Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saying What You Don't Want to Hear

'You fight me, you fight the Tasmanian Devil'
Tonight the Columbus Blue Jackets lost to the Montreal Canadians 3-1 on the strength of 2 cross ice passes to Max Pacioretty in the first ten minutes of the game that gave the Habs a 2-0 lead that they never looked back from.  A greasy goal by the Jackets, an empty netter by the Habs, and the game is done.

The Jackets played well, continuing a good stretch of play by our hockey club.  It is very clear that this is a good team in a tough situation, with only being able to afford a handful of losses but 25 or so games remaining.  But realistically, at this juncture we have a very advantageous draft position in a very strong draft.  I would hate for a false and futile charge at this point to screw that up.  I love the team we have now.  They are playing hard and well, and I am proud of them.  But I have to confess to a certain relief with tonight's loss.

As much as I like this team, and the players on it, and as much as I know that they can do better than they have as currently constituted, this team is also going to get better with time on two separate fronts.  The first and most obvious, HOLY MOTHER OF GOD WHAT ARE THE KINGS WEARING??!!!  Those are vintage New York Knickerbocker uniforms, aren't they??  Are they retiring Ty Cobb's jersey tonight or something?  Wow!  That's a visual. Whew!

Ok, where was I?  Oh yeah.  Two fronts.  The first and most obvious is the influx of young talent in the form of Wennberg, Rychal and Dano.  Two of those three were in the lineup tonight, gaining valuable experience.  The other less obvious front, but almost as important is the continuing experience our core is gaining playing with one another.  For the most part, these guys have been together for 3 seasons now, and that stability is starting to have positive affects on their play.  We aren't blowing up the lineup every year now.  Assuming we can actually start a hockey season without a horrifying stretch of play, this is going to be a pretty good team going forward.

And there are more than the aforementioned three players in the pipeline.  Josh Anderson will play at the NHL level.  Oliver Bjorkstrand is currently pillaging Canadian major junior hockey like Attila the Hun, with goals in 7 straight games, and at least one 6 point game.  Sonny Milano is in the mix down there too, as well as some good defensive prospects like Mike Riley (sp?) and Dillon Heatherington.  The notion that we can backfill the prospect pool with very good talent from this year's draft means this team will be at an unprecedented level of organizational depth and strength.

This has been a tough year.  But I want us to pick at least at where we are sitting now, so good entertaining play, interspersed with stirring losses to maintain our draft position is the order for the rest of the year.  Then gather ourselves, and mess with some people's heads next year.

We have a good team having a tough year.  They played well, but didn't get the result tonight.  Perfect!


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