|Detroit 2 - Columbus 1|
2-3-0, 4 points, 4th place in Metropolitan Division, 9th in Eastern Conference
We're all looking for the team to win every game - admirable, but unrealistic...I know - and, as such, nitpick a team that doesn't win every game until they start winning consistently. Here's my problem, and it's been a problem since I pointed it out in the preseason: The Blue Jackets' passing is just incredible. Don't believe that I've been on this issue, you say? Let's go to the tape...
Hey #CBJ: 1. Work on the drop passes, and 2. Just cut to the chase and make Boone Jenner captain. Kthxbai.
— Dark Blue Jacket (@DarkBlueJacket) September 24, 2013
All too often, it's as likely to work right for this team as it is to result in a disastrous turnover. Tonight, Artem Anisimov couldn't handle a cross-ice pass on a 2-on-1 shorthanded breakaway and helped set up a Detroit 3-on-2 where 40-year-old Daniel Alfredsson teed off on Sergei Bobrovsky and proved, once again, that age and treachery overwhelms youth and skill.
When it's a one-goal game, that's the difference between being in position to win and losing. There were plenty of other botched passes, but that's the one that stuck out to me tonight.
If you can't complete a pass, you can't take a good shot. If you can't take a good shot, you spend your game padding the goalie's stats (.973 save percentage for Detroit's backup, Jonas Gustavsson). And you lose.
Beyond that, I just sensed a bit of reticence/malaise that reminded me way too much of teams that Jared Boll knows all too well from his early days in The Show. I'm going to be watching for that over the games to come, for I'm not sure if it was just a case that the Red Wings were just that much better a team than the CBJ. Either could be possible. But I cannot and will not accept that the loss of Matt Calvert and Blake Comeau to injuries has somehow turned the Columbus Blue Jackets from contenders into pretenders. There's something else going on.
That said, Cam Atkinson had a very nifty power play goal that I understand will be on ESPN's SportsCenter.
(So the loss is excused, because our guy is going to be on the highlights show of the network that doesn't really want to show hockey. But wait: SportsCenter appearances don't count in the standings?)
Sergei Bobrovsky had a .938 save percentage, which should be enough to win on a night when you get goal support. Putting only one on the board, however, means you're telling your goaltender to shut the other guys out or you lose. And the "other guys" includes guys like Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Gulp.
One last stat for you: The Blue Jackets outhit the Red Wings, 24-19. Gotta love the hits.
Don't take this post to suggest that the season is over by Halloween, folks. It's early. I'm just frustrated that issues I saw in the middle of training camp still haven't been addressed.
Next up: Montreal on Thursday night in the Bell Center.
Here's your Game Recap Haiku:
Old foe, new conference
Watch the bouncing puck go by
Just glad to be here?