|Vancouver 4 - Columbus 1|
6-15-3, 5th in Central Division, 15th in Western Conference
1. YAWN - 10PM start times suck. They just suck. It is cruel and unusual punishment for the NHL to force Eastern Time Zone teams to play in the Western Conference.
1a. DRINK 'EM IF YOU GOT 'EM - That being said, I am amazed at how many Blue Jackets fans were drinking beer...and whiskey...(and grain alcohol?)...instead of coffee to make it through this game. You'd think that more would be working off an I.V. drip of coffee to stay awake.
2. THE COMPETITIVENESS GAP - Vancouver plays harder. And sharper. And perhaps even faster. Columbus has a long, long way to go to be dangerous against a team like this. They can beat bad teams, or slumping teams, but not good teams.
2a. IT'S NOT THE GOALTENDER - Don't give me anything about Schneider playing better than Sanford. Sanford was exceedingly good, with each of the Vancouver goals coming on clear defensive breakdowns. I really like Sanford's economy of movement coming from his smart positioning. That being said, Sanford is not a miracle worker and likely won't steal a game for you. As evidence, he couldn't stop an undefended Ryan Kesler.
3. WAKE UP! - Considering that Rick Nash didn't wake up and go nuclear after getting mugged in the crease by one of those Sedin twins (The indignity!), what do you think it'll take to get him going? And I mean REALLY going, as one should expect a $7.8 million scoring machine to do?
4. ALL SHOTS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL - The Blue Jackets had 48 shots. They got just one past the goal line...and that was a shorty. I'm not enough of a hockey x's and o's expert to offer detailed analysis, but you would have to think that this "law of averages" scheme where you throw enough wet noodles against the wall in the hopes that a few stick just isn't working. As the CBJ's PR man, Ryan Holtmann, tweeted, "Ironincally, #CBJ 0-6-1 this season with 35+ shots, including 0-4-0 mark with 40+ shots." That's all you need to know. Time to try something else.
5. WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? - Attitude comes from the top. And when your head coach is quoted before the game talking about this 'tough road trip' (my paraphrase), guess what? The players don't feel confident. And they don't play confidently. And they come out flat and give up two first-period goals. I wouldn't think of saying that Arniel's comments are the sole rationale for this loss, but they certainly can't help.
NEXT UP: Thursday night, 9PM EST, Calgary. At least the game starts an hour earlier.