Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our bubble boys can beat Minnesota's starters

Let's get the personal stuff out of the way - this was the first actual game to which I brought the Dark Blue Toddler.  Luckily, the tickets were dirt cheap and the section (209) was pretty much empty above us in row J, so he was able to munch on Cheerios, drink milk, crawl around the (widow-maker) stairs and run back and forth across the aisles.  Oh, and eat my fries.  He lasted almost two entire periods, not bad for a 16-month-old.

And, once we bailed out, the Columbus Blue Jackets started scoring.

A Jackets team made up of a small handful of starters and a whole bunch of players on the bubble won, 3-2 over a Minnesota Wild team that was comprised of their NHL-level lineup as they had made most all of their cuts already.  That's profound, something in which the CBJ can be pleased.  Or the Wild can be downright scared.  Take your pick.

Tom Sestito's closing argument as to why he should
make the Columbus Blue Jackets roster.
As I mentioned, I was chasing my son all over section 209, so my thoughts are admittedly incomplete and based largely upon quick glances as opposed to any detailed study of what I saw.  But here's my take:
  • The Blue Jackets looked really ragged, which stands to reason as the roster was assembled with green-handled scissors and scotch tape in order to accommodate all of the players sitting on the roster bubble.  This was a night of forced chemistry, of proving to the coaches and management that you can perform in this new, Scott Arniel puck possession system.
  • Alternatively, you can prove that you can offer other services to the team.  Mike Blunden and Tom Sestito ended up taking this route, getting in fights.  Blunden laid the beat down on his victim, and Sestito won in an impassioned decision.  By the way, Dark Blue Toddler enjoyed cheering with the fans over the fights...not that he understood what was going on.
  • There's not a lot you can tell about a team on "last chance night," so I'll keep my profound statements about the team and their adaption to this new system to a minimum.
  • John Moore gets around the ice pretty darned well.  He seems very comfortable out there.  I would not be surprised to see him sneak into a roster spot.
  • Chris Clark looked like the veteran that he is when on the ice.  He stuck to his position well, moved the puck ahead when necessary and played some ad hoc defense pretty darned well.  He's an expensive player, and perhaps somewhat redundant on the CBJ roster, but tonight he served as "glue" out there and held his shifts together.
  • Did Ethan Moreau really play tonight?  You wouldn't have known.
  • Seemed like the Jackets took a lot of penalties in comparison to the Wild.  I suppose it makes sense - the bubble players are pushing the limits to make the team.  I sure hope it stops once the roster settles down, though.
  • Tomas Kubalik was given a gift in playing on a line with Antoine Vermette and Kristian Huselius.  While he didn't get another hat trick, he made his presence known in a Tomas Holmstrom manner.  Oh - the radio guys LOVE Tomas Kubalik.
  • You'd think that the Minnesota Wild would have blanketed Nikita Filatov.  He only got his first NHL hat trick against the Wild, you know.  Maybe they did try to stifle him, but their efforts were marginally useful at best.  Filatov was pushing up the ice, pushing Wild players around, pretty much doing everything he wanted when not getting mugged.  That he got a power play goal and then one of the shootout goals does not surprise me.  
  • I'm amazed at how many CannonFest participants that I ran into tonight.  We're a serious hockey-watching bunch!
  • After a slow start with only 7 shots in the first period, the Jackets took 11 shots in the second and 12 in the third.  Not surprisingly, they scored in the second and third periods.  This hockey thing isn't rocket science: You shoot a lot, and some of the pucks go into the net.  
  • We won a shootout.  Quoting a Twitter line from tonight: "And I for one welcome our new shootout-winning overlords. "
  • Prediction: At least two and as many as four new players beyond Ethan Moreau will make the CBJ squad out of camp.  
That'll probably be my only preseason game in person, but I'll keep posting thoughts as they arise (and presuming that I can get the games online, on TV, or via Indian smoke signal.  

4 comments:

  1. We saw different games, DBJ; but I was with my adult wife, not a toddler! Blunden didn't throw a single punch and Sestito looks more dangerous in the picture than he did in the fight. Clark did nothing and Moreau was engaged and effective. I liked Kubalik and Wilson, not so high on Murray and Kolarik. All three young defenders - Moore, Holden, and Goloubef - looked competent, Stralman and Commie looked good, and Rusty looked rusty. Good work from Garon and a real lift from LeNeveu. The team was really pumped when he made the last save in the shootout. Me too!

    The games will be much more fun for you to attend as your son gets older and can sit still and focus. That's still a bit away, though, so hang in there!

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  2. Pete, you are a very fair man. I readily admit that I caught fragments of the game, and thus my impressions are incomplete.

    Thank God for comments - one person's perceptions are just that...ONE PERSON'S perceptions!

    (And, until then, I'll probably keep my live attendance at a minimum and spend time at home with the Fox Sports and Blue Jackets Radio Network guys. That way, I can let the youngster roam at will while catching more of the games! 6-game packs for every father of toddlers!)

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  3. The CBJ came out strong to start, but I wonder if their confidence faded when they didn't score a damn goal within the first 15? That's around about when things slowed down and guys came a little unglued.

    They had some beautiful chances on some wide open nets (as did the Wild) and watching Moore zig-zag a few times, there was a "wow" coming from my mouth and you could hear a few in the crowd around us. Clark did show up to play and played his game. I actually thought Moreau did pretty well--very noticible and was NOT taking any shit from the Wild, lots of jawing from our bench to theirs... :-)

    Big surprise was Nikatov's quickness to get back on D. Definitely making an effort.

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  4. Wally,
    Glad you mentioned Nikita's back checking. He pushed forward with pace, and backward with gumption. I am really liking his play.

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