Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Calm Before the Storm

Boone Jenner
Editors note: Murray and Jenner both made the team after I posted this.  
The preseason games are complete, and a little more than a week remains in training camp for the bumps and bruises to heal, and for Todd Richards to get his lines straightened out.  Then the CBJ will launch into their inaugural season in the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference.  I have been to the home preseason games, and watched them when possible on the road.  And we've kind of seen it all in terms of what lies ahead for the team this year.

It seems clear that the team is not at the emotional level it was at the end of the year last year.  That is to be expected, and they will need to start building that level as the regular season commences.  As far as the preseason, we saw games where they played very well, games where they didn't play well and were deservedly beaten, games they didn't play well and won, and games where they hung on, but lost late.  And I think this is a reflection of the kind of things we will see once the regular season gets started.  If they can balance the games that they play well and win, with those that they play poorly, the should be able to hang in at about a .500 pace.  They don't need to roar out of the box, but they need to keep pace with the league.  It would be ideal to take advantage of the Calgary game, and start the season on a winning note.  While I like to discount Calgary, I suspect it won't be that easy, and they are likely to play this year with a chip on their shoulder.

I think I will like the addition of Boone Jenner to the team.  He seems to have made the squad with a very good performance in training camp.  Now he needs to bring that on a consistent basis.  Which will work okay until about December.  The pace of play elevates at various points in the season, December, January, the Olympic Break, and the trade deadline.  That is roughly 4 or 5 times this year that Jenner will need to elevate his play from what he has done previously.  That will be a challenge for him.

Ryan Murray
Fortunately Bobrovsky looks ready to go.  He impressed me as being pretty solid during training camp.  I thought our defense wasn't as solid as I would like to see.  However, it looks like we'll have rookie back on D, because it seems sure that Ryan Murray has made the team along with Jenner.  Murray has a great deal of upside, and he seemed like a good pairing with Wisniewski during the exhibition season.  He has the speed and defensive awareness to cover for some of Wiz's crazier moments, and it may be a very good pairing for the CBJ.

A long rugged road awaits the Blue Jackets in the Metro conference.  Unlike my wildly optimistic preseason prediction, training camp seems to have shown us a team that is going to be pretty middle of the road.  Pray for a healthy Bobrovsky folks.  We're going to need him.  But no matter what, I think this is going to be a really fun year, and I look forward with eager anticipation for the season to start.

GO JACKETS!!

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