Friday, March 11, 2011

Game 67: Jackets Fan, Angst is thy name: LA 4- CBJ 2

Patrons of Nationwide Arena saw the Columbus Blue Jackets fall to the LA Kings tonight 4-2.  The capsule summary of the game would be Anze Kopitar 3-CBJ 2.  But Dougie Mac assures us the Gilbert Brule is better than this Kopitar piker.  Oh-kee-doh-kee.

And in spite of the inequities in the officiating, and my inability to show personal discipline and refrain from attempting to chat with them from the upper bowl, this loss is about the CBJ's inability to execute in pressure situations.  You could tell which team was ready for the playoffs, and which team wasn't.

Where, oh where has the confident bunch we saw in February gone?  Right now, they are playing with zero confidence, and not surprisingly, the losing streak was extended to 7 games.  We are winless since the trade deadline.  Mrs. G. commented that it was as if the players sort of exhaled once they survived the deadline.  So who had it going tonight, and who didn't??

Brassard's shot is blocked, as little pressure is
applied to Bernier.
I thought Brassard played reasonably well, and Jake had some intermittent jump.  These are two guys who are learning what it is like to play night in, night out against the other teams best defensive pairing.  While they have not been wildly successful, they have not been completely shut down either.  This will pay big dividends next year.  I think the level of abuse Nash takes is catching up to him.  In the last couple of games he has taken ??dumb?? penalties protecting himself from cheap shots, because the officials clearly won't call any of the stuff that other teams do to him.

As a side note, tonight's officials were terrible.  Just atrocious.  But unfortunately, the CBJ lost the game all on their lonesome, so as much as I would like to blame the officials, that's not the issue.  Grrrrrrrrr...

That is not to say that I hold the Ethan Moreau penalties against them.  I didn't see the one boarding call, but there is nothing wrong with the knee on knee call.  What is wrong is how little Moreau is really contributing.  2 shots in 7:17 of ice time.  One was a nice wrister, the other resembled Brass' shot above, which I will get to in a minute. Then the two penalties, and other than that, he was pretty unremarkable.  The older veterans, Clark and Moreau, and perhaps Pahlsson, cannot stand the pace of a playoff push.  When the heat got turned up after the trade deadline, these guys have lost ground in their performance.  Two open roster spots there next year.

Scottie Upshall had another nice game.  Dude has a turn of speed, and a wicked shot, which he used to tie the game in the first period.  Unfortunately, he was not able to personally keep pace with Kopitar, along with the rest of his teammates.  There's a keeper there.  It wouldn't be bad to sign him to an extension.

Mase had another very shaky outing.  He is not playing with a shred of confidence.  What the dickens is Rook doing?  I'm sorry, but that is a failed experiment.  A solid NHL goal tending coach is a must in the off season.  Mase relentlessly left big rebounds up the slot, but some of that was the quality of the shot that LA was putting on him in the first place.  The big LA forwards kept muscling past our defense.

I noticed and commented to Mrs. G. about the obvious size difference between the Kings and the CBJ during the line up for the National Anthem (LEO!!!).  I think this is contributing to Grant Clitsome's troubles.  Other teams have figured out that you just put big forwards on him and Russell, and wear them down.  As a team, we don't have an answer to that.  And its really showing in this losing streak.

We out shot the Kings tonight.  But I think the photo above tells it all.  Brass is shooting from the left dot, and the nearest traffic is above the circles.  This scenario was relentlessly replayed throughout the game.  Shots from the perimeter with no traffic, that Bernier had little trouble swallowing up.  When we finally got traffic, we scored our second goal, and missed an empty net in the dying moments of the game.  But that is too little, too late.

Our guys didn't play too bad tonight.  But we are a few players short of really competing in a game like this, and the better team ended up winning.  It was another typical Friday night in CBJ land in the 2010-11 season.  Not good for the home team.  But, other than the idiots in the upper bowl yelling at the refs (insert distracted and innocent whistling) it was a pretty fun time.  The second goal energized the crowd, and the boys put some pressure on, but it wasn't enough.  Kopitar already had his hat trick, and the good guys went down.

But, not to worry!!  We only need to go 13-1-1 to make the playoffs now.  I just wish there wasn't so much evidence that we are going to use up the 1-1 part of that equation pretty quick.

GO JACKETS!!!

NEXT UP:  After tomorrow's away game against Carolina, it's time to practice chanting 'shakin' the bush boss, shakin' the bush!' and 'I can eat 50 eggs!!' as the newly anointed criminal Zdeno Chara enters Nationwide Arena next Tuesday.  What are the odds he's seen Cool Hand Luke???

1 comment:

  1. TheClevelandHockey(Where'sTheTimHortons?)March 12, 2011 at 1:56 AM

    I need to see a video of Nash's tripping penalty: comedic gold right there.

    Also, my bobblehead is atrocious, lol. Looks like they put as much effort into it as the Jackets did in the game tonight. Fitting.

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