Sunday, January 9, 2011

Game 42/Los Angeles: My Take

The Columbus Blue Jackets started off the second half of the 2010-11 campaign with a 6-4 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center.

I gave in to fatigue after the end of the second period - these 10:30PM starts are just brutal - so my catching up after waking up tells me that there may have actually been two games last night.

For the first half, the main highlight was wunderkind forward Matt Calvert's first goal.  While not exactly a Davidgian "Goal Scorer's Goal," it offers proof that keeping your nose for the puck yields benefits.  Wisdom for the entire squad from the mouths of babes...

Past that, there really was nothing meaningful to discuss.  The Kings - who themselves are reeling through a slump - pretty much had their way with the CBJ.  And Mathieu Garon proved that while he's a good backup goaltender, he can't carry the load with a couple "goals he'd like to have back."
And then there was this scene, indicative of the first two periods and something I had never seen before in a hockey game (thanks to Twitterer unclepg for the screen grab):

Goalie Mathieu Garon now knows what it's like for
a mouse to get caught in a mousetrap.  Will he sign up for PETA?
The third period, which I did not see, apparently saw the Blue Jackets wake up out of their multi-game slumber.  Rick Nash had a couple of goals, Fedor Tyutin had a goal (again, not the best defenseman for the system, but admirable in trying harder to fit in than most of the CBJ blueliners), and Nash apparently started getting abused be the Kings.  Coach Scott Arniel's blood started boiling over at the lack of referee protection of his player, and I gather that he offered a rant on the bench that would make Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau proud.

Arniel was still rolling through into his post-game media availability.  While he toned the language down (but not entirely down), he again let his feelings be known on the matter.  Click the link to watch the video.  (Side rant: Fox Sports Ohio, why will you not allow us bloggers to embed your video clips?  It's free advertising!)  

I've been increasingly concerned that Arniel's recent tactics of benching players and calling them on the carpet in the media was risking him losing the locker room - something that would pretty much kill the chances of getting the CBJ to the playoffs this year.  That he was willing to stand up for his players, so vocally and vociferously, speaks volumes both to the fans and the players.  To the fans, he's telling us that he's not giving up.  To the players, he's saying that he still has their backs.  Hopefully, the players understand that fact, making the "bad cop" behavior that much easier to swallow.

Lastly, general manager Scott Howson was interviewed by Fox Sports Ohio's Jeff Rimer in the first intermission.  Long story short: He's been busting his rear to make a trade but has nothing.  And that's not just for Mike Commodore, who was waived and likely will never play in Columbus again, but for anyone on the roster.  Surely, he can line up a trade - Rick Nash for a conditional 7th rounder could happen pretty quickly - but he has to use the trade process to improve the team...and that's proving to be hard.

Fans should take note how hoarse Howson was in his interview; clearly, he's putting in the effort.  Hopefully, it's not too late.

NEXT UP: The crap-tastic road trip is over, and the CBJ will host the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena.


  1. DBJ -
    Not having a toddler in the house, I can stay up for those late ones and sleep in. I feel your pain. Actually I thought the CBJ got their feet going and started to tilt the ice their way shortly before the middle of the third period. It seemed like after the 4-0 goal they just had enough. I wonder what this moment will look like in retrospect. If they take the lesson of what is really needed in terms of effort from this game, then some of the trade stuff will be moot. The third period was reminiscent of the Canda-Russia WJ gold medal game, with the CBJ playing the role of Russia. The Kings had one good play in the period, and they scored on a Ryan Smyth put back off a shot from a face off. Other then that (and the uncalled penalties), the CBJ skated them off the ice, especially after they had a bit of luck with Clavert's goal. Even Stralman (gasp) was skating and competing hard. Though I didn't notice Juice getting any ice time in the third. So they lost the game in the first period plus, but if they found what it takes to rise above adversity, and they bottle that, they may actually be ok (said the executive optimist). History would indicate that they won't be able to do that. History would also indicate that they have never had a player yanked out of the room and sent home. Perhaps they have the players attention?

  2. Errata - third sentence: Third Period should be Second period. I thought I re-read that before posting!


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