directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Mixed bag

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mixed bag

This game was all over the map. There were a lot of good and bad moments for a lot of players out there in this one.

If you liked goals then you liked this game. If you like air tight defense and great goaltending then this wasn't for you.

Jackets vs. Bruins
CBJ 6 Bruins 5 (SO)

* Picard & Blunden. Both clearly want NHL jobs and are busting their asses to do everything they can to make the team. I loved the way both guys competed in this game both with and without the puck. Yeah they dropped the gloves but they also seemed to be in every battle/scrum/trash talking scene out there. Blunden led all Jackets with 6 shots and 6 hits. Picard had 0 shots and 5 hits. Both played over 14 minutes so they are getting long looks.

* 5 goals is a great night offensively with two of those of the PP variety. Anytime you can throw up 5 goals your offense is doing something right.. granted it was against the B's backup goalie and against a Chara-less defense.

* John Moore continues to impress. Just some outstanding vision and quick puck movement from #49 (still getting used to someone other than Fritsche in that #). No doubt that his skating is world class. He also took a couple of big league hits. It's still early of course but I've seen enough to wonder what the other 20 teams who passed on him the NHL Draft are thinkin right about now?

* Dorsett got on the score sheet with a helper but it's his continued willingness to do the dirty work in the corners and in front of the cage that get me. This guy is the definition of a competitor and I love to see his motor running night in and night out like it does. He's the kind who will do whatever it takes to win. .... and how about that fight w/ Stuart?

* 58% in the faceoff circle with Vermette leading the way going 12 for 20 (60%).

* Best game I've seen out of Boll in quite some time. Had some nice breakout passes in this own end.. thought he was skating hard, making smart plays and generally being a pain in the butt to play against. A bit surprised he didn't drop them with Thornton which makes me wonder if he did hurt his hand last game.

* Voracek with a 3 point night was great to see. Funny thing is is that I thought he was fighting the puck some in this game. Overall though he just oozes more confidence this season... he knows he belongs and he knows he can contribute to the team's success. He's picking right up where he left off in the playoffs last year.

*Looks like we have some shooters for the shootout this year. Vermette and Filatov goals were beauties and then Voracek hit the crossbar.

* You see the flashes with Filatov. He had a great backhand pass to set up Vermette's goal but then he also failed to get a puck out that led directly to a goal against. He showed that outside speed and quick hands but he also took a couple of big "welcome to the NHL" hits. He's going to need to find that balance between physical play and surviving out there. All will come with experience.

* Game Ops had some decent music again but seemed to trail off on the replays tonight. Last game we had them after fights and calls where as for this one there were a couple after fights early and then they just stopped. I can't stress enough how those keep fans engaged with what is going on on the ice. I'd love to see more of the hits that happen as well.

* Russell had one of those good plays/bad plays night. He was moving his feet pretty well and getting involved in the play. He led all Jacket players with over 24 minutes played.. he had a bad turnover that led to a goal by Thornton.. the good news is he responded with a goal of his own and also collected an assist. Need to continue to work on winning those battles down low with the bigger NHL forwards.

* Solid game out of Calvert. He took care of both ends of the ice and registered a goal and assist. I expect him to eventually be returned to junior but this kid has got NHL game.

* Who else didn't want to see Boychuk and Sobotka get plastered on the Nationwide ice? There were pests all night. Luckily Picard and Dorsett got in some nice shots.

* We counted 12 people cleaning the ice at once. 6 on each side. Hell that's enough to ice two teams. As I said to a buddy, if you're wondering why Howson didn't have enough dough to land a d-man we now know ;)

* If you like physical then you probably liked this one as the Bruins and Jackets traded blows all night long. B's with 30 hits while the CBJ registered 35. Good physical game on both sides.

* I love Hejda for the role he plays but wow.. that shot of his is like mine.... weak!

* Pahlsson was so-so. Had some nice defensive plays but was pretty non-existent in the offensive end of the ice. I know his primary role is a checking center but I expect some offensive contribution.

* Overall I thought the Jackets played a solid game against a good opponent who dressed a lot of their regulars. Defensively they had some trouble handling the B's big forwards down low and got caught running around a little... but I thought they regrouped well most of the time and controlled more of the game.

* Crowd wasn't great but looked better than the previous night. They definitely weren't as loud though.

* The Star Wars: In Concert preview was definitely a change of pace from other intermissions which was refreshing. At $75 for a lower bowl seat that is quite a chunk to use the force.

* Sigalet had a few nice rushes up ice and did a pretty good job keeping guys to the outside. Still just not a whole lot of "wow" factor in his game at this level. For a guy who is in the mix for that 7th dman I'd like to see more.

* Mayorov struggled... I mean really bad. He looked out of gas from the get-go (Giant Eagle yo!)... Not sure if it was because he spent everything he had the night before or if he had some bad chicken at his pre-game meal but his game was a mess. It's easy for me to say but to make to the bigs you've got to learn to be consistent game in and game out and find a way to compete on the back end of a back to back.

* Just a bad bad night for Garon. He wasn't tracking the back hand shots at all.. gave up some juicy rebounds and didn't make the stops he should. He looked rattled early and was never able to shake it off. He's a vet who knows how to shake off bad games. He did stop the shot that counted in the shootout however.

* Can't pin it all on Garon though... the Jackets were guilty of some sloppy uninspired play in their own zones at times.

