Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beating the CBJ in One Easy Step

Goals against the CBJ in the last 5 games
Crash the Net!

Something that I observed in the Colorado game is that they crashed the net against the Jackets with gusto, and with no apparent consequences.  I had noticed this somewhat in the New Jersey game, and the Detroit game.  So I looked at where goals had been scored against the CBJ in the last 5 games.  The image does not include one blast from the point from Chara in the Boston game.  Other than that, it shows the goal locations for all goals except for shoot out goals.  So what does this mean for the CBJ?  Especially next year? 

Remember when Hitch was always talking about his 'shut down pair'?  I don't think we have one of those anymore.  Given our propensity to cough up leads lately, I think it is getting obvious that the other teams know the CBJ does not have a defensive pairing that is really capable of clearing the crease.  We simply lack the size to effectively clear the crease.  I think this really became evident after the trade deadline, when teams became more desperate and players more willing to go to the net and camp.  Especially in the Colorado game, the CBJ 'D' was unable to deny possession to the Avs.  I think our 'D' does a good job of intercepting passes intended for that area, and starting play in the other direction.  But once the entry pass is made, we cannot deny possession, especially lately.  Hejda and Tyutin do not constitute a 'shut down pair', no matter how much we might need them to do that.

In looking ahead to the summer, when a blueline reconfiguration seems highly likely, this tells us one important piece of information.  The answer is not in Springfield.  We need to add some size and snarl to our 'D' without sacrificing mobility.  I love Grant Clitsome, but he is not going to clear the crease when there is a big forward in there.  Lepisto might be a step in the right direction. 

Other readers and bloggers may have good ideas about who would fill that 'size and snarl without sacrificing mobility' category in the upcoming summer, I haven't looked at that yet.  But I do know that Moore and Savard do not fill that need, and I look for them to spend next year in the AHL continuing the maturation process at an appropriate pace. 



  1. Great post, Gallos. I'm on board with what you're saying. (But I don't understand why a Tyutin couldn't fill the crease-clearing role...)

    This season has uncovered all sorts of shortcomings - goal production, blue line capacity, goaltending - but I somehow think that Howson's going to place a priority on a blue liner or two. Only two are under contract for next season (granted, there are four RFAs as well), leaving Howson with plenty of flexibility to reshape the defense in 2011-2012. (Please please PLEASE sign Shea Weber to an offer sheet - if only to pin Nashville's ears back!) A strong defense can take the pressure off of the goaltenders - see 2008-2009 - and perhaps help spring the forwards a little more quickly. Won't do anything about that god-awful annoying tendency to pass instead of shoot, but it's a start...

  2. DBJ -
    I don't know why Tyutin is not being able to do that, but he really isn't. I feel he has struggled mightily over the last few games. Part of the story of that image is also the fact that there are some real high quality shots that are being taken and blocked, and some of those goals are rebounds. So I don't think a lot of this is on Mase. If folks were consistently scoring from far out on him, that on him. But this in close stuff, you are just in a battle, and sometimes he's on his own.

    The more distant goals by Minnesota were on Garon.

    Which brings up another point. Mase is a right catching goalie, which is rather unusual. We need a back up who is a left catching goalie to cross the other teams up. Garon also catches right. Just sayin'

  3. Many of those rebounds are on Mase, Gallos, his control has really been bad, recently. Not only has he bounced pucks out into prime scoring territory, but he's been unable to cover (or even find) numerous pucks at his feet, too. I wonder if he's having an equipment problem? Is his mask preventing him from picking up pucks on the ice in front of him? Or, maybe, a vision problem - wrong contacts or something? In any case, yes, the defense has been of little help in clearing the crease or getting the puck out, but he's done more than his share to allow second and third shots, as well.

  4. During the game against Colorado, the two goals off the left post featured one Colorado player vs. 2 or 3 Columbus players and Mase. A shot came from outside that Mase couldn't see. He stopped it, but let up a rebound (typical). Our guys couldn't clear the puck and the lone Colorado player popped it in the net. First, Mase needs a clear view of the shooter. Second, he needs to work on his rebounds. Perhaps he is covering his five-hole with his blocker and that sends them out to the middle. Third, our defense needs to pick up any rebound from the goalie. Do those three things and our GAA drops.

  5. Someone recently mentioned that Mason actually likes using new pads whereas most goalies prefer broken-in pads. Newer pads have more spring and bounce to them, leading to more rebounds. Another thing I have noticed when they show closeups of Mason is he tends to blink more often than normal and squints as well. Perhaps he's like Rick Vaughn and needs some corrective lenses.


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