|Columbus Blue Jackets - 0 Minnesota Wild - 3|
Blue Jackets are on the outside looking in
The traveling Minnesota Wild visited Nationwide Arena as the Jackets look to open a brief three game home stand before starting a season-defining 6 game road trip out West. Coming into the game, the CBJ's expansion cousins are seven games above .500 and with 44 points are clinging to 7th place in the West. Despite the story lines surrounding this week's trades, the Jackets look to show tonight's crowd of 15,909 that the playoffs are no joke.
Well, then tonight's game happened. The loss tonight was disappointing. Spirits were high after the trade deadline acquisitions and talk of playoffs, while a long shot, were still a possibility. The Blue Jacket's looked confused and couldn't solve a team that played smart and bought speed every shift. It's easy to pick on one or two mistakes the Jacket's players made to channel our anger, but the team showed us that despite how well it's done this season, that their overall record lends itself to the inconsistency we saw tonight.
|Lay an egg, get some eggs.|
1. Vinny Prospal, the first can of suds is for you. You skated strong in the first period trying to cause turnovers and take away time and space from a talented team. I don't know if you're penalty in the second was an NHL caliber hooking call, but you did stop moving your feet - the death knell for any obstruction type penalty. Oh, then you got dumped a second later.
2. Ryan Johanson - I couldn't help but notice you getting tossed from at least three face-offs tonight. In close games you have to mind your manners in the circle. Stay square and let the visiting opponent get their stick set. The team needs you taking big draws, not getting tossed from them.
3. The Blue Jackets Power Play. A handful of shots on four attempts. A good power play a playoff team has. It may be too late in the season now, and I've been saying it all year - the power play is stinky cheese. Tonight's game was won on the Power Play, kind of like in the playoffs
4. Sergei Bobrovsky, you have got to be in a state of blackout drunk perpetuity with all the beers this blog tosses your way. Trust me, we were drinking tonight too. I know the 21 saves on 24 shots doesn't really say it, but you played well tonight. A couple of breakdowns in front of you were all the different tonight.
5. Cody Goloubef gave one heck of a post game interview on the radio tonight. Despite the seemingly high school newspaper-esqe questions you were asked after a tough loss, you answered the questions politely and the way any guy looking to stay in the NHL should. Great interview. I don't know that I could have been so gracious.
6. Mark Letestu - giving us another game to love you. As this team looks to improve and upgrade it's personnel over the next few years, we hope that nights like tonight give some special consideration to your chances as a future Blue Jacket.
The Jackets looked confused tonight and they were outworked. They didn't look like a 30th place team, but they sure as sh!t didn't look like a team fighting for a playoff spot. Minnesota brings a lot of speed, but it seemed to be their quickness that out-matched the Jackets. Despite the beer I consumed during this game, it was sobering to see that when Bobrovsky isn't "Save the world from complete aniliation good" in goal, this team stands little chance on it's own offensive merit. Marian Gaborik played well the first two periods, but I didn't notice him much the 3rd period. You make like 12 times as much as your center tonight, but you guys seemed to have a little chemistry tonight, especially down low.
While the #CBJ twitter feed nearly consumed itself after the loss in St Louis, most fans now understand how difficult it really is for the Jackets to make the playoffs. I have not given up on the Jackets, however I understand how nearly impossible the task is. I am not going to judge another fan's belief that this team will win 7 of the remaining 9 games it has left on the schedule. But if the CBJ is going to play it's February hockey in April, it will be back to playing it's regularly scheduled tee times this month as well.
The CBJ play Tuesday in Nationwide Arena against a rejuvenated San Jose Sharks. Every game from here on out is a must win. With 9 games left, it's likely 7 wins are needed for playoff bonuses.