Sunday, October 30, 2011

DBJ's 5 thoughts on Game 12: Anaheim

Columbus 3 - Anaheim 1
2-9-1, 5th place in the Central Division, 15th place in the Western Conference
The Columbus Blue Jackets welcomed the Anaheim (once Mighty) Ducks to Nationwide Arena tonight and pounded their way to a 3-1 win, Columbus' second win of the 2011-12 season.

1. Let's get to the elephant in the room faster than Fox Sports Ohio did tonight: The rumored shakeup both behind the bench and in the front office clearly has shaken the roster.  Captain Rick Nash, never one to offer a meaningful quote after a game, shared that the team had a players-only meeting prior to the game prep meeting and also gave about as forceful a defense of Scott Arniel and Scott Howson that he could.  By my estimation (and Jeff Seaman's), someone (or someones) in that locker room REALLY doesn't want to play for Ken Hitchcock.

1a. Not to beat on Fox Sports Ohio too hard, but that pregame was mighty awkward with zero mention of the Dispatch article regarding the rumored firings of both Arniel and Howson.  It was like some Tea Party convention, where entire pertinent elements of public dialogue are totally ignored.  (Of course, the pre-game discussion was pretty good, focusing on the game and all...)

Ryan Johansen's second goal in three games is making it real hard for
the Blue Jackets to send him back to juniors.
1b. I had just about given up on the broadcast vis a vis the Dispatch article when Jeff Rimer made it the opening piece in his "Rimer's Rumors" segment.  What a perfect use of this device.  He raised the issue, shared that both rumored new GM Craig Button and rumored returning coach Ken Hitchcock both denied talking to the CBJ about the jobs and then moved on to discuss the realignment proposal I discussed in yesterday's recap.

2. Four fights.  Three in the first period alone.  And while most weren't the most useful, I give Cody Bass all sorts of props for engaging the Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf.  If there is a use for a guy like Bass, it's in taking the other team's top player off the ice for time in the sin bin.  We lose Bass, they lose Getzlaf.  I'll take that trade any day of the week, twice on Sundays.

3. Goals from Rick Nash, Ryan Johansen (which again pleased his BFF, the Dark Blue Toddler) and Fedor Tyutin.  The Nash goal was a study in patience and sniping.  The Johansen goal probably made it that much harder to send him back to junior hockey.  The Tyutin goal was nifty, as all great shots from the blue line are:




Big Russian Bear. Scoring Machine.

4. Steve Mason was very sharp, stopping 19 of 20 and really not doing anything particularly wrong.  I'll presume that the day off helped, but the Allen York Experiment in Chicago didn't go so well.  Mark Dekanich can't get healthy fast enough so this team can have a real goaltending tandem.

5. So what's up with this team on the ice, anyway?  They're clearly not the high-powered scoring juggernaut that they (and we?) were led to believe in the offseason and training camp.  But what are they?  If they're what we saw tonight - a reasonably talented squad with a healthy goonish underbelly - I could live with that. That approach seems like Anaheim's bread and butter (at least every time I've watched them), and the CBJ outplayed them at their own game.  It seems like the type of playing style that an ex-grinder like Arniel could embrace.  But do they have the horses to play like that every game?  Or is the team going in an altogether different direction that I'm not detecting?

John Moore didn't have any shots tonight, but he played solid defense
and was +1 on the night.  Is he a keeper on the big league roster?
Bonus number six: I learned that James Wisniewski and Fedor Tyutin, who both logged over 27 minutes of time on the ice (TOI) tonight, are being paid like first pair defensemen and and being played like first pair defensemen.  I genuinely thought that they were going to get run into the ground, but a couple informative tweets (including one from the Blue Jackets PR man, Ryan Holtmann) showed me that the minutes that Wiz and Tyutin are getting may be on the heavy end for top pairs, but it's not excessively over the top.

Bonus number seven: I also learned that Aaron Johnson and Kris Russell may be perhaps the worst pairing in the National Hockey League.  Arniel seems to see it, too, with 10:44 TOI for Johnson and 8:20 for Russell.  On the bright side, John Moore logged 22:47 TOI - which tells me that Arniel had some faith in him and his pairing partner, Grant Clitsome (23:31 TOI).

NEXT UP: Nothing until Thursday night, when Phil Kessel and the Toronto Maple Leafs come into Nationwide Arena at 7PM.  That makes 3 straight evenings without a CBJ game for the first time all season...so take advantage of the opportunity and wash your jersies, for pete's sake.  They're starting to smell a little gamey!

4 comments:

  1. Aaron Johnson is what baseball people might call quad-A. Too talented for minor leagues, not talented enough for the top circuit. Russell has looked really great *at times* this season, so I think once Martinek and Methot are back we'll see slightly more rigidity in the blue line with more stay-at-home partners who can punch their weight.

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  2. People wanted offense, right. Well the CBJ have scored at least two goals in every game...the only team in the NHL to accomplish that this season.

    The blueline is the problem. Aaron Johnson, and Clitsome have been liabilities. Russell has been hot/cold. We need Methot, and Martinek to get the health, and Moore to be ready for prime-time.

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  3. Glad the real issue with Goal tending is finally coming out in posts...it's not the goalie, it's the Non-NHL D he has playing in front of him that is the problem. The York experiment also proves the point CBJ Blue Line STINKS!!!!

    Wisniewski & Tyutin are the only NHL level guys they have! The rest of the guys would not find work on any other NHL team. Most casual NHL fans don't know the first thing about goal tending or how Defense and mistakes out on the ice impact the goalie. The Jan Hejda move looks BRILLIANT right about now; should have saved some of that top five NHL payroll for one guy who knows how to play on the NHL blue line.

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  4. Attendance was pretty decent and it was NOT due to the kids get in free in costume as Arace and others stated. Well unless a "costume" was optional. I saw about 5 kids in costumes. Sunday games have historically been poorly attended and last night the family night worked plus the free hat was a bonus. The hockey was good and IF we come out combative regularly the crowds will return. Do I need to see Russ throwing down regularly? No, but he is on thin ice here so fighting (literally) for his job worked on tis night. DMac is all hustle. He's my sons favorite player and watching him you can see why. Gimme a team of Prospals and Mckenzies and a decent goalie and I'll buy tickets much more frequently. Effort is everything.

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