.. it doesn't take much either.

* Enough of this perimeter game crap... I can count on three fingers the players I've seen actually go to the net to try to score lately... Umberger, Boll and Dorsett... two of those guys aren't even top 6 guys.. your not going to score on outside with no one in front of the net... guys like Nash/Juice/Voracek/Williams/Malhotra have to get in the paint and pay a price.

* Defense has to do a much better job keeping pucks in the zone and helping out the forwards. Commdore/Hejda need to find their defensive mojo quickly...

Tonight marks the debut of Chris Gratton in a CBJ uni. I'm not expecting anything magical here.. just a strong physical effort that provides energy and some key faceoff wins... any points would be a bonus.

It will also be interesting to see if the lineup shakeup pays any dividends.

I'm not really sure what to expect out of this one. We've seen a couple different Jackets teams show up over the past week hopefully tonight we get the version that wins.

No live blog tonight as I've got my own beer league game.

UDPATE: Article from THN - Oilers Watch: Taking a lesson from Columbus

Check out this part:

Try facing a future that, though blessed with the presence of youngsters such as Nikita Filatov (a.k.a. the No. 1 NHL-ready prospect as selected by The Hockey News’ upcoming Future Watch special edition), Jakub Voracek, Derick Brassard and Steve Mason, could include the departure of star forward Rick Nash, slated to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2010 and rumored to be considering employment with another team.

Would love to know where this "rumor" is coming from... probably in Proteau's cranium. Solid journalism.

There is also a solid read here from THN titled "Umberger cooking up more magic?".




Rick said...

Someday, all the Canucks making these disparaging comments about the CBJ will wake up and realize that hockey is no longer exclusive to Canada. That said, I've met some great Canadians outside the 'Nat this year.

jemhuff said...

The line up for tonight intrigues me, but the problem is that Hitch rarely keeps these lines intact for very long. It may be back to the "old" lines before the game is even over.