Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Respect

Rychel Records First NHL Goal
Tonight the Blue Jackets lost to a team that deserved to win, the Washington Capitals, by a score of 6-3.  It was closer than that, but it wasn't.  Barry Trotz has this Capitals team playing at a peak performance level, and I emphasize the word team.  The Capitals created chances for their shooters that gave them time and space, and they cashed in on those chances.  The CBJ played well, especially in the first period, but the Capitals seized their chances, and converted with shooters isolated on a rusty goal tender.  A hot Bobrovsky would have gotten some of those, but he wouldn't have had them all, and the outcome would not have changed.

One thing I really like about Alex Ovechkin.  He gives no quarter, but he expects no quarter.  Late in the game, the CBJ knock him down, he hops up and skates away.  No Prima Ballerina there, but a guy who will harm you if you give him a chance.  I think it is fair to say that I don't hate losing to Ovechkin the same way I hate losing to Crosby (Messieur la Prima Ballerina).

One thing I like about our young players is that the seem to skate when in doubt.  They make our team seem quicker than it was earlier in the season, and I suspect it is a function of raw speed.  Which is a good thing in the long run, if we improve team speed, because the other guy is surely trying to improve their team speed.  The line of Borque, Karlsson, and Rychel comes to my mind here.  They had some really dominant shifts, but the game turned on other circumstances, particularly the power play for the Capitals.

Washington is a team at the top of their game.  Props to them.  Stick tap to Coach Trotz, for having them play so well.  I like what our team did tonight, but the opponent was superior and deserved the win.  The Caps face larger challenges, such as winning in the playoffs.  Much like the Bengals, this is what will define this team.  But I never got the sense tonight that the Caps were extraordinarily lucky.  They played within themselves and they got the win they deserved.  This is a time for honing what they have, as sterner tests await them.  Yet one gets the sense that they have more in the tank, which will serve them well in the playoffs.

But, before I get accused of being a Caps lover, I want to re-direct attention to our beloved CBJ.  Tonight was a big night for Wild Bill Karlsson, and he had the matchups going.  I liked his line all night.  However, that wasn't what I really meant.  I want to direct you to a couple of articles over on the Cannon.  First of all, Jeff Little drops the second of his articles about the state of the team, which will make you cross NHL GM off the list of things you want to be, and Dan's follow-up article which reacts to the reaction to the first pair of articles.  I really like Dan's evaluation of the last few years, especially since it is one of those rants fueled by frustration that give you uncanny insight.  If you care about the Jackets, read these posts.  They are top notch.

I'm not about blowing smoke.  But I really like good work, that helps me to have a perspective about the hockey I am watching. I feel the posts I mentioned above help me to understand the dynamic of our franchise.  Because at this stage of the game, our franchise has its own history, and there is a flow to it that should help us to project toward the future.  Maybe.  As Jeff Little says, this is an uncertain endeavor, and has its own risks.  Most of the CBJ teams I have known were playoff bound in the preseason.  Its those other pesky 29 teams who think the same thing that are the problem.  If they would simply bow to our natural superiority, we would have won a couple of Cups.  Unfortunately, they seen disinclined in that area, and seem focused on winning our Cups for themselves.  Humph.  What a negative attitude.  Hee hee.  Which is what it is all about.

GO JACKETS!!

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