Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DBJ's 5 Thoughts on Game 60: San Jose

Columbus 6 - San Jose 3
18-35-7, 30th in National Hockey League, 9 points out of 29th
With the trade deadline looming over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Boys in Union Blue suited up to host the San Jose Sharks tonight.  The CBJ won in convincing fashion, 6-3, in regulation.

It's been a while since I've written a happy postgame blog post, so bear with me as I find my sea legs.

"Yup.  I'm fixing the Columbus Blue Jackets."
1. YOUR COLUMBUS BI-POLAR JACKETS! - Look, I'm not complaining.  Well, not that much.  Considering where this team started the season, getting to "One game on, one game off" is a monumental feat.  And boy, were they ON tonight!  Dropping two goals on the Sharks in the first ten minutes - and putting another couple in before the end of the first period, the Blue Jackets came out strong, took control of the game and never really let the Sharks back into it.  Six goals in total, three of which came from a fantastic power play.  It was like the polar opposite of this past weekend's Chicago game, and I LOVED it.

Honestly, I take the slow and steady improvement seen under Todd Richards (5-4-1 in the last ten, not bad considering the season) as essentially un-learning whatever Scott Arniel was feeding them for the year and a half of his reign of error.  Which begs the question: Was the Howson-assembled roster that we saw tonight capable of this type of performance all season long...but for the presence of a terrible coach who is no longer in town?  And if that was the case, why in the world did Howson not recognize Arniel's shortcomings sooner and make a move to salvage the season?

Enough bellyaching.  It was a helluva game, and the guys who made it happen deserve a hearty applause.

2. JEFF "ALL HE KNOWS IS SCORING" CARTER -  Keeping with the "Where has this been all season" theme, I present you with a Jeff Carter hat trick.  The man was on fire tonight on his line with Vinny Prospal and Mark Letestu, accumulating seven points (goals and assists combined) on the evening.  I said it back two weeks ago, and I'll say it again: Keeping Jeff Carter around wouldn't be the worst idea.  The guy puts the puck in the back of the net.

So let's dispense with the analysis and enjoy the scoring...and the hats!


3. WE INTERRUPT THIS RECAP FOR SOME PARENTING COMMENTARY - As I mentioned earlier today, I attended this game with the Dark Blue Toddler, who rocked the toddler-sized Rick Nash jersey (but still cheers loudest for Ryan Johansen).  For the first time in his young life (he's two-and-a-half years old), he made it through an entire game.  And I took the advice of some other hockey loving parents who've been through this: The key to making the youngsters last for an entire game is pacing.  Pace the food, the drinks, the toys, the walking around, etc.  (And I didn't have to get the tablet computer out until the back half of the third period, which was surprising.)  It didn't hurt that the lad is a HUGE fan of zambonis, quickly developed an affinity for the IGS Energy blimp and loved all the cannonfire and goal celebration music.  Oh, the DBT did a great job keeping his hand on his heart for the National Anthem - proud papa moment!

All in all, a great father-son outing.  I'm not sure how we can top that one, both for quality of game and quality of the entire experience.  

4. A GENUINE NHL GOALTENDING PERFORMANCE - Steve Mason stopped 38 of 41 San Jose shots, a .927 save percentage.  From my vantage point in the upper deck on the "defend twice" side of the rink, I saw some great glovework out of Mase.  Don't get me wrong, the trampoline "boing boing" pads were still giving up gigantic, juicy rebounds.  But there was a level of confidence in Mason's game that I haven't seen in a long, long time.  

Dear lord, am I back to defending the kid?  Talk about bi-polar.  Oh well, at least tonight I get to use one of those awesome Mason shots that I took in practice back in November:


It's all about the glove.
R.J. got gritty tonight!


5. R.J. GOES GORDIE ON US - A goal, an assist and a fight for R.J. Umberger - that's a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.  It was that type of night, where even the high-priced players decided to get tough and play to win.  

BONUS THOUGHT NUMBER 6. - Did tonight's win have something to do with Aaron Johnson getting scratched?

NEXT UP: The last home game before the trade deadline is on Friday night, when the Blue Jackets host the Colorado Avalanche at Nationwide Arena for a 7PM puck drop.  Presuming Howson will wait to pull the trigger on any deals until the 27th, 

4 comments:

  1. Fire Howson. Add (2) D. Buy a goalie.
    That team I saw on the ice last night can play.

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  2. I really believe they are acting too quickly on evaluating this team. Given the multiple injuries, coupled with the lack of depth, makes it impossible to truly judge the current roster. Plus, you had a coach in Arniel who was in over his head.

    I think Howson fails to grasp just how bad our goaltending is and the impact it has on the rest of the roster. Fix that, continue to add depth, and this team will produce far better results. Nash and Carter have long-term contracts, build off that and use it to your advantage.

    Unfortunately, that likely won’t happen. History will show Howson was to patient at the wrong times (Arniel, Mason, etc.) and lacked patience when he should have been (now).

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  3. No mention of the EXTREMELY unselfish assist from the Captain on Carter's hat trick goal? Dude could have easily tried to roof it. Set up his teammate for the sure thing. Deserves mention!

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  4. I'll give you it was a nice win, but I do have a question. Besides last season, don't the CBJ usually put some nice runs in AFTER they are (effectively) eliminated from going to the playoffs? It's a repeating theme (skipping the playoff year of course): They had a 7-4 run in 09-10, 6-5 in 07-08, 8-4 in 06-07, 9-4 in 05-06, etc.

    A nice run doesn't change the fact that the culture needs to be completely changed and the roster blown up to remove the players who have been involved.

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