|Boston 2 - Columbus 1 (shootout)|
3-13-2, 5th in Central Division, 15th in Western Conference
I feared a Bruins beat-down was coming, but it never materialized. Is this progress?
1. I could write just one thought tonight, "Curtis Sanford was a stud," and end it at that. His contribution was that significant. He stopped 26 of 27 in regulation and then another 4 in overtime before giving up a couple in the shootout.
1a. In fact, let's call it like it is: Sanford, an AHL journeyman and number three on the Blue Jackets' depth chart in goal, played well enough to give the team the win. He should be given the starting nod until he loses in actual game play. This is both a reward for a goaltender who clearly worked his butt off and also puts Steve Mason on notice that his play has not been acceptable.
2. Sadly, I did not hear Jack Edwards call this game. That man is high-sterical. I still consider this one of the great homer calls of all-time:
I just may have to watch the NESN feed on GameCenter Live. I bet he was beside himself at the possibility of the cellar-dwelling Blue Jackets making a game of it.
3. Just as the puck dropped, rumor merchant HockeyBreak reported, "I've been informed Jeff Carter has NOT formally requested a trade however, I have also been told he does want out of Columbus." I can't blame the guy one bit for wanting out - he never asked to be traded to the Blue Jackets, probably still feels betrayed by the trade from the Flyers, wants to play winning hockey sometime this century - but I do blame him for sulking while not asking for a trade. Considering his situation, I think it perfectly reasonable to walk into general manager Scott Howson's office and say, "Thanks, but I don't want to be here. Please move me." It's NOT reasonable to coast your way through the first two-and-a-half periods before deciding to play a fair-to-middling brand of hockey that won't land you on any All Star team. Just be honest with yourself and your team, Jeff. The way you played tonight was anything but.
4. The shootout. As soon as the CBJ got there, I thought, "This is lost." And it was. Nash had nothing on his attempt, Letestu made his shot and....
Vermette? Considering his hands of stone this season, was he really the best choice? Not Johansen? Not Prospal? Not Fedor "Shootout Scoring Machine" Tyutin?
5. Before champagne corks pop over the reasonably tough showing put forth by the Blue Jackets in this game, remember:
5a. The "loser point" in the standings now puts the CBJ at only seven points out of 14th place. Go ahead, pour another drink.
5b. The team did not make this game competitive because it started scoring. It tightened up its defense. If this team is going to win with any consistency, it has to score more goals. Especially from its skill players...note that Nikitin, Clitsome and MacKenzie were credited with the goal. Where are the Nashes, Carters (OK, we've talked about him), Umbergers, Vermettes, et al? I just don't think you can make success happen when you rely on your role players to carry the scoring load.
NEXT UP: Saturday night, 8PM, in Nashville against the Preds. If there's a God (Yes, I'm down to faith-based coaching...), Sanford will start.