Monday, January 23, 2017

Cam Is Getting Kinda Scary

Cam Atkinson has been on an unbelievable tear lately.  He is playing with supreme confidence, and his goal in overtime against Ottawa was spectacular.  Cam is playing at a point a game clip, which is sort of the semi-official threshold of Wow!  His goal total for last year was 27, which is really solid.  After 46 games he already has 23 goals, eclipsing his totals in 2013-14 and 2014-15. And I think he is playing within himself.  This isn't a lucky shooting streak, this is Cam at the top of his game.

Most importantly, Cam is learning to be "the man" at crunch time. In the 2013-14 playoff series against the Penguins the Blue Jackets were eliminated in six games.  At the end of game 6 I longed for the recently traded Marion Gaborik to be coming down the ice with the puck on his stick.  I wanted someone who is truly dangerous and capable of generating a real wicked shot.  Well in the 2016-17 playoffs, Cam needs to be that man and I think he is growing into the role.  Which is really cool to see, when you get right down to it.

Look Cam.  You are an All-Star in my book.  No doubt.  But its a break!  Take some time off to recharge, and come back ready for the assault on the 2016-17 playoffs.  We are playing Metro games the rest of the way pretty much.  The preliminaries are starting here.  Do you play a wild card, a team that's playing hot, or do you get the Penguins, or the Capitals??  No easy road forward, but lots of questions out there yet.

The depth of the organization is being tested for the first time this season.  So far it is holding up okay.  But honestly, I had real intestinal discomfort with the image of Zach Werenski laying on the ice.  Fortunately he is okay.  But he gets a 3-4 day break with the All-Star game.  Important heal up time!

The intensity of the play across the NHL picks up after the All-Star break.  It is one of those ratchet periods in a season.  I hope the Jackets come back rested, renewed and ready for the drive to the playoffs.

If the Jackets can win their next two games (not at all necessary), they will equal the number of points they had last year before the All-Star break.  That's pretty cool.  They have performed well, but there will be sterner demands ahead.  I really believe these players are up to the task.  This is going to be a lot of fun.


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