|Jeff Carter - This dude is going to be scary good this year.|
While flu shot backlash remains a distinct possibility, the simple fact is that with all new D-pairings, and the forward lines completely jumbled from day 1, anyone who realistically expected anything else than what we have seen was even more excessively hopeful than I usually am. I certainly HOPED for better, but the reality isn't terribly surprising.
Keeping last years start in mind, you know,' the best start in franchise history', you also have to remember that there were games in which our beloved CBJ were absolutely shelled. Hearken back to the first Calgary game last year. Our guys with' the best start in franchise history' were absolutely skated off the ice by a mediocre Calgary team.
The 2011-12 CBJ, the proud owners of the worst start in franchise history, have NOT been skated off the ice by anyone. The have been competitive, and have lost their games by special team dysfunction, a shot bouncing off a rookies a** with 40 seconds left to tie a game they essentially won, and blown defensive assignments leading to easy goals (Please shut the back door when you leave!). But they have not been blown out of any games.
And much has been made about our top line clicking. I don't think these guys are clicking well at all yet. They keep missing passes, whiffing on shots. Once their timing gets down, we'll get an idea of what this top line can really do. Which is my point. We haven't seen what this team can really do yet.
If you review the history of the Blue Jackets (see right column) you know that to stay on track with the team that made the playoffs, they need to win 10 games before the beginning of December. That means they need to go 10W-9L through the remainder of October and November. One game above .500. And I am going to suggest to you that the 2011-12 CBJ has a lot more of a top end then the 2008-09 CBJ, who made the playoffs.
Another point that I wish to make is that it has been said that one player should not make the difference, this comment in reference to Wiz's unfortunate absence. The only thing I'll say is that Boom Herron didn't make much of a difference for the Buckeyes yesterday, did he? The point being is that one player can sometimes tip an otherwise balanced scale, and that one player can have catalytic effects on his teammates.
Wiz's shot from the point backs defenders off. The simple formula for defending the CBJs's power play last year, and this year to date is to pressure the point men. They will cough the puck up, and your PK looks great. With Wiz in there, you risk a fractured kneecap if he catches you with his shot. That backs up the defense, giving more room to the points, making the power play more effective.
Another point I would like to make is that Wiz has a knack of hitting the net. Many have commented on the CBJ taking only 15 shots on goal in last nights game. I thought they had a lot of shots blocked, so I looked at this. For the non-numbers geek, the issue is that in the third period, Dallas never missed the net with a shot they took. And yes, they did out shoot the CBJ.
Here are the numbers on shots from last nights game:
Shots Blocked by Dallas: 14
Shots Missed: 9
Shots on Goal: 15
Shots BlockIed by CBJ: 16
Shots Missed: 9 (all in the first two periods)
Shots on Goal: 33
Dallas consistently put a greater percentage of their shots on net. I think that these types of numbers are those that are susceptible to being changed by Wiz's presence.
My final conclusion is that I think it would be wise to withhold judgement on this team until the beginning of December. It will help your sanity.