Sunday, October 11, 2009

10 Thoughts about Game 4: Phoenix

1. I was genuinely concerned about this game. Phoenix had been playing decently, it was the Dogs' home opener, insanely cheap seats ($25 for the lower bowl, $15 for the upper bowl) in a desperate attempt to squeeze a sellout crowd out of an apathetic metro Phoenix and a whiteout with t-shirts and pom poms. OK, the poms don't scare me...but the hype factor of all of the above made me this that this was a trap game. That the Columbus Blue Jackets won, 2-0, is really impressive. The odds were not in their favor.

2. Rick Nash's second goal of the year was beautiful. Brassard, on the rush, drops it to Huselius who zips it over to The Captain, who was parked perfectly at the edge of the goal crease. It was smooth like butter. Great to see the first line work so well...and, I presume, a huge confidence boost for Derick Brassard.

3. Backup goalie Mathieu Garon got the shutout. Is it because the Coyotes are not as good as advertised (possibly), because the Blue Jackets' defense was inspired to play tough after the San Jose loss (probably), because Garon is pretty good (appears so) or because the Hitchcock system of hockey seems to produce a greater propensity of shutouts - regardless of the goalie?

3a. Considering the thought about the Hitchcock system, I'm glad that Garon is on the roster. If Mason comes back to earth, the Blue Jackets will need a firewall.

3b. OK, Mase's performance in the San Jose game raised my eyebrow.  I'm nowhere close to off the Masonwide bandwagon, but Garon's presence is SO reassuring...

4. Are lots of penalties OK when your team plays with a little more passion than the previous game? I'm inclined to say yes, as long as the penalty kill is solid.

5. Speaking of, the penalty kill was out of sight. Killing two 5-on-3's and a four-minute double minor...and not just killing them but making the Phoenix power play look like the keystone kops...that takes some discipline and skill.

6. Anton Stralman needs to work on his defense. That's kind of important for a defenseman. I still like his shot, though.

7. Marc Methot is getting spunky. I suggest that Derek Dorsett is rubbing off on him. That's not a bad thing, as we need some more attitude on the blue line. Mike Commodore can't carry the entire load on that front.

8. 3 road games in a row, 4 points accumulated. I think that just about anyone would consider that a successful west coast swing.

9. This is a celebration-worthy win, but don't party too long, Jackets. Conference-leading Calgary is coming to down on Tuesday night. This shapes up as a key early-season game for the Blue Jackets...a CBJ win will do wonders for the team's confidence.

10. OK, the pom poms were silly.

Here are the highlights:

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