Monday, February 2, 2015

Happy GroundHockey Day

Unfortunately, this morning Stinger got up and saw his shadow, which means there's only 10 more weeks of CBJ hockey.  We are caught in a numbers game that is looking more and more unfavorable.  The Tampa Bay game was a killer, and going oh-for-Florida really hurt.  The math said we had maybe 9 games to lose after the All-Star Game, and there was two of them right there.  The team didn't necessarily play poorly, but was prone to mistakes that the other teams made them pay for.  Which describes how things are going.  Not to mention that 3 goals in two games on the road is not going to get it done.

The next few weeks could be really interesting, as we are carrying 9 defensemen, and falling rapidly into 'seller' status at the trade deadline.  And the question of what to do with the young guys down in Springfield at the end of the season starts to loom.  Do you give them extended tryouts to acclimate them to the NHL as a season goes down the tubes, or do you leave them in Springfield to try to win something?  These are tough questions for Jarmo.  In many ways, getting Rychal, Dano, and Anderson ready for next year should be a paramount priority, it is just the question of what serves them best.

Wennberg is poised to lead that group of young players.  He really played well Saturday night, in spite of a tough outcome on a backhanded clear out from in front of the net on bad rebound.  I thought that line of Wennberg, Anderson, and Anisimov looked really fast and really dangerous when they had a chance to play together.  We only got to see it for two or three games before Anderson went back down, but there is real potential there.

Bjorkstrand should be ready for the AHL next year for sure.  Holy smokes, 34G-34A-68P in 40 games?  Oliver looked like a stud in the World Juniors too.  A year of seasoning in the AHL, then the jump to the big club.  Those are definitely Junior Hockey type numbers, but it will be interesting to see what he carries forward into the pro ranks. And the way things are looking now, the CBJ look to be in prime position to stock the lower ranks with more talent from the top end of a loaded draft this year.  And while Sonny Milano still looks a couple years out, he has real potential.

This has been a tough year.  I think the team is going to continue to play good, entertaining hockey down the stretch, but the weight of the unbelievable injuries is finally becoming too much. But there is a lot to like in the foundations of this hockey club.

I decided not to publish my rant Saturday night.  I was just too angry with the outcome.  Which is good.  By 2010-11 I could sit and watch a game like that without budging from my chair.  The vehemence of my vitriol is evidence that I care again, and those kind of losses are tough to take.  And best kept to oneself.

Here's a little anecdote for you to ponder on Groundhockey Day.  You remember Adam Foote, the Captain who ran out of town?  Scott Hartnell is the first round draft pick we got for him from Colorado.  We traded that pick for Umby.  So Foote is out of the game, but we are still living large on that transaction.  Hartsy is going to play his 1000th game next Monday if all goes well.  How cool is that?

GO JACKETS!!

1 comment:

  1. In all honesty, if this group finishes at or near .500 Todd Richards should get consideration for coach of the year. Truth is with March and April coming, nobody is going to be looking forward to seeing the Jackets as an opponent. Get healthy, make sound moves at the trade deadline. (or no moves) And consider this a season of growth as an organization. Like the results or not, it IS a season of growth. Springfield keeps sending up players who are at least able to compete at the N H L level. Perhaps Nathan Horton is getting healthier. A great deal has been learned about the depth of the franchise. It hasn't been fun watching all the injuries pile up, but to see the young players and realize that some of them will be wearing the Union Blue sooner rather than later gives one cause for thought that this team is going to be GOOD FOR A VERY LONG TIME!!! All I ask now is to get through the rest of the season with no career -ending incidents.

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