Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Morgan's Game 13 Six-Pack: San Jose Sharks

Columbus Blue Jackets 6 - San Jose Sharks 2
4-7-2 Last in Central - 11th in Western Conference

Coming off their best effort in recent memory, which yielded another loss the night before, the Columbus Blue Jackets get right back at it against the visiting San Jose Sharks in front of a Nationwide Arena crowd of  10,838.  This marks the last home game before the team embarks on a lengthy six game road trip.  I usually don't like these long road trips because I must endure how better suited the Blue Jackets are playing the Penguins, Flyers, and Sabers six times a year, but I digress.  Without getting too far ahead of myself, tonight's game is an important morale booster for the Blue Jackets.  If the team can take the momentum from last night's game and carry it into tonight's tilt against the Sharks, it could be just the boost the team needs.  Folks, it turned out to be just that kind of game - a slump buster.




6 beers, 6 goals.  No coincidence.

1.  And beer number one goes to Cody Goloubef - Welcome to the NHL!  A career first NHL goal, I love seeing those.  All the hard work, all the sacrifice, all the breaks and you get a chance to score a goal in the NHL.  No heckling fan can ever take that away from you.  It was also nice to see Brandon Dubinsky get his first NHL goal tonight too.  Remember, he makes 5 times as much as you and has the same amount of goals this year.  Come to think of it, you have the same amount of goals as Dubinsky, Umberger, Tyutin, Foligno... come to think of it, only 5 guys on the Blue Jackets have more goals that you this year.  This is supposed to be a happy beer.  Moving on...

2.   The second beer goes to the Columbus Blue Jackets  for gooning it up - you may be last in the Central, but you're first in the league in Fighting majors.  If you can't beat 'em, then beat 'em.   Kidding aside, what a great team game tonight.  The team took advantage of a sleeping and uninspired San Jose Sharks team.  It was very rewarding to see the Blue Jackets capitalize on a team that may have been looking past this game.  Very pleasing indeed.

3.  Third beer goes to Adam Burish's helmet.  You took a beating from Derek Dorsett.



4.  It's not often an intanglible gets a beer from me, but puck possession, this Bud's for you..  You can work as hard as you want.  You can say you'll never be out worked.  You can clog the center of the ice all season long and make skilled players beat you to the outside.  But if you don't protect the puck after/during a battle, you can't score goals.  If you can't get the puck deep in your own end and keep it, you lose.  And tonight the Jackets protected the puck well. 

5.  And, as Chairman of the Mark Letestu Admiration Society, I am not surprised to see him take the lead in team goals.   Fifth beer for your fifth goal.  I am very happy that he is leading the team in scoring.  Hopefully those forwards making 3 and 4 million dollars a year will step it up and earn their money soon.  Letestu is making near the league minimum this season, $650k.  Dubinsky and Umberger are making over 4 million dollars each sitting on just one goal a piece.  Someone who only makes 3 times as much as Letestu, is Artem Anisimov.  Someone tell Anisimov he's supposed to take every other shift off, not every other game.

6.  The CBJ Power Play.  First, let me say that I'm happy you showed up tonight.  The 5-on-5 play we've seen the last two nights is not typical and something this fan is not ready to count on yet.  By that measure, it was nice to see some PPGs tonight instead of the 0-for-7 dirty undies that we saw last night.  Wisniewski had a smart power play goal.  Very nice. 

Now I'm going to call 'em like I see 'em.

Attendance = Poor.  Please, no more "Hockeytown" hashtags...

Prospal Goal = Beautiful.  Can Foligno get two assists just on that goal?  Nice Jeff Skinner move along the boards to set up Prospal.

The Blue Jackets had five players with more than two goals before tonight's game, the Blue Jackets still have 5 players with more than two goals afterwards.  Sigh...

Herr Greiss = turrible.  I'm not sure an NHL goaltender is supossed to allow goals like the ones Nikitin and Letestu got.  This guy has a 1.01 GAA coming into this game?

Jack N' Wiz = were each minus one.  To me +/- is a function of team play, not an individual stat.  For this top pair it does tell a story, especially when your team scored 4 even strength goals and allowed only one.  Jack N' Wiz looked as if they played a little better in their own end, but still Chaos.  Just Chaos, seldom controlled.  You two HAVE TO play better for this team to be viable and survive during 5-on-5 play in this coming road trip.

The Jackets have a couple days off before they start their six game road trip.  Considering this hasn't been as strong of a start as CBJ fans may have been lead to expect, this six game road trip is crucial because of it.  The season is not lost as of yet, but if the Blue Jackets are only able to get 5 points out of their next six games, it most likely is.  That's the hole they've dug for themselves with the first two games of the season being all that has kept them bordline respectible in the standings.  Before tonight's win, the CBJ only had 3 points in their previous five games, all of which were at home.  To be considered a playoff contender, you have to play good on the road.  Regardles of the start, 5 points out of the next six games is the minimum a fan should expect even if you are on the 'rebuild' set of fan expectations.

*Update* Were the Blue Jackets out worked?  Absolutely not! 
The Jackets first game of their six game tour is Friday night in Los Angeles.  Blue Jackets have four days off and I hope Richards makes them skate every day.  Make the travel day a "light" skate day, but make them skate.  The Kings are muttering through a Stanley Cup hangover, which is to be expected with Richards and Carter on the roster.  They haven't played very well since drubbing the Jackets.  That, and given the amount of rest the Blue Jackets will get before the game, I expect the CBJ to win a close game in regulation on Friday night.  It's a reasonable expectation even for an expansion team that's been in expansion mode for 13 seasons.  This next 6 games will define this team for the rest of this season.

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