Saturday, November 7, 2015

Two out of California Ain't Bad

Hartnell a 'throwback player': Tortorella
Emerging from a tough road swing on the west coast, the Blue Jackets return home today with a 2-1 record against San Jose, LA, and Anaheim.  Very creditable.  They lost to a Ducks team that has had an even more improbably bad start than the Blue Jackets by a score of 4-2.  The game wasn't that close, except it was.  The Jackets kept answering goals by the Ducks, but couldn't crack Andersen for the extra goal.  What I liked was the ramp up of the pressure when the Jackets pulled the goal tender.  THAT's what is supposed to happen, not to meekly surrender an empty netter, which was what was happening in the awful first 7 (AF7?).  The teams ended up trading goals, which ultimately sunk the Jackets, but the late goal made things interesting.  The Ducks got sterling goal tending tonight, with Andersen edging out MacElhinney in the number of truly crazy stops you can make.  CMac came out and performed admirably on the second night of a back to back.

A .667 winning percentage that they showed over last week will get the job done.  Keep winning at that clip and this thing is doable.  Stretches of .500 play don't hurt you except to burn the clock on the season.  Stretches of sub .500 play will sink you fast.

I attempted to watch every game of this road trip.  I actually successfully watched the Anaheim game.  Those late nights are tough.  But one thing became abundantly clear on this trip.  Scott Hartnell is at the top of his game, and is a real force to be reckoned with.  He is tied with Boone Jenner with the team lead in goals at 7, and looks to be a boulder gathering momentum as it crashes gleefully down the mountain side, wrecking havoc on all it touches.  When Tortorella called Hartnell 'a throwback player' I think that is the highest praise he could offer to Hartnell.  This is the Hartnell that I hated in Nashville and Philadelphia, but am coming to love with the Blue Jackets.  In the last two games he has drawn 8 minutes in penalties through behavior that has emphatically stated that he owns the opposition's crease, and you better bring something if you are going to come take part in that discussion. These are penalties that don't hurt your team.

The team is starting to play with a tenacious work effort, and a stiff back bone.  They took some real shots from the Ducks, but kept at it, and pressed until the final whistle in the game.  If they keep doing that, they are going to win some games.


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