Wednesday, October 14, 2009

10 Thoughts about Game 5: Calgary

1. Let's start by closing the loop on yesterday's fear and loathing post. Calgary looked OK, but they didn't have guns-a-blazing. The CBJ looked remarkably composed for such a big game. The 2-1 score was indicative of both teams' games. Calgary had a little juice, but the Blue Jackets had a little more.

2. Tough game. Lots of hard checks and scrums in/around the crease. It was indeed a weighty game.

2a. Not having Commodore in the lineup was a major hurdle to overcome...and the Jackets did.

3. I still like Stralman's shot. He comes across as such a cool character out there, and the power play has settled down, too. Coincidence?

4. Mason, Mason, Mason....hmmmmm. I knew that I shouldn't have watched the NHL Network's highlight package and commentary before offering my thoughts. Larry Murphy and Kevin Weekes thought that Mason was great when he needed to be (only 22 shots by Calgary), making specific reference to his ability to control rebounds. As I was watching last night, I was concerned about just that -- rebound control. My heart also palpitates with his puck-handling, even moreso outside the crease. (OK, his dump up the middle against St. Louis last year is still in my mind...) But the NHL Network analysts like him - Murphy's a legend to me, and Weekes is a recently-retired goalie. What do I know? Am I going too hard on Mase?

5. Methot and Dorsett are 100% pure awesome. Grit and sandpaper at both ends of the ice. Dorsett on the checking line was another genius move by Hitch. No other Jacket gets in the craw of the opposition like Dorsett.

6. The officiating was not the best. That's putting it lightly. The disallowed goal by Vermette when Kiprusoff clearly didn't have possession of the puck (yet got the official's whistle) was unexcusable. The Methot goal in the first...well...more on that later. At least Calgary got ragged treatment, too; the refs were equal opportunity offenders.

7. The Rogers Sports Net (Calgary Flames) feed on Center Ice was interesting. Highlight: Showing Darryl Sutter flinching when the cannon fired after the second CBJ goal. Odd sideshow: seeing former CBJ boss-man Doug MacLean on the intermission show, taking credit for all the good personnel moves that the CBJ has ever had.

7a. On Dougie Mac: I didn't see much of him in Columbus as I haven't been in town since the start of the franchise, but he comes across to me as a sad man. He clearly loves the game of hockey, so much that he'll do intermission commentary on RSN just to stay involved (and pay bills). But he had his shot a literally running a franchise and, by most accounts, failed. Now he can't land a job. The guy even put down his spears against Jim Balsillie and signed on as Jim's GM if the Coyotes went to Hamilton. So now he's on the outside, and his CBJ performance was so lackluster (and Howson's cleanup job so good by comparison) that he's probably not coming back in any time soon. As I said, sad.

8. Losing Jan Hejda for 4-6 weeks to a sprained knee is not good.  Not good at all.  Get well soon, Jan!  We need you!

9. Jared Boll...just over 7 minutes of ice time, and a needless fight that negated the Marc Methot goal. (And he lost the fight, too, looking none too good out there.) Is there no one who could better fill that roster spot? And what's with Hitchcock praising Boll, saying that they've stopped trying to coach him and just turned him loose? Maybe they're just polishing him up for a trade like they did with Zherdev?  A guy can dream, right?

10. Oops, can't offer a 10th thought. The whistle already blew.

Next up, home against the red-hot LA Kings on Saturday night! Pack the house, Jackets fans!

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