Columbus Blue Jackets ended up losing to the San Jose Sharks 2-1, a repeat of their road game last week. The Dark Blue Jacket's thoughts on this game are as follows:
1. The Better Team Won - No shame in losing to San Jose this way. This is a well constructed club ready to challenge for the Stanley Cup. In spite of what we fans want, the CBJ is not in the same position. Injuries are no excuse, they are simply a test of the depth of a hockey club. The Jackets are being tested hard now, with key personnel losses. The youngsters from Springfield are showing up well, but they are youngsters. At the end of the day, the veteran team won, in spite of how well the home team played.
2. Good Crowd - Announced attendance is 16,582. That on top of 14 k for last nights game. No illusions here folks. This isn't a playoff charge. Good clean fun is good clean fun, and the home squad showed up pretty well for this one. To LeBrun and Company, and the gutless 'anonymous GM' who hypothesized that the NHL should buy this team and fold it: "[blog guidelines which indicate that Grandma can read the blog without blushing preclude the publication of this word] you!!" This is a hockey market. We are coming for you. It may take us a long time, but we are coming.
3. Owners Meeting - On Monday, as I am dragging whatever sorry carcass that remains back from the Frozen Diamond spectacle of Ohio State playing Michigan in the Tribe's home domain, I will be watching any results with a keen anticipation. With a new, 30% minority owner in Nationwide Insurance, the ownership is changing, perhaps significantly. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this meeting. Given the comparison of the amount of the investment with the resultant performance, it will be enlightening to see how ownership responds. It is impossible to put enough weight on the value of Craig Patrick's perspective at this point in franchise history. They may well defer franchise direction decisions until the summer, but with a trade deadline looming, the situation calls for a fair degree of structure, no matter which direction they are going. If you are going to change General Managers, now is the time.
4. Good Jump - I thought the team played a good game tonight. They played tight defensively. At the end, San Jose scored on a power play off a third chance (border line high stick, but probably the right call), and on a tough rebound off of Sanford. Look, let me be perfectly frank, this is no game without Sanford. He made some sterling saves. Unfortunately, I thought he struggled with his rebounds all night (contrast to the LA game where he gave up few rebounds, but the Sharks are a better team than the Kings), and he finally got burned for one on the winning goal. The block on the initial shot was an excellent save. Unfortunately, Marleau was there to bury it.
But the team in general played well, and they just don't seem that far away. Point for consideration. As poorly as the results have turned out this year, this team has yet to be shut out. We are only 3 years removed from a team that lead the NHL in being shut out.
5. Jury Out - The jury is definitely still out on Todd Richard's performance as head coach. Surprisingly, I feel better about him after watching practice on Thursday. He may surprise people who don't give him a chance.
6. Bonus thought - Watch out for Edmonton - Edmonton is in free fall after injuries to a couple of their young stars. Could they draft first for the third consecutive year? Would it really make a difference? Or would they just get faster??
Summary: Decent performance by the home squad against a formidable opponent. Unfortunately, not good enough to bring home the win. Carolina and the Islanders won. Fail for Nail campaign juggernaut rolls on! A fun weekend for hockey. Off to Cleveland to take in the 'Bucks tomorrow, and back for the rest of the home stand next week. How awesome is it to have an NHL hockey team in Columbus!!??