Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Game 81/Detroit: My take

There's two schools of thought on the Columbus Blue Jackets right now.  One is play for pride and hope that a couple of wins to close the season provides momentum going into next season.  The other is to mail it in and ensure a spot in the draft lottery.

It seems as if the Jackets are doing both at the same time.  They're playing hard - as hard as a team with something like 40-50% AHL call-ups can play - but still coming up short.  And last night, with wins by the Islanders and Hurricanes, the Jackets quietly slipped into 26th place in the league-wide standings, giving them a slight chance to grab the first overall pick in next Tuesday night's draft lottery.  Such dumb luck would almost make this incredibly frustrating season worthwhile.  Almost.

As for the game, the Nash-less Jackets really did put up a decent fight.
I gather that Mike Babcock was supposed to be limiting the minutes on his stars in anticipation of a long playoff run, but I sure saw the likes of Zetterberg (20:34), Datsyuk (18:42), Lidstrom (21:03), Rafalski (21:30), etc. on the ice a fair bit.  That being said, the game felt nothing like last week's Detroit game.  In that game, it seemed as if the Jackets were lucky to be in the game at all.  Tonight, they were competing just as hard as the Red Wings - well, for most of the game.

The third period meltdown was frustration in a bottle.  In less than a minute and a half, the Red Wings capitalized on two Jackets penalties and dropped three goals on the Jackets to go from 2-1 down to up, 4-2. Mike Blunden tried to atone for his earlier penalty with a highlight reel goal that Alexander Ovechkin would admire, but that only got the Jackets to 4-3.  Gosh, it was sweet...

And while we're on video, I can't help but laugh at Patrick Eaves, who ran away from Derek "Tazmanian Devil" Dorsett and chose to pick a fight with our 12-year-old, 46 pound bruiser, Kris Russell...

And that's that.  Another mixed blessing of a game...the Boys in Union Blue fought hard, made some critical mistakes and lost.  In the process, they further cemented their seat at the table for the NHL Draft Lottery on Tuesday.  

Is that good?  Bad?  Heck, I dunno...but it's not the playoffs.   

1 comment:

  1. I've grown somewhat distastful of LTL's "losing is winning" speeches over the last month. However, it has served as a silver lining in these close-but-no-cigar games, so I suppose I should temper my feelings somewhat. That being said, unless all this losing translates somehow into a top 3 pick what good will it have done?
    I honestly don't think the Jackets are further away than a couple of top 6 d-men (1 of which needs to be a top-liner). Filatov is the ultimate wild-card in all of this, since he makes one of our top 6 forwards tradeable should he return. But I don't see Howson making that move in the off-season before anyone knows what they're getting (the CBJ or their trading partner).
    I'm personally expecting another bland but sensible trading/drafting strategy this summer. I will still hold out hope that a big aquisition is in the cards but mostly I would just like the team to settle the arena situation.


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