Sunday, February 15, 2015

Gaining Perspective

Tanking is a risky business, just ask Edmonton
Last night's third period was difficult to stomach.  That's part of the reason I put off this post until now.  I needed to shake off the anger born of competitive spirit, and try to put this game in perspective.  I have stated previously in this blog that I thought this year's CBJ were last year's Islanders.  Last year, the Islanders were picked to play well, their goal tender got injured, and down they went.  They profited from that by solving their goal tending problem with Halak, and solidifying their blue line in free agency.  The result is a very good team that has been building for years.  The only thing that the CBJ lack looking to next year compared to this year's Islanders is that first overall draft pick. [cut to commercial]

If you are paying attention Mr. Bettman, Conner McDavid would MAKE THE NHL A BUCKETFULL OF MONEY playing in Columbus [citation needed], so when you are putting a decal on the ball with the magnet, make it the CBJ.  He would not make the NHL any more money playing in Toronto because the NHL is wringing as much money as they can out of that area short of bringing in the Mets, er, I mean, another franchise.  And this is a real threat, as Untersee Kapitan Shanahan has sounded the Klaxon horn to dive the U-boat Maple Leafs, and a scorched earth rebuild looms in Ontario.  [now back to your regularly scheduled programming]

I was pretty impressed with the Islanders last night.  A very physical team, with a fair amount of skill.  They have it all going for them this year, their last year on Long Island before the move to Brooklyn, and after a very long dry spell that's appropriate.  The CBJ have any thing but 'it all going for them' this year  But despite their lowly place in the standings, I like what I saw from the CBJ last night.  The fish mongers put their foot on the gas early and late, and shaped the game with their physical play (which was impressive).  The CBJ fought back, and had the game tied 3-3 going into the third period.  In a road game, that's what you want, a chance to only have to win one period to win the game.  It didn't happen last night, but the CBJ still put themselves in a good position with a dogged level of fight that was pleasing.

I've watched many a lost season for the CBJ.  As a consequence of that, I've watched a lot of bad hockey, and know what it looks like.  This team is not playing bad hockey.  They make mistakes, yes and there are some holes in the line up that the young talent in Springfield may fill next year.  Which brings up its own issues, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.  The even better news is that this years draft will provide another restock of talent, so what we pull out of the system for next years team, is going to be replaced from the bottom.

So I want to win this year, but I want to do it in a fashion to maximize our draft position.  The reality of the situation is that in spite of my gnashing of teeth in the third period last night, the Islanders helped us out in that regard.  I know many of us don't like that at all, so I want to leave you with something I observed last night.

In our game last Monday, LA's Jeff Carter was motivated by the boos raining down on him from the CBJ faithful.  Since Carter was actually trying for once, he pulled some pretty slick moves out of his pocket, and twice he took shot on goal right from the face off.  Both Johansen and Wennberg went against him in the face off circle, with not real good results.  Last night I saw Johansen step through a face off and unload an excellent shot on net.  My point is that he learned that, and all of a sudden we see him taking that lesson and putting it into his repertoire.  Likewise for Wennberg, last night's game was physically 'rich' for him at times.  He has shown a marked tendency to take those lessons and apply them in later games, and he'll be stronger next year.  These lessons may seem hard bought at this juncture, but they will pay off down the road.

Last night an excellent Islanders team pulled away from the CBJ.  But the core of the CBJ looks good, and they showed moxie in coming back to tie the game late in the second.  These things will pay off down the road.  With a bit of perspective, I am content with the result.



  1. As hard as it is to admit, I mostly agree. Previously stated" if this team finishes around .500, it has done well. Tough to watch a "better" team do what it wants against us, but, there it is. My only hope now is that in the evaluation of talent, not too many "veterans" are let go in favor of the promise of "potential". Get healthy, finish the season as professionals, and hope this is the worst this team suffers for a long LONG time to come.

    1. As bogus as it sounds, this is a good year to have a bad year. This is a deep draft, and there are very good players in the top 10, and it seems sure that we are going to be picking there. Top 6 would be better, and the lottery pick goes without saying. That draft position extends through the following rounds as well, and Jarmo (and Howson previously) have seem to have done a good job at identifying talent in those later rounds. Watching Oliver Bjorkstrand tearing it up in Juniors is very heartening. With Bjorkstrand, Josh Anderson, Rychal, and Dano cooking away in devlopement, the notion that you have an opportunity to load more talent into development as they depart is the kind of thing that builds organizational depth. So even if we miss out on the lottery (again), the old fashioned way should still work out pretty well for us.

  2. Not bogus, the light of realism sometimes shines harsh. We're keeping the faith, and looking to the long-term health and prosperity of the organization. Nothing wrong with that. I hope that next season, it's the Jackets going into the last 20 or so games with under a hundred man-games lost. And see where we'll be then.