Sunday, December 6, 2015

One, Not so Good, Second, Much Better

Not Liking the Nachos
A below average effort against Florida by the CBJ Friday night elicited a below average blogging response, the decision to write about two games at once later in the weekend.  On Friday night the Blue Jackets played a sleepy first period, and ended up losing in a shootout to Florida 2-1.  After the first period there were significant moments when the forecheck dominated possession, by which I mean playing 'keep away' along the boards.  However, the Blue Jackets did not generate much offense out of these instances of prolonged possession, meaning that their 'possession' statistics (e.g. CORSI) would suffer.  So it goes.

Importantly, Michael Chaput scored his first NHL goal, and Scott Hartnell was given a seat in the press box.  Hartnell was reported to be upset about the coaching move by the Puck Rakers.

The coach was not especially happy about the effort Friday night, and shockingly, was vocal about that.  The players seemed to take that to heart on Saturday night when they jumped the Flyers on their home ice, laying a 4-1 loss on Philadelphia.  Hartnell, back in the lineup and playing with verve, had a goal and two assists.  Foligno, recently released from the purgatory of a 20 game scoring drought, scored two goals.  Shockingly, the CBJ also got scoring from the defense, when an oft deflected snap shot from the point by Jack Johnson fluttered into the net.  It was good to see them have one of those nights where everything went right, and it was an important win over a divisional opponent.

Interestingly, Kerby Rychal and Justin Falk were both sent down to Lake Erie after Friday night's game, a function of other folks returning to the lineup.  They both had played well in their stint with the big club.  This is the normal developmental curve for Rychel, where he will be up and down.  He played well, and with energy, but in the long run we will need more from him.  So back down to Lake Erie to re-vitalize his scoring touch.  For that pick to be a successful one, we need more that a fourth line winger out of him, and he needs the time to develop to that top six winger who is difficult to play against.

Next up, the LA Kings.  This will be a good measuring stick game against which we can see how we handle a heavy, physical team.  It was good to put Friday night's lackluster game to bed with Saturday's win.  It will be good if the offense can start to blossom while retaining a tight defensive game.  We shall see.


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