Saturday, October 29, 2011

DBJ's 5 thoughts on Game 11: Chicago

Chicago 5 - Columbus 2
1-9-1, 5th in Central Division, 15th in Western Conference
The Columbus Blue Jackets lost, 5-2, to the Chicago Blackhawks in regulation at the United Center.

1. Allen York got his first start in goal tonight (suggesting that at least the coaching staff is going 'all in' for Sunday's game against Anaheim.  York saw 37 shots tonight, stopping 33 of them.  Not embarrassing for a rookie start for a guy who probably thought he was going to spend the season backing up in  Springfield - never mind getting a start in Columbus - but obviously not good enough to steal a game.  Not that he had meaningful help from the CBJ defense at clutch moments, like the many Blackhawk breakaways.
2. Vinny Prospal got one of the goals, and Derek Mackenzie got the other.  There's your team's heart and soul, folks.  The team's oldest player and a guy who's always two or three steps away from being sent to Springfield.

3. James Wisniewski logged 30:09 time on ice and his pair-mate, Fedor Tyutin, put in another 29:02 himself.  Those two are getting abused.  Of course, Wiz only had a -1, and Tyutin had a +1...meaning that the other four defensemen were on the ice for the majority of the Chicago goal scoring.  So I can't blame Scott Arniel for taking this approach (They clearly are playing strong defense, and might be the only ones!), but Scott Howson has to get these guys some capable help.  Is there any wonder that this team collapses in the third period?

4. I waited for "thought number four" to mention the FOUR overturned goals from tonight.  Three Chicago goals were waved off, and one Blue Jackets goal was overturned.  Craziness.  And please correct me if I'm wrong, but the four "no goal" calls on the ice were overturned by the War Room in Toronto.  (Or was one goal overturned?)  That's some pretty good on-ice officiating.

5. (Hat tip to Light the Lamp for unearthing this gem) The Blue Jackets are the unfortunate holders of the Ceremonial Putter, symbolic of the worst 10-game start in the NHL's post-lockout history.  And because they lost again tonight, I think we can safely say that they have the worst 11-game start in the post-lockout NHL.

Bonus number 6. Hockey Night in Canada's "Hotstove" segment tonight covered a topic of interest to Blue Jackets fans - NHL realignment.  Elliotte Friedman (of the CBC, I think) flashed this graphic on the screen:

Screen capture from CBC's Hockey Night in Canada "Hotstove" segment, October 29, 2011

According to Friedman, and you can see the segment by clicking above, the prevailing wisdom has suggested that the league would do a minimal realignment, moving Winnipeg to the West and then moving one team to the Southeast.  However, he says that sentiment is moving toward a wider realignment, with a "50/50" chance of something like this happening.  Friedman is hearing that the NHL governors are coming to the realization that both Columbus and Nashville need some help in cultivating their fanbases...and that a whole bunch of start times after 9PM doesn't assist the cause.

Note that Detroit and Columbus are interchanged.  Friedman thinks that Detroit would slot in with Chicago and St. Louis, but he's not certain.  Regardless, the crux of this is that every team in the league would play a home-and-home with every out of division team, then play the balance of the season in the division.

The big takeaway is that this whole discussion isn't done and over with - and we're still not certain that Detroit is going to run roughshod over Columbus and Nashville.

NEXT UP: Tomorrow, 6:30PM at Nationwide against Anaheim.  Which Columbus Blue Jackets team will show up?  The one that beat Detroit...or the other one?

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