directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: This and that

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This and that

Rick takes a look at Jake Voracek in his "rookies to the rescue" piece over on

The hockey Buckeyes look towards the future after losing in the first round of the Frozen Four tourney.

Ed over at takes a look at the Evil Empire we know as the Nashville Predators.

Ed will also be appearing on the local podcast, on Thursday evening – just go to and click on the CBJ symbol and go to the podcast.

Scott Burnside comments on the Jackets playoff run:

Burnside: Yes, look for Steve Mason to get the call once again as he makes a case to be on three ballots this spring -- Vezina, Calder and Hart. And kudos to coach Ken Hitchcock and GM Scott Howson for cobbling together a team that defied skeptics (myself included) and will not just squeak into the playoffs but could cause some grief for a team such as Vancouver or Calgary in the first round. Antoine Vermette has proven to be a more than useful addition, coming over from Ottawa at the trade deadline and helping out the penalty kill and the power play.

And how about Jason Williams, jettisoned by Atlanta, ostensibly for financial reasons? He's been a nice addition to a power play that has struggled all season. I figure the Blue Jackets will sew up the sixth seed even though Anaheim can mathematically catch them. That sets up an interesting battle with the Northwest Division winner, but who will it be? Vancouver pulled itself off the mat with a big win over Calgary at home Tuesday night, but neither will be hitting the postseason on a tear. Behind a reborn Nikolai Khabibulin, Chicago has pretty much locked up home ice in the first round, so both Western Canadian teams will have their hands full, whether they face Columbus or Chicago.

Lebrun also chimes in:

But going back to the earlier point, it is important to underline what the Jackets are on the verge of accomplishing. Go back to last offseason, and it was clear Howson and Hitchcock faced tremendous pressure from ownership to get this team to its first playoff. That explained some overspending on guys such as Mike Commodore and Kristian Huselius, but the team had to overspend to lure free agents.

I'm also happy for a solid hockey market that has been extremely patient for nearly a decade. Now, Jackets fans will get a chance to make themselves heard in a playoff series ... if Columbus earns one more point in the standings. Speaking of points in the standings, looks as though Philly might grab that ever-important home-ice spot with the fourth seed in the East.

More here.

Christian Backman out -- Aaron Rome in according to the Dispatch chat. No complaints here. Rome get's another chance, let's hope he uses it.

The Hockey News debates who should be in consideration for the Jake Adam's trophy for NHL Coach of the Year:

When a team makes the post-season for the first time in its history, the coach must be doing a good job. That’s the case in Columbus, where Ken Hitchcock has star Rick Nash buying into being the best player on the ice, which has allowed the entire team to buy into the coach’s system. Rookie goalie Steve Mason deserves a lot of the credit here, too, but Hitch has shown, once again, his teams play an efficient, responsible game. Columbus is another team to watch in the future.

You can read the rest of this article and vote for Hitch as coach of the year on their poll by following this link. takes a look at "who can clinch tonight".

Pierre Lebrun writes on how the "Central no longer a doormat division":

"The big difference I think has been the goaltending," the legendary Scotty Bowman, an executive with the Blackhawks, told "You look at [Steve] Mason and what he's done in Columbus, [Pekka] Rinne in Nashville, the other Mason [Chris] in St. Louis has been a big story, and [Nikolai] Khabibulin has had a bounce-back season with Chicago.

"And those teams can all play pretty good defense now."

"You look at the division and boy, there sure is some good coaching here," Blues president John Davidson told "You look at [Joel] Quenneville, you look at [Mike] Babcock, you look at Trotz, you look at Andy Murray and you look at Hitch [Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock] -- I'm not so sure there's another division that's got a set of coaches like that."

Anyone want to argue that? Not us. You could make a Jack Adams case for all five this year.

Here is a link to the playoffs matchups should the season be over today.

More Central talk from

The Blue Jackets' journey of measuring up in the division is similar to that of the Predators in that they are an expansion team trying to get to the point where they can compete regularly on Detroit's turf. With two weeks remaining, the Jackets are on the precipice of their first playoff berth. If they do get in, they may reflect back on their three wins over the Red Wings in the second half of the season -- including an 8-2 drubbing in Detroit on March 7 -- as a telltale sign of relative success.

Finally according to Sports Club Stats the Jackets have a 99.2% chance of making the playoffs.


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