directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: One last chance

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

One last chance

Just a quick post as I'm gearing up to head on down to the arena.

It's the final game of the presason (finally!) and the final chance for some players to make that last push to secure a spot in this lineup.

Here are the bubble guys expected to play tonight:

Alexandre Picard - he's had a solid camp. His motor has probably run the highest of any Jacket not name Dorsett and he has a couple of helpers. The thing is is that he's noticeable everytime he's on the ice and that is what you want out of your energy players.

Derek MacKenzie - you know what you get out of this 27 year center and that is a solid effort every single shift and a dependable 2-way game. He's one of those "tweeners" who just doesn't have that little extra to push him into an NHL lineup full time. That said MacKenzie has had a great camp notching a couple of goals and he'll get one final chance to make an impression tonight. Regardless of the outcome he's only an injury or two away from the NHL.

Nikita Filatov - lot's of chatter about folks not being happy with his preseason. I've even read some folks already wanting to trade him and to that I say patience grasshoppers. Nobody is untradeable but we have to give this 19 year old some time to adjust here.

For me I think the kid is trying a little too hard to be what Hitch wants which is hurting his game and confidence. This guy will never be a banger or gritty type player - that isn't his game. Think Paul Kariya when you think Filatov. He does need to be responsible defensively and positionally sound however but players like this also need room to be creative. I have a long leash for Filatov and am lookin forward to seeing if he can build off, from what Hitch has said, was his best game last night.

Jared Boll - judging by the poll a lot of people think his spot is in jeopardy. I'm not one of those. This team needs a mix of skill, grit and character. Boll does a necessary job in this league that a lot of players quite frankly won't do. Yes Dorsett adds some of that game but DD isn't enough. Look for Boll and Dorsett to bookend that 4th line and I'd like to see Boll end this preseason with a solid outing.

Mathieu Roy - he's been gritty... real gritty. I don't have a whole lot to say abbot Roy b/c I have yet to see him live in a preseason game. He has racked up the PIMs and I expect a physical game out of him for this one. I don't think Roy has hurt himself in this preseason and is another guy who could quickly see time when injuries stack up on that blueline.

Martin Skoula - he's probably got more riding on this game that anyone. He did play last night for the first time as a Jacket and Hitch called him a "methodical, smart player." Whatever that means.

He's at a bit of an unfair advantage in that he's got a real short window to prove his worth which is why this game is so important for him. I'll be watching him closely.

Also interesting to note who is not in the lineup:

Matt Calvert - a tremendous camp all the way around for this 20 year old winger. I'm a little confused as to why this guy isn't signed to an entry level contract yet. Signing a contract doesn't change any of his options (i.e. AHL or Junior) so what's the holdup? Money is the only reason.

Grant Clitsome - has shown that he's on the cusp. He had a solid preseason and made a damn good case for that 7th spot. If I'm him I'm watching Skoula as closely as anyone as barring a trade next week he's the only thing standing in the way of him making this team.

John Moore - a little surprised he isn't playing but then I think that this is the final "dress rehearsal" for the Jackets regulars and it makes sense. Moore had a whale of a preseason and is further ahead than anyone could have anticipated. He'll be returned to junior but being a full time NHLer this time next year is very real possibility. He'll need to take confidence he's gained here and build off it in junior.

Mike Blunden - going to be real hard to keep him off the squad but unless injuries pile up or trades are made who could be a victim of the waiver wire. He made a great case for himself this preseason both as a wing and as a center. A little surprised he's not getting one last look which could mean he's already got a spot sewn thus they are using it to evaluate other "bubble" guys.

If you really want to go conspiracy maybe he's on the block and they don't want him hurt. That is really reachin though.

Interesing to note that Nashville has only played in 5 preseason games and have gone 3-2 notching 18 goals for and 14 against.

The Jackets on the other hand have played 7 games and went 4-2-1 including 4 straight wins. They have scored a whopping 26 goals for and gave up 20 against.

Let's see if the Jackets can make it 5 in a row and really roll into the first regular season game!

See at the rink!




eplagge said...

LTL, fellow readers...

I am getting confused, we need a Offensive Defenseman and we bring in Skoula on a pro try-out. Watching 1 game and listening to the other my impression is that he's an Defensive defenseman who works well because of his hockey-sense and experience.. overall a solid 2nd maybe 3rd liner. We wouldn't sign this guy for the 7th man role, would we?? Guys like Roy are made for that job, you let clitsome play and develop while Roy sits in the press box waiting to be called up... But why Skoula ?? Is there interest in Method or Klesla ?? What are you guys thinking ??

I just think the Skoula try-out so last moment is curious to begin with, and especially since Skoula is a player which we already have plenty of. I would be shocked if he gets signed for the 7th Dman job...

Max said...

I don't think they'll sign Skoula. He really only scored when he was with Colorado back when they had an impressive team. Personally I like Clitsome as the 7th D, or even Roy. These guys have shown that they can handle themselves fairly well. And Clisome's even thrown in some O!!!

Moore needs to play in Junior this year, no doubt in my mind. Just one year to go light up Junior, then next year maybe start off in the 'cuse. After that, pencil him in the CBJ lineup. Ideally, I'd have him sit in Syracuse all year, but since the Jackets need his skills badly, he'll be with the big club next year.

eplagge said...

Agreed, I think we should let Clitsome and Moore develop for 1 more year. However I do believe they could be full time NHL members as soon as next year, I think Calvert might be as well.. It's good to know we have depth, really good to know.. The rookies looked good this year.

But Skoula is still a mystery to me, they didn't bring him in unless there was a fair chance they would sign him. Especially since they intend to cut the roster down to the final roster either Monday or Tuesday. This makes me wonder if they have something else lined up on the backburner.. I know I am a conspiracy theorist but something isn't smelling right.. (usually my conspiracy sensor is pretty accurate, especially with such a precise and methodical GM such as Howsen, everything has a reason..).. Think about it, we have enough Defensive Defenseman at both NHL and AHL level that could fill our needs, even in case of injury.. adding another one seems a bit much... I guess chances are he's going to get cut either today or tomorrow..

LTL said...

I think the idea with Skoula is to just have a 7th d-man with real NHL experience they can lean on in tough times. They won't care about his development or that he sits in the press box -- they just care that if they run into a stretch of injuries they can plug in a body who knows his way around the league.

I'd give it about a 50/50 shot of them signing him. I think they may wait and see what comes across the wire before committing.

Like you guys I definitely don't want Clitsome sitting in a press box - this guy needs to continue to play and play alot b/c he just continues to get better and better.. the Jackets will need to take advantage of the fact that he doesn't have to pass through waivers yet and just call him up when you need to play him.

Working on a stoplight game review now and will have some more thoughts on Skoula.