|James Wisniewski during training camp.|
In these last two games, the ability of our defense to actually play defense could be questioned. Our group seemed to be extremely vulnerable to odd man rushes, and were caught flat footed many times in Minnesota.
The first point I wanted to make is that we didn't hire Wiz to be a shut down defenseman. While it is definitely likely that Wiz would help our 0-11 power play, the only thing he brings to the odd man rush situation is closing speed. So I am concerned about the defense and am tempted to rant about it being the same lame defense as last year. But the purpose of this blog is to provide some perspective. And after a deep breath and some thought today, I'm not sure the rant is appropriate.
The schedule makers gave us a good schedule to start 2010-11. I think they got even in 2011-12.
What really solidified my thoughts on this was the commentary on the Montreal v Winnipeg game Sunday night on the NHL network. They talked about how Carey Price had a couple of practices to settle down from the OT loss on Thursday night. The CBJ didn't get a couple of practices to internalize the loss to Nashville. They promptly got rolled under the bus, traveling to Minnesota's opener, and in 20-20 hind sight, it is understandable which team had the jump going.
Then I reflect that none of the defensive pairings are the same as last year, and none of the forward lines are the same, so the notion that play might be a little disjointed at times shouldn't be shocking. And when you remove a top pairing D-man from the picture, it messes things up even more.
Nashville was a good early test for our group. It told us there was work to be done. The Minnesota game was not necessary to hammer home these lessons, but we got it anyway.
With the defending Western Conference champions coming to town tomorrow, staunch CBJ fans should gird themselves for the potential of an 0-3 start.
As a fan, I find that kind of thing somewhat liberating. Much like Game 4 against Detroit in the playoffs, I didn't care if we won or lost. As a fan, I didn't want to get cheated. I feel that way about tomorrow's game. I'm going to go, and get loud, and root for the CBJ, win or lose. Because no matter how mad I was watching last night's game, these games do not define the season.
This team will be a team that is gathering momentum later in the year. It was unlikely that we were going to have a good start. No matter how much I wanted one!