Sunday, April 3, 2011

Game 79/St. Louis: Gallos' Take

Draft Pick Preserved/ Post Partum Depression

I was talking to Mrs. G on the drive home from the game, wondering how to characterize the game.  Her phrase was 'post partum depression' and its as good a synopsis as I can come up with.  What we had were two teams that were out of it.  Neither really had their mojo going.  One of them was a bigger team with more goonish tendencies (and I don't really mean that negatively, at least this time).  The bigger, goonier team prevailed, 6-1.  They outshot the home team, they appeared to be more aggressive than the home team, and they certainly had better goal tending than the home team.

LeNeveu sees his first action as a Columbus Blue
Jacket.
There are those who would assert that a good defense obviates the need for excellent goal tending (e.g. the Detroit Redwings).  Lacking the certified first round hall of fame ballot defenseman of the Redwings, the CBJ had better get pretty good goal tending.  Giving up rebounds which were not cleared by our defense ultimately did in Mathieu Garon this eveing, as it did David LeNeveu, making his CBJ debut.  Garon was pulled after the second period and was replaced by LeNeveu.  LeNeveu made some good stops, but couldn't stop a 2 on 1 in which he served the rebound to the shooter to give up his first goal as a CBJ net minder.  This was preceeded by several pretty solid stops.

This is not to say that Jaroslav Halak didn't give up rebounds.  He did, leaving several juicy ones up the slot, that the Blues defense cleared without interference from the CBJ.  Thus, it was a team effort.  Less than sterling goal tending, hampered by less than sterling defense, hampered by an inability to put significant pressure on the other team's tender.  Quickly putting my math skills together, that equals a 6-1 loss.

Its not that the home boys did not bring the effort.  I think they really tried.  But every mistake they made was buried, and once they got the good lead, St. Louis got their goon on, as they typically do, and the game trended downwards.  By the third period, the CBJ pressure offense more resembled Dean Smith's North Carolina four corner stall in basketball.  The CBJ tried pretty much anything to avoid and/or find a clear path through the clogged neutral zone. 

Double D, Derek Dorsett brought his normal effort to the game, fighting Ryan Reaves in the second period.  The only bad thing about the matching five for fighting is why Reaves did not get called for delay of game for letting a smaller guy with a shorter reach basically use him as a punching bag.

Later in the third, Vladimir Sobotka thought it was a good idea to take on Kris Russell, who did his best imitation of Ryan Reaves.  It wasn't until I had uttered several catcalls that one of our seat mates pointed out that they were of a relative size.  Ok then.

And I think that says it all.  St. Louis pushed.  Some guys pushed back.  Most didn't.  Worst, most lifeless game I've seen R.J. Umberger play.  They missed Nash tonight.  We, the fans, miss the fighting spirit RJ has brought to most games. 

A quick look at the standings shows that by losing this game, the CBJ slide to the 8th overall draft pick.  If they won the lottery they might jump into the top 5.  Every one says this is a thin draft.  Ten years from now, guys in this draft will be stars in the NHL.  Especially out of the top 8.  There are no Tyler and Taylor this year.  They are just the best of this year of hockey.  That means many of them will need a couple of years to mature.  Its a good time to fill the system with talent.

So this was a good/bad loss.  We lost the season series to the hated Blues, but we jumped a spot in the draft.  In the long run that might be the bigger issue.

GO JACKETS!

1 comment:

  1. Dark Blue JacketApril 4, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    Thanks for covering for me this weekend, Gallos. Whoever set the prep week for my once-a-month weekend at school on the same timetable at the end of the NHL regular season deserves to be flogged with licorice by Colin Campbell.

    Anyway, the library closed at 5, so I caught a lot of the game. Your thoughts are much better expressed than mine (in part because Mrs. DBJ took advantage of my presence to have a very nice Sunday family dinner during the game).

    I only had one positive to note, something that I think bears mention: That first power play leading up to the Umberger goal...that was REALLY good. The puck moved well, the perimeter guys just blasted Halak repeatedly and Umberger fought off his defenders to get the final cleanup goal. That was about 60 seconds of pure bliss in what otherwise was a pretty crap-tastic game.

    By the way, what was with the smurf-fight?

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