Tuesday, November 12, 2013

So DBJ watched CBJ Game 17: Washington

Washington 4 - Columbus 3 (OT)
The Columbus Blue Jackets looked to continue their post-slump rebound in Washington DC's Chinatown and did so...to a degree...in falling to the host Washington Capitals, 4-3, in overtime.

I swear, I don't get this club.  When I think that they looked OK, the postgame interviews use words like "disappointing" and "embarrassing".  When I think they looked like Ice Capades, they talk about how hard they worked.  Guess I still have a lot to learn about this sport, even as I've been following the team for six or seven years now.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the CBJ are now tied for last place in the Metropolitan Division.  That would put anyone in a bad mood.

Anyway, here's my quickie take.  The first period was more or less played tightly.  It loosened up in the second with the perfect yin-yang of exchanged goals.  First, Mark Letestu and Brandon Dubinsky had this absolute beauty:

I love that goal.  Letestu flips it up onto the glass behind Holtby.  Dubinsky grabs it and pulls it around to the front of the net.  He rides through the crease, forcing Holtby to commit and then gently deposits it behind Holtby for the shortie.  Gorgeous work, from setup through completion.

And then there's the flip side.

Seriously, is it possible to put any more Capitals players behind the CBJ defense without looking like a clown car at the circus?  Way way way too many spectators wearing white on that play.  Bobrovsky didn't have a chance.

The third period was, again, pretty tight until...oh, what the heck.  While we're ooohing and aaaahing, let's look at the Atkinson goal in the third that put the CBJ ahead 3-2:

Classic Atkinson...grab the well-placed breakaway pass, screw with Holtby until Holtby has absolutely no idea what's going on, and slip it past him.

[Side note: I really like Joe Beninati as a play-by-play guy.  The color guy in DC is an absolute dud, but Beninati calls - at least for me - an entertaining game.]

Anyway, Grabovski scores with less than a minute left, and we're off to Free Extra Hockey Time.  Leave it to Ovechkin to follow up on the Johansson rebound and slam it past poor Bob.

That's the game.  And the CBJ get the Loser Point.  Hey, that's 3 out of a possible 4 points in the last two games, not terrible.  Of course, they also gave two points to an intradivisional rival...

If you really want to jump on the "disappointing" bandwagon, it's fair to ask what has gotten in to Marian Gaborik and Artem Anisimov.  Gaborik obviously was the topic of coach Todd Richards' pregame talk with the TV guys, as he was a "storyline" through the game.  "This is the perfect time for a player like Gaborik to step up."  "Leaders like Gaborik need to demonstrate their desire." You know, that stuff.  And....he was, once again, blanked on the scoresheet.  What gives?

As for Anisimov, he's a ghost.  Moving on...

So here's my big picture: They lost, but they got a point, and I honestly don't think the team embarassed themselves in the process.  It was a reasonably entertaining game.  That, in my book, is progress.

Here's the haiku:

Whaddya know, folks:
Jackets don't play like blockheads.
Enigmatic Russians!

NEXT UP: Thursday night in Boston against the Bruins.  Keep the chins up and the shoulders square, boys.

1 comment:

  1. The loss stung for sure. I think from a fan perspective, you watched the team all game and felt confident in the way they played. Then Bob has a brainfart, but the Jackets bounced back and took the lead in the third. Then in the closing moments, they blow the lead and ultmately pay the price in OT for not checking Ovechkin. The loss to the Capitals broke your heart.

    There is something I've noticed in the last two games that I like, a lot. Dubinsky has sprung two crafty forwards for breakaway-type goals the last two games. This is good on two levels. 1. Both have been creative scoring opportunities. Creativity comes from chemistry. 2. It's nice to see the Jackets FINISH on chances like that. Those goals are good and while they can't be expected every game, its comforting to know the Jackets can score on them. Was the defense bad? For me, I'd rather the Defensemen get beat trying to make a play and being 'smartly' aggressive rather than bail out of the zone and just collapse to the defending redzone. My dry erase boards magically shatter into pieces when defencemen play 'not to get beat' rather than trying to force the issue. You can't give the Caps time and space. You can't. Try to take it away, don't try to contain them.

    I hope the disappointment from the fans doesn't seep into the dressing room and take away from an overall effort that was good. Yes, the loss stung. If the Jackets are going to be successful in the East, they need what they did for 57 minutes last night.