directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Pre-game thoughts: Chapter II

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pre-game thoughts: Chapter II

The book on the Columbus Blue Jackets first playoff game didn't read quite like we would have all liked it too as the Jackets fell 4-1 to the Wings.

Good thing this book is longer than one chapter eh?

Chapter II opens tonight much like the first one did... in Detroit. The difference tonight is that now the Jackets have a playoff game under their belts and have a chance to correct the problems and build off the areas they performed well in.

* Listen to Hitch. This guy has been there and done this. The players, especially the young ones, need to buy what he's selling.

* Shake the jitters. The players with little to no playoff experience need to put the jitters behind them. No more "deer in the headlights" looks as Hitch said. The Wings strap on their skates the same way the Jackets do.

* Get pucks deep and outwork this team. No more east/west. For the Jackets to win they must get pucks deeps if the play isn't there and they must outwork the Wings down low to maintain possession.

* Watch RJ Umberger's goal again.....and then again and again. That is how you how to score on this Wings team... nothing pretty but get in those dirty areas and bang home those close shots and second/third chances.

* There has been a lot written about the faceoffs.. if the Wings are cheating then cheat back. As Manny Malhotra said "if you aren't cheating on the faceoffs then you aren't trying hard enough". Think back to that PP goal the Wings scored... they won the faceoff.. passed it around a bit and next thing you know it's in our net.... we can't keep giving them that possession and they are fully aware of that.

* The Wings got by with secondary scoring this past game with limited contributions from their big guns... that probably won't happen again.... the Jackets need to 1. contain them and 2. get their own big guns firing.

* Speical teams. The powerplay....gawd that achillies heal of a PP... it's got to put a puck or two behind Osgood.. the Jackets have to reward themselves for drawing penalties and take advantage of their opportunities.. the PK did okay last game but still room for improvement.

* Get out of Mason's way and let him make the friggan saves!! Mase also has to be better than average.

* Get to Osgood early... scoring the first goal would be huge for this Jackets team and it's confidence.

* The Wings defense has had a nasty habit of turning pucks over in their own zone... the Jackets must continue to pressure and force those turnovers... but even more than that these boys HAVE to score on those chances... The Wings didn't give up the 6th most goals against for nothing... they can be scored on.

* Can't afford to be so fragile... if they score don't get down.. keep fighting and battling.

* Jackets got pushed around Thursday.. it's their turn to push back tonight.

* Watch the matchups... Nash vs. Lidstrom.. Rusty vs. Holmstrom... Hejda/Big Red vs. Datsyuk/Zetterberg/Hossa.. Nash is going to have to figure out who to beat Lidstrom which is no easy task.

*Keep getting in front of those shots from the points.. as the Wings live off of those... but if your the forwards and can't get out to make the blocks the D has to clear out the front of that net..

* Have a must win attitude... they must to come home with a split...

* Replicate that first 30 from Thursday but double it.... if they do that they win this game.

* No invisible men.... there were some passengers on Thursday who weren't filling their roles.. those players need to show some life and help lift this squad.

Can the Jackets give a full 60? Can they leave the jitters behind them? Can the big guns get on the scoreboard? Can the PP do something...anything?

All things I'll be watching closely.

As for those the Jackets fans that are heading up today.. give em hell folks!!!



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That always seems to be the Jackets' problem, well other than the powerplay.

They just can't play 60 minutes, they got away with playing 30 and 40 minutes only in the regular season, but this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs and that just won't fly.

As has been beat to death Hitchcock hockey is playoff hockey; beat, bang, and grind for 60 minutes or more if necessary.