Thursday, November 3, 2011

DBJ's 5 thoughts on Game 13: Toronto

Toronto 4 - Columbus 1
2-10-1, 5th in the Central Division, 15th in the Western Conference
The Toronto Maple Leafs made a rare appearance at Nationwide Arena and the Columbus Blue Jackets were ever the gracious hosts, giving up the first four goals in less than 30 minutes of play, handing the game to the visitors, 4-1 in regulation.

1.  Try sugar-coating this mess.  Try.  I dare you.

2. I don't care if Toronto had a first-time starting goaltender or someone who was destined for the Hall of Fame, Columbus' shooting stats were ridiculously poor.

The Blue Jackets, with 39 shots and only one goal tonight,
weren't as lucky as these goats.  The goats were two-for-two.

3. Goaltender Steve Mason got chased in the second period.  That wasn't the story in my book, however.  I had the "pleasure" of watching this game live and was stunned at the sarcastic cheering of the fans for Mase when he made the simplest of saves after giving up his second and third goals.  The cheers when Allen York - the fourth goalie on the Blue Jackets depth chart, mind you - relieved Mason were among the loudest of the game from the home crowd.  It's simple as that: The fans have turned on Mason.  That's not a good place for a "frah-gee-lay" goaltender to be.

3a.  Here's the thing that drives me batty about Mase:

Steve Mason can make awesome stops like these in practice.
Then he gets in his own head in games.  Mase CAN be a great goaltender.  It just isn't happening right now.

4. Aaron Johnson should request - no, beg - to be shipped back to Springfield, if only to avoid the humiliation he experiences every shift.  Seriously, he was destroyed tonight.

5. My buddy Chris wanted me to point out that the Blue Jackets outhit the Leafs, 28-12, and outshot the Leafs 39-18.  I'll try to remember the direct quote following that recitation of stats, "And the Jackets still figured out how to lose the game, 4-1.  Woo hoo!"  

5a.  Chris also mentioned that the Jackets looked like they playing as if they were ready for the first intermission with about a minute left in the period.  Of course, they gave up the second goal at 19:45.  

Bonus Number 6.  I scanned the "executive" side of the press box and while I saw a man with shocking white hair watching from above, I think he was too thin to be Ken Hitchcock.  Of course, Hitch could have lost more than I recall seeing at the start of training camp, but I don't think it was him.  [UPDATE: Reader R_McGregor12 tweeted me: "Hitchcock was there, Sportsnet Ontario showed him in the press box during the game."]

Bonus Number 7.

James Wisniewski.  A plus/minus of -4 on the night.  Ouch.

Bonus Number 8. I noticed toward the end of the second period that coach Scott Arniel was putting the strangest line combinations out there, clearly chucking wet noodles against the wall in the hopes that something, anything, would stick.  Nothing did, and he went back to his standard line configurations in the third period.  What are we to make of that?  

NEXT UP: Saturday night in Philadelphia against the Flyers.  



  2. Thankfully, I was 5 miles north of the Southern border of Georgia for this experience. And it was all ready 4-0 before I got the radio feed going.

    Whether or not you think a coaching change is in order, it should be pointed out that this is what happened to Hitch. Our Calder Trophy winning goal tender who carried us (and Hitch) to the playoffs, turned into a sieve the following year, and ultimately cost Hitch his job.

    If I was Hitch, in no way shape or form would I consider stepping back into the job while Mase is the goal tender. He already cost you your job once, why go there again.

    $0.02 from the hinterlands for all y'all to enjoy.

  3. Trade Mase please. I like Mase and I don’t think he is 100% to blame. But a trade is needed to change things around. And Mason looks like he might be the right person. It’s clear he has no faith in his D and the team has little faith left in him. I like the guy and I know he will be great one day. But that day might not be with the CBJ sadly.

  4. I feel bad for Howson, and Arniel. Certainly they will take blame for this (right, or wrong).

    Everyone says Howson didn't fix the goal-tending. WE DON'T KNOW THAT YET! Dex has been hurt, Mason inconsistent, with poor defense in front of him. Johnson, and Clitsome should be paying rent in the Springfield zip code, not Columbus.

  5. Does anybody realize how much over his head Arniel is. This is a very good team & I'm sure that if they bring in a new coach he'll straighten things out in a couple of weeks. Please pull the plug on Arniel.

  6. As someone who plays goalie for many teams at many levels; the only thing I can attest to is this; the team has to have faith in you, and you have to have faith in the defensemen. Mase is shot mentally because of this lose-lose dynamic called the Blue Jackets.

    He must go someplace else and start over, and the CBJ must fix the blue line because it's terrible. The result of a terrible blue-line shows up in the goalies crease EVERYTIME. Obviously Mase's performance is not currently at the NHL level, neither is the defense. Not fixing the blue line will destroy the guy that follows Mase.

  7. In addition, if the goalie knows his team's offense can't produce goals, it messes with his head. The CBJ have not produced goals of any significant amount consistently for a LONG time.

    Mason, however, is mentally SHOT. At 26 years old he's done as a Blue Jacket, due in part of is own devises, and due in part to what is the Columbus Blue Jackets.

  8. Hockey teams (good ones) are built from the goalie position out.

    Step 1: Fix the goalie situation.
    Step 2: Fix the blue line.
    Step 3: Fix the offense.
    If this all can't be done with the current coach, see step 4.

  9. OBTW, the payroll is at what? $64mil. Even if they overpaid some players,...can't the team play to a $45-50mil level? I'm just sayin'...

  10. The CBJ have had an on-ice leadership problem for a long time. If the team can't be handed over to a team leader that is a "good fit" for what the time needs (ie, Nash's leadership has not proved to be what the team needs) then new team leadership must come in. If Nash can't handle the demotion, then see step 4 above.


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