Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Bubble Boys Win 5-2

PLD in 2016 training camp
Interesting game tonight.  CBJ bubble boys against the St. Louis Blues bubble boys.  Much like Bob's early season performances, Jake Allen had a kinda soft night in a game that doesn't count.  Motte, Hannikainen and Nutivaara had goals in the first period for the CBJ.  In the second period the Jackets let a few Blues hang around in front of the goal for extended periods, and they both roofed wicked backhands in the corner opposite Korpisalo.  Dubois in the second period, and Kukan in the third responded to the Blues, and the CBJ came away with the win.

In my opinion, both teams waded into the game, as might be expected from a bunch of players on the bubble.  By the end of the third period the Jackets players were really starting to swirl and look like a dangerous hockey team.

My observations.  The cuts tonight will tell you a lot.  Dubois has made the club.  He has the potential to be an effective wing, and if Boone Jenner is healthy could enable Jenner to move to center because there is someone (Dubois) to replace him in his 'get the puck off the boards' role.  In other words, Dubois = replacement Boone, which enables you to do something creative with Boone Jenner.  As long as Boone is ready early in the regular season, that could be good. 

I think Motte and Dalpe make the team.  Unfortunately, for a favorite player of mine, I think Marcus Nutivaara starts the season in Lake Erie Cleveland because if he plays 2 more NHL games he has to go through waivers.  An unfortunate math problem for him, but the notion of Nutivaara and Collins on the top pair for the Monsters kinda warms my heart, and allows Nutivaara to get big minutes and drive play.  He needs to drive play to stay in the NHL, so be hot with that by playing huge minutes in Cleveland.  What the CBJ depart camp with is not how the whole season will go.  Either Ryan Murray asserts himself, or he doesn't, but Nutivaara needs to be hot and ready from The Monsters, so it makes sense that he goes down.  That allows the team to carry an extra forward instead of an extra defenseman, which they will need to do.

The huge question is do they keep Abramov in the slot Nutivaara formerly occupied?  He looks like a real tweener at this point, and I am not sure that going to Europe helps him as much as sitting in the press box in the NHL.  As a young player, you want him to play, but people will get injured, and if he is the next guy up in the NHL, the waiting might be worth it.  He and Sonny Milano are duking it out for this role, and the health of Dubinsky and Jenner is probably the ultimate arbiter of where they end up.  Sonny can go rock Cleveland without waivers, but he has certainly knocked hard on the NHL door, and would be the first guy up in the face of adversity by the parent club.

So the season looms, but the BEST indicator of how this season might go is the incredibly solid play by Joonas Korpisalo in his last two preseason games, the two wins to date.  The notion that the CBJ has a backup goal tender who can be expected to win is foreign to most long term fans, but would be a refreshing change.  We haven't had that since the Sandman (Curtis Sanford) flashed the amazingly aqua pads in relief of otherwise injured goal tenders.  Joonas has the potential to be a determining factor this year.  Think for a minute about the possibility of Torts confidently rolling out the backup on the second night of a back to back, and expecting a win, rather than hoping for a win.  That could take a ton of pressure off of Bob, and I personally believe that is what Joonas Korpisalo will provide this year.  I may be wrong, I have been before, but this could be a key issue regarding a return to the playoffs this year.  I hopefully predict Joonas Korpisalo will have a winning record this year.

What a great time of year, the games don't count.  Soon they will, and we will be on the journey again.  Cuts today and tomorrow will tell us where we are.  And then we ramp it up for the season!!


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