Archive for September, 2010

30
Sep
10

Pre-season game 6, Minnesota Wild

The Blue Jackets travel to the state of 10,000 lakes while icing their best line-up of the pre-season thus far.

8:00pm, Xcel Energy Center. No live television, tape delayed on the NHL Network tonight at 11:00pm however.

Courtesy of Puck-rakers, here are the project Blue Jackets’ lines:

F1: Huselius-Vermette-Nash
F2: Umberger-Brassard-Voracek
F3: Moreau-Pahlsson-Dorsett
F4: Clark-MacKenzie-Blunden

D1: Hejda-Savard
D2: Methot-Stralman
D3: Tyutin-Clitsome

G1: Mason
G2: LeNeveu

The forward lines are pretty much last season’s forward group with Moreau added in. The group of defensemen should give Mason a chance at success and provide some offensive support from the blue-line. If the Wild are look for some retribution for the apparent injury of Marek Zidlicky. According to Michael Russo, beat writer for the StarTribune, the Wild should be dressing a similar line-up to Tuesday night‘s squad. They are without players Cam Barker, Guillaume Latendresse, and Marek Zidlicky tonight, so the “A-group” of CBJ players has no excuse but to perform, and perform well.

Much like last Saturday’s game in Pittsburgh, this game could turn into a brawl-a-thon. The main reason I don’t see that happening is the Wild will be heading right out of North America post-game… and nobody wants to travel after just getting concussed.

Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband…

They rapin’ errbody out there.

Go Jackets.

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29
Sep
10

Comeback – JACKETS WIN

While slowly being lulled to sleep by the less than exciting play of two periods and being more entertained by my “hockey family reunion than the game, somebody lit a fire for under the Blue Jackets’ asses.

Plenty has been said about the sweet power-play goal of Nikita Filatov, and deservedly so, I’m just going to mention a few things that stood out throughout the game to me.

Ethan Moreau: While I remain skeptical of his real purpose on this team, last night he was exactly the type of player the Blue Jackets have missed for years. He was flying around hitting, pushing, annoying, and flat-out being a bitch to everyone with Christmas colors on their sweater. There was an instance where he threw a hard check and then was able to elbow a guy in the head a couple of times. When it happens to our own players, it sucks, but when you have an annoying guy on your team, it’s pretty awesome. Moreau may have the scoring, size, grit, and leadership that Dorsett and Boll have yet to consistently provide and play a larger part in this season than expected.

Mike Commodore: Based on some comments from Light the Lamp about a previous radio interview of Commie and more tweeting about horse-racing than anything else, I didn’t expect what I saw from Commodore last night. Commodore seriously seemed like a man on a mission to prove he is, and can continue to be, a productive part of this team. Frankly I was impressed with his hustle, overall positioning, and continuous joining of the rush. Even this little gem from Puck-rakers:

After being denied on a shot from between the circles, defenseman Mike Commodore admitted he dislodged the Wild net in overtime to avoid a 3-on-1 rush the other direction.

He’s using his head while joining the rush. I would love to see Commodore return to the level he played at in 2008-09 and wouldn’t be surprised if he did, but as they say, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”. I for one, remain optimistic.

John Moore: I’m uncertain if it’s the change in expectations, or the pressure being put on him, but he did not stand out in the way I expected. I think the expectations have probably risen a bit much for what would be considered fair. Don’t take this as a “bail-out” on John Moore, I’m all-in on Moore, as is the CBJ management I expect. My personal level of expectation was that he would come out looking like mid-to-late 2008-09 and most of 09-10 Kris Russell, but with size. I think Moore will see time this season with the Jackets, and possibly even make the trip to Sweden, but I don’t think he will make the full-time squad this year.

Vermette and Huselius: They both seemed like the players they have always been for the CBJ with just a little rust to work out.

I’m looking forward to trying to find online viewing feeds of the next few games to see what the players that remain in camp have left in the tank. Tomorrow night’s veteran line-up needs to look good and keep their heads up or the Wild may look to exact some nasty revenge.

28
Sep
10

Pre-season Game 5, Minnesota Wild

The Wild have fallen quickly from the expansion-team-power-house that mastered the trap, like they were early in their existence, and this pre-season isn’t off to a good start either. The Wild have posted ZERO wins in 4 tries so far, what has to be more disconcerting than a lack of wins (after all it is the pre-season) is the total of only 3 goals scored in the first 3 games.

More disconcerting than the LACK of goals is the amount of goals given up. The Wild have surrendered 17 goals in only 4 games so far.

And I thought Roberto Luongo in the playoffs was a sieve.

