|Columbus Blue Jackets 3 - Calgary Flames 4|
Western Canada, home to Atlanta's last two NHL's franchises. One of those two teams paid a visit to Nationwide Arena Friday Night - the Calgary Flames. The Flames were playing in their second road game in as many nights. Ever the good soldier, enduring Home opening events as visitors for a second night in a row. The Flames played spoilers to the Blue Jackets home opener, beating the home team CBJ 4-3 in regulation. The League was kind enough in welcoming the Blue Jackets to the Eastern Conference by scheduling us with the Flames. Thanks Bettman.
If I were a blogger, I would sum up tonight's game for the Blue Jackets in one word as 'sloppy.' Your older brother's Blue Jackets were on the ice tonight. But, I'm not ignorant enough to say this one game defines the fate of the team this season. I watched the game in total seclusion at BW3 in Dublin. I did not want to hear a broadcast of this game as to make my own observations on the team. So here they are, my observations
1. The Flames went to school on Bobrovsky. Outside shots from the faceoff dots accounted for three of Calgary's four goals. Two rebound goals, and one riser from ex-Red Wing Jiri Hudler that Vezina trophy winners should be able to defend. Bob didn't look bad, but the Flames were able to exploit the averages playing the angles on a positionally sound goaltender. There were two or three other similar set ups that the Flames couldn't convert. Not a bad outing from Bob, but the 'bend but don't break' Dzone coverage had better get hip to the jive.
2. Welcome to the NHL Murray. These aren't 17 year-olds from Regina, they are the world's best athletes. Despite the telegraphed turnover you teed up for Calgary, you'll do fine in this league. Keep it simple for now. Be smart with the puck and you'll get more ice time than a 4th rounder David Savard soon enough. He's played 35 more games than you in the NHL. If you're just going to get 14 minutes a night, I hope they send you to Springfield for 20+ minutes a night ASAP, like they did for Savard.
3. Dalton Prout is a first pair defenesemen in the NHL. Blake Comeau is a first line forward in the NHL. Derek MacKenzie saw more ice time than Boone Jenner. The Jackets rolled four second lines that were constantly changing. If the game felt lumbering, sloppy, and confusing that's because it was. I'm really not sure what Coach Richard's plan was for this game. Someday when my opinion influences enough people that they can use it to sell advertising, I'll get a press pass and ask him myself. "Where in the world is Boone Jenner going to skate next" was a popular game at my table and Blake Comeau seemed to be going "every other" shift at certain points in the game. I'm not concerned about what happened on the ice, but I am curious as to what was going on behind the bench. The entire game felt like the third period of playoff game where the Jackets were down in the series and were looking for any offense any way they could find it. I hope Richards figures out what he wants to do with these lines soon.
4. No offense Letestu, but I'm glad to see that Gaborik, Johnson, and Anisimov were involved in the offense tonight. The lines were jumbled quite a bit, but the players who are offensive were offensive. Go to the net and good things will happen. These extra East-West passes don't always open up more offense, and sometimes they lead to turnovers. Going to the net when the lanes are open generates offense. The first two goals were exactly that. It was nice to see Anisimov convert on a lucky bounce - something the Jackets have historically never gotten much. The Flames blocked something like 25 shots, which tells me the Jackets were a little too eager to score and shot into blocked lanes or they shot it every time a fan yelled, "Shoot it!"
|You know what he said? He said, "I will literally blow my brains out the next time I hear|
a fan yell "Shoot it" when there's four guys in the shooting lane."
5. The Flames drove the net, brought speed, and beat the Jackets to a lot of pucks. They seemed to have a plan on how to generate offense against Bobrovsky. They had their brain farts in their own zone, but but looked solid in the offensive zone. The Jacket didn't seem comfortable in transition or in their own end on defense. There is something to be said when 3 of your 6 defensemen combined for something like 68 games played in the NHL.
Tonight's Blue Jackets were not the Blue Jackets as advertised, but the team that shows up tomorrow is more important that the team that played tonight. Tonight's game doesn't sit well with me, but we have to move past it and see how the team reacts tomorrow night. It's the one silver lining, they have chance to go right back out there tomorrow and get after it. If they don't show improvement tomorrow at Nassau County Coliseum against the offensively potent New York Islanders, it will be a long 5 days until their next game.
I leave you with a hold over from my DKM days, the CBJ game in one Haiku
I don't understand
These are the Calgary Flames
Jumble all the lines