Monday, October 25, 2010

Game 7/Chicago: My take

The Columbus Blue Jackets, coming off a stinging defeat at home against Calgary on Friday night, regrouped and beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at the United Center, 3-2.

Let's start off with perhaps one of the most gratifying parts of the evening - two-thirds of the "kid line," Jake Voracek and Derick Brassard, hooking up for a goal in the second period:

The third part of that line, Nikita Filatov, wasn't a part of that action - it was captain Rick Nash instead.  As part of the shakeout from Scott Arniel's measured postgame statement of discontent, every one of the four forward lines were shaken up in order to simultaneously generate offense and smack some sense into the complacent.

For one night, at least, Arniel's gambit seemed to have worked.

Beyond the line changes, what struck me about the game is how...ragged the whole game looked to me.  I suppose that this was more a reflection of two defenses messing with the other teams' offenses.  It ain't Hitch-hockey, that's for sure.  The puck possession system LOOKS a lot different than dump-and-chase, something I'm still apparently getting used to.

I'd be remiss if I didn't give DBJ blog commenter gallos kudos for suggesting the logical: Put your best player in his best position.  That apparently would be Rick Nash on the left wing.  Sure, he can play right wing, but why not put him in a position where he can make maximum impact?

Lastly, think about this: If you buy my "must win versus should win" perspective about keeping up a point accumulation pace to stay on a playoff-qualifying track, the Blue Jackets have 8 points after seven games.  If the CBJ either win outright or take the Philadelphia Flyers to overtime on Monday night, they're still on a 96-100 point track.  With all the angst, the lousy performances on Fridays (San Jose, Chicago, Calgary)...they're still on playoff pace.  Sometimes the longer view is a better one to take, eh?

Next up, Philadelphia (3-3-1) at home tonight.  Dust off your Zherdev (1-0-1 for the Flyers) and Shelley (16 PIMs) jerseys, folks!

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