7:00pm, Nationwide Arena, No Television

A look at the Blue Jackets projected lines, via Puck-rakers:

F1: Huselius-Vermette-Kubalik
F2: Filatov-Wilson-Kolarik
F3: Moreau-Murray-Clark
F4: Sestito-Guite-Blunden

D1: Klesla-Goloubef
D2: Holden-Stralman
D3: Moore-Commodore

G1: Garon
G2: LeNeveu

And the Wild line-up, via the Blue Jackets twitter:

Forwards: Matt Cullen, Mikko Koivu, John Madden, Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Burnette, Brad Staubitz, Casey Wellman, Antti Miettinen, Kyle Brodziak, Cal Clutterbuck, Eric Nystrom, Martin Havlat, Cam Barker, Matt Kassian, Guillaume Latendresse

Defense: Marek Zidlicky, Clayton Stoner, Greg Zanon, Marco Sacndella, Brent Burns, Nick Schultz

Goaltender: Niklas Backstrom, Anton Khudobin

This will be my first taste of “Hardcore Hockey” this season, while just the pre-season, I’m pretty excited for the first trek to Columbus for something other than a family gathering, or just to watch practice. It’s the pre-season for the team, but also for the fans and time to get figure out the 2010-2011 pre-game routine and all the fun stuff that goes along with getting ready for a game.

Go Jackets.

26
Sep
10

Showing some Fight – JACKETS LOSE

The Jackets put forth a solid effort in their 3rd loss of the pre-season, again at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both the Jackets and Pens iced talented line-ups and ended up with a game featuring 74 total PIMs including 10 fighting majors.

This being my first CBJ game of the pre-season to actually watch, I was impressed with a few guys, and underwhelmed with a few others:

While this is just the pre-season, Derick Brassard’s face-off percentage has me very worried. In 24 face-offs he won only 6, SIX! A mere 25% for a player with top-line expectations isn’t going to cut it. Now, thankfully Brassard isn’t yet our full-time 1st line center, but he was respectable when facing off against THE Sidney Crosby, winning 3 of 9. This is definitely an area Brassard must improve in if he is to be any more than a tweener 2nd-3rd line center.

The defensemen were a solid group, but no one really stuck out, which is a good and bad thing at times. I want to see more offensive prowess from John Moore, I want to see more body-banging from Jan Hejda and Fedor Tyutin. David Savard, Nate Guenin, and Michael Ratchuk left something to be desired. Ratchuk’s goal seemed more a result of his experiences as a forward convert last season in Syracuse.

Again today I am left wondering what place Jared Boll has on this team. His fight last night was anything but awe-inspiring, just the typical jab-and-grab-on-and-shake-wildly crap we are used to from him.

(via Hockeyfights.com)

On the other hand, what more can you say about Rick Nash? Fans criticize his leadership from time-to-time and the defense is that he leads by scoring goals and winning games. Well, last night Nash, and the Jackets in general, put up quite a fight defending themselves. While Nash may have “lost” his fight, he was beastly in going for the kill shot right from the start, but missed instead of knocking out Evgeni Malkin.

(via Puck Daddy)

After watching Steve Mason play in an entire game for the Jackets, I think it’s safe to say that he won’t be anywhere near as bad as last season. There were flashes of brilliance throughout the entire game as he would make back-to-back saves without hesitation. There was also positive body language as Mason played near the top of his crease whenever logical and he repeatedly stood tall under pressure. The 3 goals given up were all excusable in my opinion and something that a full line-up would have helped him out more.

In other news, the Penguins have quickly become one of those teams full of people to hate in the NHL. Arron Asham, Matt Cooke, Eric Godard are all agitating, dirty players that get down and gritty and can really annoy opposing players (and fans). Kris Letang is quite the bitch as he seemed to really tick off Jake Voracek and Matt Calvert. Malkin is just Malkin, he’s sooo talented but can stand up for himself, I would take him on our team in a heartbeat.

While a loss is a loss, a loss in the pre-season can be spun positively and not sound like a super-crazy, kool-aid-drinking, fan.

Go Jackets.

25
Sep
10

Pre-season Game 4, Pittsburgh Penguins

After a loss in Columbus to the Penguins last night, the Blue Jackets alternate team gets a shot against a loaded Pittsburgh line-up, this time in the newly opened Consol Energy Center.

7:00pm, Consol Energy Center

Tape delay replays on the NHL Network tonight at 1:00am and tomorrow morning at 8:00am

From the Blue Jackets official site, tonight’s line-ups:

Forwards: Matt Calvert, Derek Dorsett, Derick Brassard, Derek MacKenzie, Nikita Filatov, Ryan Johansen, Trevor Frischmon, Jared Boll, Maksim Mayorov, Rick Nash, Oliver Gabriel, Jakub Voracek

Defense: Nate Guenin, John Moore, Jan Hejda, Theo Ruth, Fedor Tyutin, David Savard, Michael Ratchuk

Goaltenders: Steve Mason, Daren Machesney

The line-up that was fairly soft on defense 4 nights ago has a chance to make a statement against not only Sidney Crosby, but also Evgeni Malkin:

Forwards: Pascal Dupuis, Brett Sterling, Dustin Jeffrey, Chris Conner, Tim Wallace, Ryan Craig, Nick Johnson, Eric Tangradi, Arron Asham, Joe Vitale, Tyler kennedy, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby

Defense: Corey Potter, Zbynek Michalek, Deryk Engelland, Andrew Hutchinson, Steve Wagner, Brooks Orpik, Simon Despres, Kris Letang

Goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury, Brad Thiessen

I’d love to see Nash find a way to get going tonight, presumably alongside Johansen like he was in Wednesday’s home-opener. This will be many fans first chance to catch the team on TV, while not live, on TV instead of having to go or watch online will be a very nice move towards normalcy.

