Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gallos' Thoughts on Game 39: Penguins

Still on the road, so graphics are limited
Tonight the Columbus Blue Jackets slugged it out with the Pittsburgh Penguins for 50 minutes.  Unfortunately, the game was 60 minutes, and the Penguins pulled away in the last half of the third period to win 5-3, powered by a James Neal hat trick and a productive powerplay.  The CBJ scored a late 'we ain't quitting goal' but the better team prevailed tonight.  This game has little bearing on the ultimate outcome of the CBJ's season, and should be regarded as such.

I'm still on the road, and the DBJ is experimenting on harboring exotic bugs in his body in some fanatical post holiday weight loss scheme known as 'stomach flu'.  So we're still limping through these write ups, especially with the graphics.  Please be patient.  

Instead of the 6-pack graphic I have
provided this nifty shot of
Sidney Crosby showing off his
Movember mustache.  Pretty cool huh?
1. My first cold, frosty CBJ beer for tonight goes to development, particularly the development of Ryan Johansen and Ryan Murray.  Coach Todd Richards matched them up against the Crosby line all night long, and this is great experience for them moving forward.  These are the guys that will be responsible for closing the gap between these teams, if it is to be closed at all, so they might as well get used to it.  Overall, they did not do too badly with the assignment.  Joey was - 2 on the night, but Murray was even in +/- with a whopping 24:40 of ice time tonight.  At one point Bob McElligott commented that Crosby left the ice none to happy with Johansen.  That's a good thing, though the ice did tilt Pittsburgh's way soon thereafter.

2. My second cold, tasty, CBJ beer goes to Corey Tropp.  Being as I am on the road, and visiting, when dinner hits the table I need to go, so I missed the second half of the second period.  It was really sweet to come back down and find the game tied after two periods.  Kind of amazing that he has a +/- of 3, especially since he took a penalty that resulted in a Pittsburgh powerplay goal.  But hey, there it is.  He has been playing better and better of late, which is really helpful.  But in Richie's post game interview he indicated that he expected a guy who was getting more comfortable with the system and the guys in the room to be playing better.  Pressure to perform is a good thing for these guys, and Tropp is supplying it to the rest of the role players.  Well done tonight Corey.

3.  My third delicious, savory CBJ beer, is a playoff hunt beer.  This team remains in the hunt, 2 points out of  a three way tie for the third spot in the Metropolitan, 5 points out of the Metropolitan wild card slot, and 7 points out of second in the Metro.  This could happen a lot of different ways, and this is going to be fun to watch down the stretch.  As comparison, the Nashville Predators have exactly the same number of points we have, and they are a hefty 9 points out of a playoff spot in the ultracompetitive Western Conference.  I take a big slurp of this beer out of gratitude for being in the East.  Think that over the next time you consider booing Bettman, or at least consider letting other people do that for you, because they will.  

4.  My fourth beer goes to Brandon Dubinsky.  Dubi got us on the board early, scoring the first goal of the game.  Problematically, we gave up a goal less than a minute later on the power play from the Tropp tripping penalty.  Dubinsky could have been the hero and the first star if he would have buried one of his chances early in the second period when the CBJ were skating the Pens off the ice.  The net was open, but we repeatedly missed it.  Dubi seemed really engaged early in this game, but didn't seem to show up much in the radio broadcast commentary late, perhaps because of the amount of time spent killing penalties.  I'd have a better feel for his performance if I'd have had a chance to see it, and my assessment may be off base.  

5.  My fifth beer of the evening goes to the House of Hickory, in Nashville, Tenn.  This is seriously good barbeque folks.  Urp.   And they ship!  Let me know and I'll post their website.  

6.  My sixth, warm, flat, Natty light, found rolling around in the back of the jeep, a leftover from a round of golf last summer, goes to the Pens fans.  This was a bottom line game for us.  Your money, helping our bottom line.  Hope you enjoyed the show.

At the end of the day, the Penguins are among the leagues elite, and we are not.  The better team won tonight.  As Richie said in his post game presser, the CBJ cracked under the pressure first.  Crosby is a helluva player, and Murray is still a rookie.  The Pens are starting to get people back from injury, we're still depleted, but will get help soon.  The next time these teams meet, the game may mean a lot more to the CBJ, as we will be in a different phase of the playoff hunt, for better or worse.  But, this was a brick game, with our young players tasked with keeping the Pens stars in check.  And learning to do so is definitely a process, so this was a step.  

Now the CBJ take to the road, but so far their brand of hockey has been pretty portable.  We'll see how this one goes starting on New Year's Eve in Colorado.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Gallos, for putting this game in perspective . I scowled all day. Wish I would have gotten to your report earlier. Keep up the good work.


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