Thursday, December 15, 2011

DBJ's 5 Thoughts on Game 31: Los Angeles

Los Angeles 2 - Columbus 1
9-18-4, 5th in Central Division, 15th in Western Conference
The Columbus Blue Jackets hosted the Los Angeles Kings, complete with interim coach John Stevens, and lost a mind-numbingly poor game on all fronts, 2-1.

After a brief respite, the Jackets are back in the sub-basement: 15th in the West and 30th in the league.

1. Thanks, refs - The first goal by L.A. should have been waved off.  The King offensive player was bouncing around the crease like a pinball.  See for yourself:

Absolute crap non-call by the refs.  Of course...

2. Burn the game tape - As lousy as the Kings played tonight, the Blue Jackets could have played even a mediocre game and more than overcome the Kings non-goal "goal".  I'm telling you, this game was hideous on both sides.  Terrible offense, terrible defense.  Set back the game of hockey by a magnitude of years.  

3. Who woulda thunk we'd have this type of goaltending controversy? - Curtis Sanford stopped 39 of 41 shots.  That the CBJ allowed 41 shots against the woeful Kings is a stinging indictment of the defensive scheme and execution (or lack thereof), but that's not the point of this thought. I am happy that Sanford is playing well and apparently is fresh after the night's breather with the Mason start.  The Blue Jackets clearly need a capable goalie to spackle over the many, many cracks in their roster.  

"I helped beat the Vancouver freakin' Canucks.
What else do I have to do?"
At the same time, I would have liked to see Steve Mason get one more start.  He got the start - the first in twelve games - against the defending conference champion Vancouver Canucks and performed admirably (if less than hydrated).  It would have been a nice pat on the back/confidence boost to say, "You took on the best, now let's see if you can follow it up with these guys."  And this did not happen.

Fairness to Mason also plays into this matter.  Mason got the grizzly early season starts when coach Scott Arniel was running his Endless Pasta Bowl scheme where countless noodles flew against the wall in the hopes that one or two would stick.  It left the shorthanded blue line exposed to breakaway after breakaway, and Mason was left on an island trying to stop so many glorified shootout shots.  Sanford only got his first start on November 17 - after Arniel got the Hitch religion, started talking up "grit" and decided to employ a team defense.  Yet Mason is punished for not being godlike while a 5-5-3 Sanford only has to be good?  

Let's be honest with ourselves here.  Sanford is a decent goaltender, but it seems to me that he has a ceiling in what fans can expect.  He's probably good-to-great in the AHL, average-to-good in the NHL.  Mason has the potential to be great in the NHL, he's only 23, and he's signed for one more season with a $2.9 million cap hit.  Nobody's going to want him at that price until next year's trade deadline (unless he's a salary dump throw-in on a trade), so the Blue Jackets may as well try to rehabilitate him as best they are able.  If it works out, perhaps they can keep him going in the Columbus system.  If it doesn't...well, you can't say the team didn't try.  It's just too early, with a year-and-a-half left on his contract, to abandon the Mason ship altogether.  

Please, Ryan Johansen, stay strong through this mess.
4. Cry for the children - Ryan Johansen is learning his Big Time professional hockey in the midst of crap like this.  Which would be my worst fear about his development in Columbus.  No, I'm not second-guessing the decision to not send him to the World Junior Championships.  I'm second-guessing not sending him back to Major Junior hockey in Portland, which would have preserved a year on his entry level contract while the team sorts out its collective issues.  

5. From the outhouse to the penthouse - Once regularly munching nachos in the press box, Derick Brassard got 15:01 time on ice tonight. Surely had nothing to do with the fact that the arena had scouts on hand representing Edmonton, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, New Jersey, St. Louis (2 scouts, actually), Toronto, the Rangers, Ottawa, Chicago, Colorado and Montreal.  Or that the the NHL's trading freeze runs from the 19th through the 27th of December.  No, I'm sure it was all merit.  

NEXT UP: Guy Boucher leads his wobbly Tampa Bay Lightning into Nationwide on Saturday night at 7PM.   


  1. Ummm, I'm as much of a homer as the next guy, but there really wasn't anything to call on LA. Unless exploitation of our team defense, or lack of it. Tyutin couldn't clear the front of the net, and of course became the iron sheer who can screen our goalie yet not prevent their forwards and pucks from breezing through. Further Nikitin skates through the crease bumping skates with Sandford and not helping Tyutin with clearing the front door. Also if you watch the clip try pausing it and counting the Kings you see, normally 3 to 4, yet you see all 5 of us chasing. I understanding collapsing defense, but come on. It looked like we were on a power play and had lost the puck in our zone. It was disgusting to see again.
    So if your defensemen don't clear the opponents from infront of the net, bump your own goalie, and your 3 players can't stop their 1 player from moving the puck around behind our own goal and pass it out to the point (who can accept the pass, pick a nice clean spot on the ice, adjust his cup, wipe the sweat from his brow, take a look around, check for wind speed and wave to his mom before there is Blue Jacket near him) for a clear shot at our goal. Then you get a goal that deflates the arena and sends me foaming into a seizure of anger.
    I know firing Scottie A. is a little late but maybe a public flogging would be nice for the season ticket holders? Just throwing it out there.

  2. Sanford's 5-5-3 is god-like compared to what Mason has provided. Yes, he certainly played very well vs. the Nucks and should and will get the net, again, soon. Sanford, though, deserved to be back in goal, last night, and was the best player on the ice for the Jackets. He gave up only one legitimate goal and only two in total. What more could we have asked of him? The Jackets played one of their very worst games of the year and couldn't even muster their usual pair of goals. What a mess!

  3. Goaltending controversy? Are you kidding me? 1 win and you want to throw Mason back in? Trust me here when I say that he is not the future (or the past for that matter) of our goaltending. You're correct in that nobody is going to trade for him. Letting him play an occasional game is the best thing ANY coach can do for him. Its what should have happened 3 years ago. Heck he yet to prove he can go 60 minutes without cramping. Did Sanford cramp after missing months? Mason needs to watch and wait.

    Ok now to last nights game... Well since we are back in the cellar Priest and Howson can kiss my $350 bucks goodbye for Saturday night. I was going to spend cash to watch Stamkos, but made a promise to myself to not spend NHL money to watch a last place team. After the joke of a game last night the CBJ has pushed me away until some time in 2012. I can't fathom how Arniel has a job. I can't figure out how Howson remains in charge. Put Prospal in as interim player/coach until we can beg a real coach to come here. Maybe Boughner would come back....I watched the Spitfires play a month ago and they were struggling badly. It would be a slight step down, but the pressure to win would be less.....


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