Monday, December 28, 2009

8 Thoughts from Skye about Game 39: Detroit

[As I mentioned, I was tied up with holiday and family obligations all weekend.  I received some bad information about Game 39, but luckily Skye (Twitter's @magicoilyoctopi) was present in Detroit and offers this first person recap for you.  Thanks for Carrying The DBJ Flag for the weekend!]

1. Following the Christmas break, the Columbus Blue Jackets traveled to Hockeytown to take on the Detroit Red Wings. After scoring the first goal in the first period, the Jackets failed to capitalize on any other chances, finally falling 2-1 to the struggling and injured Red Wings of this season.

1a. The Jackets fall to 14-18-7, still at 35 points and last in the Central division, and one point up on last place in the Western conference. 2-12-5 since November 19th.

1b. Here are the highlights for the night, per and NHL TV:

2. The Jackets came out of the gates seemingly in good spirits, with several good chances; Jimmy Howard made some nice saves to stop a few of those chances. At 12:10 of the first period, Antoine Vermette buried a rebound from a Jakub Voracek shot for the first goal of the game, and the second game in a row where the Jackets have scored first. It was Vermette's 11th goal of the year and his 29th point.

2a. Mathieu Garon played a good game, making 25 saves, some of them very key. The score could have easily been far worse than it turned out to be. There was one save that rang off his cage, leaving him a little dazed and causing there to be a stoppage in play as they inspected his mask to make sure that it was still functional.

2b. Speaking of saves and people being goalies, what about that save by Darren Helm?

I stared, ready to jump up and cheer as I watched the puck go into the net... Only to hear the deafening roar of the Detroit faithful as Helm proceeded to bat at the puck with his stick as he sprawled behind goalie Jimmy Howard and then swatted it out of midair, saving a sure Blue Jackets goal. I stared in open-mouthed horror, then turned to my friend, tapped my beer against hers and took a long drink. I will drink to you, Darren Helm, because that was one of the best plays I have had the fortune (or misfortune, depending on which side you take here) to witness.

3. I was fortunate enough to view this game in person at Joe Louis Arena (thanks to a friend who was kind enough to share her tickets with me). The atmosphere was unlike anything I've experienced at a hockey game before. Charged, passionate, and fiercely loyal enough to job anyone who just so happened to be wearing a Sergei Fedorov jersey. (No that wasn't me, not at all.) It was a far cry from my games attended while living in Atlanta, and while Columbus loves their team, it was just far different in an Original Six team city. There's a history there that just cannot be described in words.

4. A post on Puck-Rakers is interesting on many levels. First off, GMSH is apparently talking to 'several clubs' to try to lift the Jackets out of their current struggles, which, as Tom Reed kindly points out, is the worst stretch in franchise history.

4a. Secondly, the Picard call up. Anyone who knows me knows I hold no love for Picard. Reed does more than insinuate that it will do no good to pull a third or fourth liner out for Picard to be inserted into the lineup, it should be a bigger name to send a message.

b. My vote is on Kristian Huselius. Whether he has had the flu recently or not, he has not played up to the level of which he is expected. He made several mistakes throughout the game and was not moving and hustling to the level that he needed to be against a high caliber team such as Detroit, even a injury riddled team (missing 8 regulars out of their line-up, Valtteri Filppula played his first game back since breaking his hand almost two months ago) as they are these days.

4c. Thirdly, undisclosed injury for Umberger, but in a previous post, it was said that GMSH expected him to play Monday night versus Detroit in Columbus. We shall see I suppose.

5. What has gotten into Todd Bertuzzi lately? He scored his 11th and 12th goals of the season last night, after only having been predicted to score 15 on the year. The first was at 6:38 of the second period, the second at 2:44 of the third, sealing the Wings' 19th win of the season.

6. And the goalie merry-go-round continues. Steve Mason will start on Monday as the Wings travel to C-bus.

6a. While I believe that the philosophy of whatever goalie wins should start the next game should have been in use all season (it was so frustrating whenever Garon would win a game or two and then with seemingly no reason, Mason would be back in net and we would lose), I feel now that this is not the solution to whatever the problem is. The goalies aren't playing that badly in the big picture of things. When you are lacking offense -- and a consistent defense -- it doesn't matter what you do with the goalie, you're still going to struggle.

7. Kind of going back to number three, the building of JLA itself may not be the prettiest thing in the world or the newest building, but I loved going there. I know people rag on it for being such an old building but I think that's why I liked it so much. There was so much history in the building that it was just absolutely magnetic to me.

8. Next game is yet again against Detroit, in Columbus on Monday night at 7 PM. I'll be at a bar watching while still in Michigan. Maybe I'll forgo the Fedorov jersey this time and go with the Zherdev one. Anything for a little mojo here, boys. Carry the flag, let's go Jackets!

Also here's the picture of @kirsij and I with the flag, with a bonus of being IN Hockeytown Cafe. Here you go:

Hahah. Sorry I couldn't make it to ten, I didn't want to start just making up crap that didn't go with the rest of it hahaha. Thanks for letting me stand in though, it was a lot of fun! (Reminds me why I don't blog anymore though, haha, oh so much research.)

[Game images from Yahoo! NHL.]


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