1a. The loss (the 16th in the last 18) drops the CBJ to 14-17-7 - still holding at 35 points.
1b. Per Twitter's LeeAuer:
14-17-7 for 35 pts in 38 gms. Must now go 28-15-1 for 57 pts in 44 gms to reach 92 points and hopefully put #CBJ in the post season1c. Here are the highlights:
2. The lone goal of the night came from captain Rick Nash, his 19th of the season. Nash is currently 10th in the NHL in goals and 25th in the league in total points (19G-16A-36pts).
3. I missed watching the first period on television due to driving home from a family Christmas-related day trip, but I caught the Dallas feed of the game on XM Home Ice.
3a. The radio broadcast was simply a simulcast of the Fox Sports Southwest guys, Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh. I really like Daryl Reaugh. I heard a rumor that Columbus was going to make a play for his analyst services last offseason - we could have only been so lucky.
3b. Reaugh had the commentary of the game, something to the extent of, "The Blue Jackets have a buildup of mental cholesterol." Not exactly sure what that means, but it sounds unhealthy - but correctable. Like the Jackets' current decent into suck.
3c. With all the griping about announcers on Fox Sports Ohio, why not try a version of the simulcast that they do in Dallas - except with George Matthews calling the game. Having him on TV would be awesome - I might be able to understand what he's talking about! Also, what George lacks in clarity, he more than makes up for in enthusiasm. We would have some ROCKING telecasts - even with a losing streak of biblical proportions.
3d. As for color guys, I really prefer Bob McElligott to Bill Davidge but would accept either if George called the game.
4. 97.1 The Fan's Lori Schmidt points out this solid self-analysis by Ken Hitchcock of the Jackets woes from ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.
4a. The quote of the article has to be this: "This is my first time as a coach that I've had a defensive record like this," said Hitchcock, the strain in his voice coming across clearly over the phone line. "I would say that this is a new experience for me. I've learned more in the last month than I have probably in the last five years. The challenge for us is which way do we dig out of this. I'm a big believer in checking your way out of it. That has to be our focus right now."
4b. That Hitch is treating this as a new experience - because he's never dealt with it before - makes me run for the Tums. If you can't teach an old dog new tricks, what happens when the old tricks don't work?
4c. If you have no functioning defense, is it really wise to promote checking as a means to win games? How about, oh - I dunno - pushing the puck up the ice and keeping it in the offensive zone as a means to lighten the load on the defense?
4d. I feel genuinely sorry for Hitch right now. Sure, he's a great coach, but his demeanor and words suggest he's struggling REAL hard with this streak.
5. Stralman was out with the flu, and Huselius and Methot have the bug but played. A biblically large losing streak is not a good time to have this happen. If there ever was a good time, I mean.
5a. Huselius' lackluster defense gets a mulligan due to the flu. But he HAS to get better. His screw-ups are leading to goals for the other teams.
6. I think that the arena in Dallas looks gorgeous. Mrs. DBJ thinks it looks like an airplane hangar. I won't disagree, and it's probably fitting considering American Airlines is underwriting it.
7. Mike Commodore took a skate to the face in this game. Luckily, he only needed a few stitches and returned to play. That's dedication.
7a. Such an injury easily could have been devastatingly bad for Mike. Thank God it was nothing worse.
7b. Oh, and Mike? Wear some face protection.
7c. I know that the plexiglass face shields let you see the players faces better - and probably provide a better range of vision - but, if I ever choose to play hockey, you know I'll be wearing a full wire face shield.
8.As the 3rd period wore on, with Stralman out and Commodore getting field surgery performed, I watched with increasing dread the minutes pile up on Fedor Tyutin's shoulders. By the time the 60 minutes were up, Tyutin was on the ice for 27:15 of them. That's almost half the game. For one player. If that doesn't tell you how razor-thin the Jackets are on quality defensive play, nothing will.
8a. Well, perhaps this will too. Marc Methot had only 10:09 while Tyutin more than doubled his minutes. Someone, please get Methot a ticket to Syracuse. He's not a bad player over the long haul, but he's clearly not NHL-ready right now.
8b. Speaking of Syracuse, Crunch callup Mathieu Roy played 21:06. Guess Hitch likes him. Think he's here to stay for a while?
8c. With Rusty Klesla out for a long time (I would think we should be fortunate to have him return after the Olympics), Hejda (21:17 TOI) only now rounding back into form, Commodore playing poorly this year and Stralman fighting a bug, I think it just MIGHT be time for Scott Howson to put the full-court press on a trade for a Top 4 defenseman. (Note: He might be on the case already, if rumors are to be believed.)
9. Steve Mason wasn't horrible last night in stopping 25 of 28. Not good enough to win, granted, but not horrible.
9a. I'm glad that Garon gets the next start.
10. That NHL-labelled cheap shot artist James Neal got 2 goals and was named the first star of the night makes my skin crawl.
NEXT UP: The NHL is shut down for Christmas Eve and Christmas day, and the Jackets will resurface on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena to take on the struggling Detroit Red Wings (18-14-5, 41 pts., $59.551 salary cap hit, Financial Acuity Index score of -7). How often do the words "struggling" and "Detroit Red Wings" go together? (Let's live it up!) I'll be tied up in family duties, so Skye (Twitter's magicoilyoctopi) will actually be at the game and will offer 10 Thoughts from her road trip to Motown.
No photos today - Gotta get back to Christmas stuff. The Dark Blue Onesie demands no less!
Merry Christmas, everyone!!