* Clitsome a -3. I didn't think he was bad but definitely not as good as the game before. A victim of circumstance (i.e. bad timing and goaltending) on some of those minuses.

1. Voracek with a 3 points night.
2. Love the pesky play of Picard, Blunden, Dorsett and Boll.
3. Shootout win.

At the end of the night the Jackets got a win and can take some positives out of this game. I think there will be a lot of video review for some of these players today at camp however.

Another really good challenge with Pitt up next tomorrow night! I expect a NHL regular heavy lineup to be iced.



JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

Sorry, LTL -- gotta go toe-to-toe with you on a couple of points.

Boll -- showed me nothing. He skated around and hit people, for no apparent reason other than to do it. He took about 5 shots from any distance, and came close to the net on zero. His 2 shots were attempted stuffs that went into the goalie's pads. His skating is really exposed in a game like this, when contrasted with the other youngsters. Did not seem aware of the play most of the night.

Mayorov -- Couldn't disagree more here. He was moving all night, and and kept the puck in play and in possession. He did some good work on the boards, and made some nice feeds. He was a bit victimized by the inability of his line mates to get him the puck in open ice. Though he may not have made the scoresheet, he did a lot of the little things well.

Frankly, I think Boll's spot is in serious jeopardy. He does not approach the skill level of any of the young wingers still on the roster, nor does he skate that well. He is not even a terribly good fighter.

Agree to disagree -- the important thing is that hockey is back!


Fire The Cannon
Inside Hockey

CBJ_Nut said...

Well, I tend to agree with LTL that Boll showed some nice, crisp, and accurate passes last night. But, he looks so sloooooowwwwww out there compared to most of the other youngsters. His role seemed to change last year, now with more emphasis on, well, the game of hockey rather than "pinball". But, he needs to show something more than he has been in this regard this preseason or he could be packing his bags for Syracus or ?, ISTM.

LTL said...

I'm always up for a good debate JAL.

We'll definitley have to agree to disagree on Mayorov as I thought he was drained last night.

As for Boll -- I got 5 beers that he isn't going anywhere. Why you may ask? Who fills his role when he leaves? Picard, Dorsett, Blunden? Those guys can't handle the middle to heavey role. They are lights to middles at best.

Remember Boll is the one who made Shelley expendable and god love Shelley but Boll has 10X the hockey skills that he had yet he still has a job. There just isn't anyone in the system right now threatening Boll's role. Sestito could be that guy but he isn't there yet.

Outside of Detroit (who is the exception and not the rule) teams still need to fill that enforcer/agitator role in the *regular season* which is how I evaluate his game -- not as a skill player who is supposed to score goals and create offense everytime he's out there.

Boll is a comparable player to guys like Stortini, Thornton, Neil, Carcillo, Rupp, Asham, Laperriere and Barch.

Boll's PIMs and points line up with all of those guys.

Those guys are all still valued commodoties thoughout the NHL which is why they have jobs. None are great skaters.. none are great shooters or playmakers... what they are great at is policing the ice and making sure the guys with skill have room and confidence to operate. They have good enough hockey skills to not be a liability out there.

I look for energy, I look for physical play like a momentum changing hit or fight, I look for trash talking/getting under the skin and of course I look for him to make good smart hockey plays.. i.e. don't hurt your team. Any offense he creates as a 4th liner is all a bonus.

Do I want him to get better in the hockey skills department..? Of course. However he knows what his role is and again that is how I evaluate him. knock the guy b/c two of his shots were right in front of the net as stuffs... well, I don't agree. In fact that is exactly where I want him.. in front of the net causing chaos and looking for the dirty goals.

You also talk about his 4 missed shots.. well what about Filatov's 3 missed shots? Isn't he the skill guy who should be hitting the net?

It's apples/oranges. I'd rather him hit the net but given his role and skill level it's a different set of expectations - at least for me.

Believe me if Howson wanted to unload Boll (which again I think is highly unlikely) he wouldn't have a problem doing so.

Until fighting is banned there will also be room for guys like Boll in this league.

Now if you want to debate a player like Boll's role in the playoffs vs. the regular season then I think we'll agree pretty quickly.

I think I have a new poll question though! Let's see what everyone else out there thinks.


JAL said...
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JAL said...

You make good points, LTL. A couple in rebuttal:

These are different times than when Boll came up and replaced Shelley. Then, we did not have legions of young, talented forwards ready to take their spots. Now, we have some really gifted young players who are not going to make the squad. We don't need to compromise on talent to get grit anymore.

I'll use just one example -- who do you put on your team -- Boll or Picard?? This pre-season, Picard has equalled or exceeded Boll in hitting and energy, has shown he can hold his own in a tussle, and there is no match in talent.

While you can't account fully for injuries or trade possibilities, here is what your opening night lineup could easily look like:

Nash -- Brassard -- Huselius
Voracek -- Vermette -- Filatov
Torres -- Pahlsson -- Umberger
Chimera -- Murray -- Picard

Last night, Hitch indicated that Filatov could move up or down in the lines, depending on opponent, and Umberger and Voracek could move back and forth.

Of course, you have Modin in the wings when and if he gets healthy, plus Dorsett, Mayorov, Blunden, Sestito -- all of whom I would take over Boll.

Sorry, just don't see Boller making the cut, absent a multi-player trade.

I've been wrong before, and we are all speculating, anyway. But I'll stick to my guns for the time being!


LTL said...

Fair enough JAL. By the poll responses I appear to be in the minority.

We'll see how it all shakes out.