Tuesday, February 14, 2012

DBJs 5 Thoughts on Game 57. St. Louis.

Well friends, Alison here. Back to back game recaps from yours truly and I am proud to say I got my wish from last recap - it was Valentine's all around for Blue Jackets fans as they sent the St. Louis Blues home in a 2-1 loss, with the only thing that was the color of love being Hitch's face. The victory brings the Jackets to 16 wins on the season, but more interestingly, 4 wins out of the last 6 games (we're ignoring that LA game).

This game was good hockey. A grudge match between two teams that don't like each other very much, a battle against a former coach, and a rebuttal to rampant trade rumors. The Jackets came out strong and played 60 solid minutes...which would more than come in handy tonight. So on to our 5 points:

1. A Game of Inches. The first goal aside, every major piece of this game came down to a almost immeasurable means. A goal saved by Wisniewski with teeny tiny bits of the puck not crossing the line, a shot just this much shy of the goal by St. Louis, and two reviewable goals (and non-goals) within the final two seconds of a period - nothing was given easily tonight. Not only did it keep fans on the edge of their seats, it showed that these two teams were fighting it out. The margin of error was so small that coming out on top made the win that much more rewarding.


2. James. Wisniewski. I have been a fan of Wiz since the day he signed on to play for the Blue Jackets. His season has been marred by injury and Mr. Shanahan, but the games since his most recent return have shown perhaps a renewed focus and calm that is fine tuning his game to something this team needs. Wiz apparently was given the assignment to not only play D, but also back-up on-ice goalie tonight and was rewarded in some of the most stellar highlights. That save was nothing short of pure effort and drive, and a tying goal in the final seconds of 1st period cemented his first star status tonight. I'll let the video speak for itself. Its everywhere. You should still watch it again. Its that good.



3. Star Power. As I ticked off tonight's points, I found myself delighted to want to mention not only Wiz, but Nash and Carter. Weren't these the guys who were to be the core of this team this year? As Coach Richards said, "tonight was our best game of the season" and arguably in large part due to our guys at the top of the payroll. Rick Nash, perhaps fueled by trade rumor upon rumor upon rumor, played with intensity and physicality. Jeff Carter, after an early turnover that led to the short-handed St. Louis goal, redeemed himself when he executed a face-off to perfection that allowed Wiz to score literally with milliseconds left in the first. One would wonder what we could be when all these guys are firing on all cylinders on a regular basis.

4. Clock Karma.  Did we ever really get over LA "Clock Gate" which remains under investigation (thank you, Grammys)? Well, tonight we got our due from Toronto. The "War Room Hat Trick" (coined by Cyrus) brought us three reviewable plays: the Wiz save, the Wiz goal, and the St. Louis no goal. Every time, the call went our way. Color me shocked, but color me happy. Perhaps the hockey gods don't hate us...completely.

5. Steve Mason. The game of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde continues. After brilliance on Saturday, then an embarrassing performance just Sunday, Mase came out tonight with a solid game - supported by strong defense, to achieve his 84th win, which ties the Blue Jackets' all time win record for a goalie (Denis: 84-146-25). Mason also did it in fewer games. It bears mention that its this see-saw performance that makes Mase so frustrating. But one could argue this is why Scott Howson gave him one last chance. It would seem the ship has sailed on keeping Mase here for the long haul, but let us cheer his performance tonight. After all, it helps his trade value.

BONUS! #6: If you're still reading, and you know me, you know I couldn't let the Game Winning Goal by Derek Dorsett pass without mention. It would seem that Dorse has achieved the kind of status where his notoriety precedes him. Every single penalty incurred by the CBJ was assessed to Dorse. And I was frustrated with how this game was going for him. However, with his continued heart and drive, Dorse played through the chippy game and was rewarded with what was only his second GWG in his career, and his 10th goal this season. Not only does #DD stand for Derek Dorsett, it can now stand for "Double Digits". I would be remiss if I didn't mention a guy who is now being recognized for his "never say die" attitude. If you're not already on the "Dorse bandwagon" best climb on quick because its getting wonderfully full.

The Jackets get a rest day tomorrow - apparently it was part of the bargain from Coach Richards should they win - and then only the luckiest will see them "in action" at the Blue Jackets Black Tie Ball this Thursday, but get ready, because Saturday the Blackhawks come to town. (Remember that's a 1PM start)

2 comments:

  1. First, thank you, Alison, for preventing me from descending into Valentine's Day spousal hell. I really, really appreciate your covering this game.

    That being said, it sure seems like the game was a good one. I missed all of the first and most of the second periods, so I didn't see the Wiz "save" and end-of-the-first goal. WOW. Both plays were special.

    I did catch the Dorsett game-winner, though, and continue to be impressed with how his motor just doesn't quit. (And did I note that the Blue Jackets Twitter feed used your "#BecauseHesAwesome" hashtag in their 3 stars recap?)

    Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't add my one meaningful observation from last night's game. When the team lined up to congratulate Steve Mason after the win, it was Vinny Prospal who stuck around for a few extra moments and, by my observation, offered up a handful of encouraging words right into Mason's helmet earhole. Quietly, effectively, Vinny Prospal is taking over the true leadership position on this team. The guy is playing the role of father figure to a T, and that's something this still-immature roster desperately needs.

    If this lost season means that character guys like Prospal and Dorsett emerge as the team's new leadership core, I suppose all the pain wasn't entirely for naught.

    Again, thanks a million. So glad you got to write about a GOOD game!

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  2. I could have sworn I caught an f-bomb from DD during his first trip to the box last night. We all know what that would have earned him. Alas, I must have been mistaken, as I'm sure someone else would have mentioned it by now. Still a great game from him and so many others. They truly have begun to play with pride.

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