Monday, January 25, 2016

Joey's Lid Hits the Ice, Cam Gets a Hattie

Cam Gets A Hat Trick
Ok, there is nothing better than exiting Nationwide Arena with a hat that has the price tag, and a hook in the top of it, because you needed to purchase a new head gear while leaving due to a hat trick.  My buddy Bruce tossed an All-Star hat tonight.  My lid was one that I really liked.  It was the design that Joey (Ryan Johansen) was wearing when he signed his deal after missing training camp.  It is the second of that design that I had, having tossed the original for a hat trick in the glory run last year, and running downstairs to get the last of that model hat.  I've been wearing this one all year, with few exceptions.

Never go to a game with a hat you are unwilling to toss.  It's one of the unique traditions of the game, a celebration of something that is uncommon and hard to get.  Trust me, I have a hat I rarely wear to regular season games because I won't toss it unless its a playoff hat trick.  Besides, I prefer to wear a good one, because I like that, but I also wear one I will toss.  Heck, I lost a really sweet gray one to a Jeff Carter hat trick, and I have never found another like that one.  I regret that all the time, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.  So it was truly awesome to see Cam get the hat trick tonight.  It was a great treat to the home town crowd.  Montreal didn't mean to cough that goal up, and that will simmer before tomorrow's game.

It was a funny game.  Not a real vocal crowd, but one that took umbrage with a PK Subban unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for shoving Dubinsky after he lofted a shot from beyond the blue line that somehow managed to go in on Korpisalo.  I was surprised the penalty was called.  After that the crowd booed Subban lustily every time he touched the puck.  I kinda don't like that, because when we do that to Jeff Carter, it seems to ignite his inner lazy man and makes him rise to new heights.  Subban is a much more interesting character than Carter, but the explosion I feared from the booing never emerged.  Perhaps we'll see it tomorrow.

But there is a subtle difference in our team that is emerging.  And perhaps my tossing of my last 'Joey' model hat is symbolic of that.  I felt Seth Jones was really stretched tonight by the speed of Montreal.  That is part of the testing he is seeing in his new role, and there will be times when it does not go perfectly.  But our defense is totally different then it was before 'the trade'.  It is not yet a finished product.  That may be more than a year away.  But the rough cut looks dramatically improved, even with Savard out of the lineup.

There are those who would point out that Dubinsky is no Johansen, and that the team is worse for the exchange of Jones for Johansen.  And then there are those, like me, that would point out that historically our team has played its best hockey when we had 3 second lines and a damn good fourth line.  Tonight's line up looked a lot closer to that model then the team we iced earlier in the year.  I wonder how Torts would feel about that concept.  Lori Schmidt?   Little help here?

Joonas Korpisalo skates away with the win tonight, after taking a rookie lesson from Subban on playing shots from behind the blue line.  To me, it just seemed to catch him flat footed, but I might be doing him a disservice.  I watched his body language after that, and he was distinctly unhappy about the whole thing.  Props to the rest of the team for picking him up and giving the support for the win.  I am assuming Forsberg gets the net tomorrow night, as both of these guys are developing goal tenders, and the need the ice time.  They should both be in the AHL, or at least one of them, but here they are.  They both need the net.  I am very pleased for Joonas Korpisalo.  He has been very steady, but make no mistake, this process is rushing him.  But he seems to be responding well.

Speaking of rookies, Jeff Little is at it again over on the Cannon.  Please read this post.  It is a very thoughtful treatment of the youth issue.  We're lucky to have writers like this in our blogosphere.

All in all, a very fun hockey game, with the special treat of a hat trick.  How can you go wrong with that?  Back in the saddle tomorrow on the back end of the home and home.  Montreal will have a burr under its saddle.  The Jackets better be ready to skate tomorrow!  Hattie!! Whoo!!  Cam!!


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