Friday, October 21, 2011

DBJ's 5 Thoughts on Game 7: Detroit

Detroit 5 - Columbus 2
0-6-1, 5th in the Central Division, 15th in the Western Conference
The 0-5-1 Columbus Blue Jackets went north (and west!) to Detroit, emerging with yet another regulation loss at Joe Louis Arena.

As I said, "...is it possible to continue to preach patience with this squad if you predicted the Blue Jackets would make the playoffs?"

As for the game:

1. Rick Nash had red sweaters blanketing him for most of the night.  This isn't illegal; in fact, it's a wise defensive scheme considering where the CBJ are at right now.  It's amazing that Nash was able to do anything all night (zero official shots), notching an assist on the Brassard goal.  At the same time, it's baffling that the rest of the Blue Jackets couldn't capitalize on the Wings' preoccupation with Nash.

2. The game pretty much ceased as a competitive affair once the Blue Jackets valiantly killed a 1:51(!) 5-on-3 Detroit power play...and promptly gave up a standard 5-on-4 power play goal.  It's like the life was sucked right out of them.

3. While not doing anything that distinguished him to me defensively, you can't help but appreciate Aaron Johnson's 1 goal, 1 assist game.  Clearly, the man is sick of eating nachos in the press box.

4. Radek Martinek and Marc Methot got hurt tonight, and while Methot returned, it was clear that the defense was tired and stretched for most of the night against the NHL-competent Red Wings forwards.  Combine that with the fact that CBJ fans are on pins and needles hoping that Steve Mason (Steve Mason!!) stays healthy after injuries to Columbus' second and third-string goaltenders, and you can't help but shake your head in wonder at how the team's depth has evaporated so quickly.  And then, when you have a group of forwards on the team that's still relatively deep...they can't compensate to keep the puck out of the defensive zone.  Maddening.

5. I'm now convinced that R. J. Umberger is playing hurt.  His play is so entirely out of character against his prior seasons in Columbus, and I just can't bring myself to think that he's taken the "Fat, dumb and happy" approach of a guy who signed his big contract.  Can't say the same for Antoine Vermette, though.  Vermette just looks off despite trying.

Bonus number 6. Based on the looks he was giving in the third period and the substance of his post-game interview, Scott Arniel looks like he's out of tools in his coaching toolbelt.  Tough position to be in at such an early point in the season.

Bonus number 7.  What Would Vinny Prospal Do?

NEXT UP: Tomorrow night, 7PM against the faltering Ottawa Senators in the 2011-12 Sippy Cup.  Oh yeah, it's Hockey Night in Canada as well.

Maybe Columbus, Winnipeg and Ottawa can
withdraw from the NHL and play a round-robin
Sippy Cup Tournament.
Kinda like a hockey N.I.T.

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