Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time to step up: Jared Boll

  • Right wing
  • 24 years old, 4th year in National Hockey League
  • $725,000 cap hit 
  • 1.2% of Columbus Blue Jackets salary cap
  • Contract expires at end of 2011-2012
  • 2009-2010 numbers: 68 games played, 4 goals, 3 assists, 7 points, -8, 149 penalty minutes, 7:12 avg. time on ice
One of the more maddening things about the National Hockey League to me is the way in which the league has systematically taken fighting out of the realm of "enforcement" and into the realm of "energy" - or, perhaps better said, "circus sideshow."  A fight on the ice should be an act of retaliation for an excessive action by the other player (or other team).  Instead, let's let Jared himself explain why he fights:
"I was just trying to get the rest of the guys going."
That was following a beating that Boll took at the hands of then-Wild enforcer and uber-fighter Derek Boogaard.  So...he lets himself get pounded in the name of team unity?  Man, that's one helluva way to make a living.  Boll has had moments when he's had the upper hand, but his fight card could be a lot prettier.
My feeling is, if you're going to have a fighter on the roster, have a fighter.  A Boogaard, a (former CBJ-er) Jody Shelley, a George Parros (who sports the most awesome 'stache in the league), a (former-CBJer) Zenon Konopka.  Those are heavyweights.  Boll, as has been written, is not in that weight class.  So he tosses himself out there "to get the rest of the guys going."

But here's the funny thing about Boll: He can play offense, too. Check out this quick-thinking shot.  Might Boll be a bit of a sniper - something Columbus really doesn't have?

I went back through the CBJ video archives, and the other three goals for Boll are really, really nice shots built on smart positioning and/or breakaways.  These weren't garbage goals.  He apparently was a bit of a scorer in juniors, but that apparently went by the wayside when he made it to the big leagues.  It's just a matter of re-finding that touch (with coaches who encourage it).

Boll signed a two-year contract this offseason with a cap hit of $725,000/season.  He's clearly a fan favorite (the girls love him, and the fight afficionados don't have much else to root for beyond Boll and Derek Dorsett).  I read this contract, though, as a challenge to Boll from Scott Howson: You have two years to find your offensive game.  Be a guy who can fight when needed AND drop in a few more goals.  I heard Boll interviewed on XM Home Ice right after the contract announcement, and he said more or less the same thing, so I don't think I'm too far off-base on this one.  

2010-2011, for Jared Boll, is less about throwing punches and more about putting pucks in nets.  Can he make it happen?

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