News and notes:

NHL.com has this interview with the Blue Jackets Captain, Rick Nash.

The Minnesota Wild took a big hit today as it was revealed that goaltender Josh Harding has a torn ACL and MCL, taking him out for the remainder of the season.

From Puck-rakers, Grant Clitsome was injured last night, this puts a major damper on his ability to challenge for a NHL roster spot to start the season, and potentially gives John Moore a GREAT chance to make the team, or to at least travel to Sweden with the Blue Jackets.

Go Jackets.

25
Sep
10

Don’t waste your hats – JACKETS LOSE

(Tyler again with the game-wrap-up for The Jacketsblog. Enjoy his thoughts… I look forward to getting to watch a CBJ game, even on tape delay tomorrow night!)

It always seems to be a spirited affair when the Penguins roll into town. Even though it was a preseason game, this was no different. Here are a few things that stood out tonight:

  • Tomas Kubalik played a great game. The big forward scored a hat trick and helped keep the Blue Jackets in the game with a few timely goals. Ironically, Kubalik scored all three goals from in front of the net. Two were redirected passes from Vermette and Huselius. The hat tossing goal was a great rebound snap shot off a slapper from Rusty Klesla. It was a great moment for someone who seemed to be all over the ice and truly earned the few hats that were tossed on the ice
  • It was great to see Rusty Klesla back on the ice tonight, that much is certain. What was impressive was watching Rusty join the rush on a few plays, threw a couple of hits, and appear to be more mobile than most give him credit (or expect after his injury). With that being said, Rusty also seemed to wear a path to the sin bin. Rusty took three penalties on the night, including a terrible high sticking double minor of a face off. There is no better way to say it, Rusty looked rusty tonight.
  • The Jackets took way to many penalties tonight. Not only did they take a ton of penalties, the Jackets allowed 3(!) power play goals, including a 5-3. According to the Columbus Dispatch, special teams was one of the last thing that head coach Scott Arniel was implementing this preseason. I would like to say this is just a blip on the radar, but it bears watching over the next few preseason games.

  • Somehow, someway, Marc Methot ended the night with a +1 rating tonight. This is very surprising statistic to me (and why I don’t put much stock in the +/- rating system). Methot seemed to misplay about 80% of the pucks that he came near. He even had a Pens goal deflect off his back side (in Methot’s defense, it did deflect off of Klesla first). Methot is one of the defenseman that needs to step it up this year for the Jackets to compete. Again, here’s hoping that Marc just had an off night.

This game became pretty chippy towards the end of the game. It will be interesting to see if any of this carries over into Saturday’s game. Finally, after seeing Arniel’s system the past few nights, it seems to produce a lot of shots and scoring opportunities for the Blue Jackets. This can only mean good things going forward.

Go Jackets!

24
Sep
10

Pre-season game 3, Pittsburgh Penguins

The Jackets enter their 3rd pre-season game of the year with few questions answered. Judging the goals against Steve Mason or Mathieu Garon is not really fair to do, considering the defensive line-ups in front of them. Tonight Garon will get a good chance to have another good game with an almost complete blue-line in front of him. Thinking back to Wednesday’s game where Sieve Mason gave up 2 goals, look at the line-up in front of him. Only 2 NHL regulars from last season.

Via Puck-rakers, here is tonight’s line-up for the Blue Jackets:

F1: Kristian Huselius – Antoine Vermette – Tomas Kubalik
F2: R.J. Umberger – Kyle Wilson – Chad Kolarik
F3: Ethan Moreau – Sammy Pahlsson – Mike Blunden
F4: Tom Sestito – Andrew Murray – Chris Clark

D1: Rostislav Klesla – Anton Stralman
D2: Grant Clitsome – Mike Commodore
D3: Marc Methot – Cody Goloubef

G1: Mathieu Garon
G2: David LeNeveu

Extras: Jonathan Sigalet, D; Dalton Prout, D.

A smattering of NHL talent will be on display for the Jackets, and the potential 3rd line to start the year will be on display. 9 of 12 forwards played in the NHL regularly last season, and 5 of the 6 d-men played for the big club last year too.

And also via Puck-rakers, here is tonight’s Penguins line-up:

Forward: Mark Letestu, Chris Kunitz, Dustin Jeffrey, Mike Rupp, Chris Conner, Mike Comrie, Matt Cooke, Max Talbot, Craig Adams, Eric Godard, Nick Johnson, Arron Asham.

Defense: Alex Goligoski, Deryk Engelland, Ben Lovejoy, Paul Martin, Steve Wagner, Robert Bortuzzo.

Goaltender: Brent Johnson, John Curry.

The Pens are definitely dressing a gritty line-up with the likes of Rupp, Cooke, Godard and Asham, those who love fights should enjoy watching the Jackets and Penguins go at it tonight.

By the way, I received my pre-season NHL Shop catalog and noticed these kinda cool shirts for the NHL Premiere Games in Sweden:

Go Jackets.




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