Friday, November 6, 2009

10 Thoughts about Game 15: Atlanta

1. Before their hair could dry from the postgame shower following a shootout loss to San Jose, the Columbus Blue Jackets were on a plane to Atlanta for a game the following day with the Thrashers.  They played a reasonably stout first two periods, leading 2-0 after 1 and 4-2 after 2.  The third period appeared to witness a loss in energy across the team, but the Jackets held on, winning 4-3 in regulation. Highlights follow:

1a. With Chicago's loss to Phoenix tonight, the Jackets and their 18 points assume first place in the Central Division.  No word yet if Hell did indeed freeze over, but we're efforting to get a confirmation on that.

2. This is going to be a tough 10 Thoughts.  I had family in town and did not get to watch as much as I'd like.  I did catch some of the 2nd and most of the 3rd period, though, so I'm not totally uninformed.

3. Mathieu Garon got the start on the back end of the 2 games/2 nights stretch.  He stopped 32 of 35 and offered a very solid performance.  Two of the three Atlanta goals were on the power play, which makes Garon's performance that much stronger in my opinion.

3a.  I need to do some legwork to see if Garon's on track to start the 25-30 games that coach Ken Hitchcock suggested at the beginning of the season.  I think he is going to be challenged in getting to 25 games...

Raffi Torres dropped two goals on the Thrashers and further cemented his place on the CBJ roster.  With 8 goals on the season thus far, Torres is second only to captain Rick Nash and his 10 goals.

4a.  Raffi plays tough, night in and night out.  He gets in close to the net for most of his shots.  He hits hard, doesn't back down from anyone and just plain makes things happen.

4b.  I did it again...when I saw Raffi score, I thought to myself, "This game is over."  Raffi scores, Jackets win.  

4c. Did I hear correctly that Raffi is a free agent after the end of the season?  I guess that Scott Howson needs to get to work!

5. Not hearing much of the television broadcast, I don't have a ton to say about Fox Sports Ohio's performance.  Other than my wife heard Bill Davidge say "resiliency."  She did not hesitate to remind me that "resiliency" is not a word.

5a. I did get a chance to listen to the radio guys for a few minutes and was again impressed with Bob McElligcott.  I tuned in during the middle of the 3rd, and Bob Mac suggested that the reason that the Jackets were getting all of the hooking penalties was because they were gassed and couldn't keep up in the Hitchcock-dreaded track meet.  Nice insight, something that made sense but not something that I immediately thought.  (Davidge or Rimer could have said the same thing, I wouldn't know.)

6. Derick Brassard popped in a goal with an injured hand.  He's one tough hombre.

7. Jake Voracek might not be Jaromir Jagr, but he did drop a goal on his buddy from Czechoslovakia.  (Great Puck Rakers blog entry, definitely worth a read if you haven't seen it yet.)

8. WOW - Jan Hejda returns from injury to anchor the defense and no one on the CBJ logged over 18:30 of ice time for the game...and that was Hejda!  Fedor Tyutin was pulling over 20 minutes a night when Hejda was out.  This spreading out of minutes bodes very well for the long, long season.

9.  Derek Dorsett was injured during the game.  Not sure what happened, or what his condition is.  Gosh, I'd hate to lose that firecracker from the lineup.

10. The attendance in Atlanta may have been as bad as in Denver the other night.  Announced attendance was 10,878, and the Avs announced 11,012.  Methinks that near-empty sections of seats makes for a franchise with real problems.  The Jackets may have financial issues, but at least their attendance is up 13 percent over last year.

Next up, the Carolina Hurricanes blow into Masonwide.  (Bet they've heard that joke before!)  Fox Sports Ohio goes "All Access" and hopefully will explain how they can show John Michael and Raffi Torres on camera at the same time.  CGI wizardry?

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