Monday, March 19, 2012

DBJ's 5 Thoughts on Game 72: Calgary

Columbus 2 - Calgary 1 (SO)
23-42-7, 5th in Central Division, 10 pts. out of 29th in the NHL
The Columbus Blue Jackets ended their three-game Western Canada road trip in impressive style, defeating the Calgary Flames in a four-round shootout, 2-1.

1. THAT'S WHAT THE STRING IS FOR - I'm going to postpone my now-regular excoriation of the CBJ for putting Rick Nash on the ice to (Gasp!) compliment the franchise for using this "playing out the string" game to let young players play...and learn to win...at the NHL level.  Ryan Johansen getting minutes in 4-on-4 overtime play.  Steve Mason gutting out a win  in goal.  And - appreciating that it took getting to a fourth shootout round for this to happen - Cam Atkinson's awesome shootout goal to win the game:

Why does the NHL not put shootout goals on its game highlight clips?
Oh well, I think this still photo does Cam's goal justice.
If you HAVE to tank in a season, this is the type of stuff that you want to see as you play out the string.  You want to see your young players learn, step up, perform and see their efforts get rewarded.  That's what carries over into future seasons.

1a. BUT RICK NASH DID PLAY TONIGHT - The mutinous captain didn't get hurt, but he did not play like a man whose mind was entirely in the game.  Which, considering he won't be around next season, is entirely counterproductive toward achieving the goals mentioned above.

1b. AND SCOTT HOWSON IS STILL EMPLOYED - An equal opportunity mention, if you will.  As baffling as the preceding sub-thought.

2. LOOK HONEY, NEW GOONS! - We NHL fans could rely on a few things come hell or high water: 1) Canucks players dive, 2) Toronto feels entitled to something far beyond their team's capacity to deliver and 3) St. Louis would goon it up as soon as anything didn't go their way.  And while items 1 and 2 are going strong, one of the saddest things to come out of the 2011-12 NHL season is the elimination of "goon" culture from the St. Louis Blues roster by new coach Ken Hitchcock.  But fear not, NHL Fan, for the Calgary Flames have arrived on the scene to fill the role admirably:


Good golly!  Those guys didn't meet a cheap shot that couldn't be taken.  From Jokinen's "not stopping" on Steve Mason that knocked him silly for a couple of minutes to Iginla's retaliatory shot at Jared Boll (who, to be fair, had it coming after elbowing Alex Tanguay to the head) to Curtis Glencross' crosscheck to Derek Dorsett's face, these Flames were out for blood.  Which is odd, really, as they are only two points of out playoff seeding and should have played cooler than they did.

Oh well, their loss.  Literally.

2a. BY THE WAY - Hitch's Blues currently have 100 points and clinched the first playoff spot in the entire NHL this weekend.  And my brain exploded.

3. YO MONEY, IT'S GOTTA BE THE PADS - Steve Mason came on in relief of an injured Curtis Sanford and gave over 50 minutes of really, really good goaltending on no meaningful rest after a long night in Vancouver yesterday.  Is it just the new pads, or are we seeing the Mase we once knew come back to life?

At this point, who cares?

4. SWEET REDEMPTION - Nikita Nikitin had a game for the ages last night, and not in a good way.  Not at all.  In fact, I'd say the Vancouver game was his worst game as a Blue Jacket.

But that's why they play 82 games...so players can go from being the goat to being the hero.  Nikitin dropped in the only regulation goal of the night for the CBJ:


The fast rebound was very much appreciated.  And, very much needed.  I'm glad Nikki Sixx has a short memory.

5. INJURIES, AGAIN... - Per the Dispatch, Curtis Sanford has a quadriceps injury.  It was an odd injury, one that came not from a collision but from (I think) a funny stretch.  Which once again tingles my Spidey-sense regarding team conditioning and its impact on injuries.  Anyway, Sanford's on crutches and will be getting an MRI.  (Which means Allen York is once again on a plane to Columbus.  Like the swallows to San Juan Capistrano, so shall Allen York return to ride the bench in Columbus...)

Then James Wisniewski took a puck to the face and left in obvious pain.  Here's hoping both he and Sanford are OK and get back to the team sooner than later.  

Bonus number 6. HEAR ME NOW, BELIEVE ME LATER - If you're going to get a Blue Jackets ticket package, get it in NOW.  The CBJ are giving away ridiculous prizes to package buyers every day.  And you don't need to get a full season package to win a prize.  Trust me.  You don't.  Really.  So just get your money in if you're planning to do so anyway.

NEXT UP: Tuesday, 7PM, against the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationwide Arena.

2 comments:

  1. What I liked about this game is that the CBJ refused to get pushed out of the game. It used to be that you could get your goon on and push the CBJ out of the game. They don't seem to have that in them anymore.

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  2. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Buy Mase new pads for every game.

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