Archive for February, 2011

27
Feb
11

Game 61 – NASHVILLE PREDATORS

The streaking Blue Jackets, winners of 5 of the last 6 games, travel to the slumping Predators, losers of 4 straight, and winning only 1 in their last 6, for a place the Jackets seldom find success.

3:00pm EST, Bridgestone Arena

Fox Sports Ohio, High Definition

The 5 game road trip to make or break the season begins this afternoon. Five games, Nashville, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, St. Louis. Finding a way to claim any points today in Nashville would get the road trip going in the best way possible.

The Preds are a banged up and probably pretty pissed off. The Jackets are playing excellent hockey, and even when they’re not, they’ve made up for it pretty easily.

Expect the same line-up as Friday’s huge win over Phoenix, newly claimed Craig Rivet will not make his debut today.

An exciting 24 hours awaits with today’s game and the NHL Trade Deadline coming tomorrow afternoon at 3:00pm EST.

Who to root for today:

CBJ over Preds

Blues over Flames

Avs over Ducks

Coyotes over Blackhawks

Again, overtime is ALWAYS bad and some games have no real “winner” when it comes to “rooting for” versus “needing someone to win”.

Go Jackets.

25
Feb
11

Game 60 – PHOENIX COYOTES

23 Games to go, 2 of them coming immediately before the trade deadline, but looming even larger is the 5 game road trip that starts after tonight.

7:00pm EST, Nationwide Arena

Fox Sports Ohio, High Definition

The Blue Jackets 16 game run of 10-3-3, and 5 straight games with points, has optimism pouring from nearly every fan, player, reporter, and front office-type in the CBJ organization.

The Jackets have solidified themselves as “buyers” at the NHL trade deadline coming up at 3:00pm, Monday. The lack of rumors floating around, to me, is a good omen. Scott Howson has played things close to the chest from the get go as CBJ General Manager, but maybe the lack or rumors is a sign of no moves to come. DBJ suggest “standing pat” is the way to go for the Jackets.

I would like to see a move made to bring in top 4 defensive help. It’s a need that has been there for a very long time and whether it be a shutdown-type of player or a power play quarterback-type of player, the D-corps could still use some tweaking.

The stretch of very good games being played all-around will come to an end at some point. I’m not calling for a total collapse, but eventually Anton Stralman (or someone else) will return to their questionable-play-ways.

The Jackets must find a way to win tonight before the onslaught of next week’s road trip begins. The Coyotes are coming off one of their worst losses of the season (8-3 in Tampa), but get this, they’ve also lost 6-1 (at Pitt) and 6-0 (vs. Van) this season. To add to that is the CBJ’s lack of success against the NHL’s own team. The Jackets have sputtered along, going 1-8-1 against Phoenix over the last 3 seasons… ouch.

Two hungry teams will go at it, and hard, tonight in Columbus. This is a pivotal match-up to make all in Columbus begin to truly believe, or leave Nationwide Arena muttering “same old Jackets”. A lot of you already believe, but I lump myself in with the aforementioned group. Tonight is decision time, and with Sunday’s trip to Nashville ahead… the Jackets need to win at least 1 game this weekend.

Who to root for:

CBJ over Coyotes

Sharks over Flames

Ducks over Wild

Oilers over Blues

Go Jackets.

22
Feb
11

Game 59 – NASHVILLE PREDATORS

With only 3 games remaining before the NHL Trade Deadline, and 2 games with the Nashville Predators looming, the pressure on the team, coaching staff, and front office comes to a head with the final 3 games in February.

7:00pm EST, Nationwide Arena

Fox Sports Ohio, High Definition

In the previous 3 meetings this season the Blue Jackets have won in shutout fashion, lost in a shootout, and lost handily at the hands of Trotz’s Tots. The two games the Jackets have gained points in came in the friendly confines of Nationwide, and the listless loss came in Nashville (no surprise there). With 2 games remaining after tonight, one against the ‘Yotes, and another in Nashville, the necessity of these points cannot be overstated.

In cased you missed it yesterday, the one game that could help the Blue Jackets achieve their “race for 8th” went the wrong way… of course. The Blues lost to the Blackhawks last night 5-3 making last Friday’s win in Chicago by the CBJ that much more important.

Tonight there awaits a slew of games that will impact the Jackets in the standings:

CBJ over Preds

Oilers over Wild

Devils over Stars

Flyers over Coyotes

Red Wings over Sharks

Blues over Avs

Also going down yesterday was a pretty big trade between the Penguins and Stars. The Stars sent winger James Neal and d-man Matt Niskanen to Pittsburgh for up-and-coming d-man Alex Goligoski. One might say Pittsburgh won this trade… by a lot.

Tonight should be a great test of the Jackets. The best news for the Jackets is that Preds defenseman, Ryan Suter, is OUT for tonight’s game. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Jackets just plain suck more often than not against the Predators.

Tonight it gets real. If the last 8+ games weren’t enough to fire you up, then tonight ought to do the trick.

Go Jackets.

18
Feb
11

Game 58 – CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

A huge Central Division battle looms this evening as the Jackets take on the Blackhawks in Chicago.

8:30pm EST, United Center

Fox Sports Ohio, High Definition

The Jackets look to keep earning points and creeping up the standings, but everyone ahead of them just keeps winning.

Add to that the injury to Derick Brassard (out 2-3 weeks at least) and you’ve got yourself a high-pressure situation.

Dispatch beat writer Aaron Portzline tweeted the expected lines just moments ago:

Nash-Vermette-Voracek

Calvert-Umberger-Huselius

Murray-Pahlsson-Clark

Moreau-MacKenzie-Boll

Kinda wish D-Mac would get a chance to stay higher in the line-up, but if things don’t click right away, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arniel make that move that was surprisingly effective during Wednesday’s loss to the Kings.

Glad to see Moreau finally get back in the line-up, and very anxious to see what, if anything, he can provide to this team.

Who to root for tonight:

CBJ over Blackhawks

Ducks over Wild

Sabres over Blues

Go Jackets.

16
Feb
11

Game 57 – LOS ANGELES KINGS

The Jackets have got a behemoth of a game ahead of them tonight as the take on the Los Angeles Kings.

7:00pm EST, Nationwide Arena

Fox Sports Ohio, Standard Definition

Sure am glad I’m going to the game… especially of this magnitude… can’t imagine having to watch in standard definition.

It sounds like Mr. I’m-Always-Sick is taking a seat on the bench to let Mathieu Garon get a deserved start, and lord only knows if Dr. Moreau will crack the lineup after coming off the IR this morning.

This game is massive… no other way to put it.

I really hope there’s a great crowd on hand for this game… the Jackets have proven they deserve our support.

If you need a reason to go, check out this article from The Other Paper.

Big games across the NHL tonight:

CBJ over Kings

Capitals over Ducks

Wild over Blackhawks (no OT)

Stars over Flames

Go Jackets.

13
Feb
11

Game 56 – DALLAS STARS

While the Jackets have a run of success as of late, they still sit 6 points out of 8th place. They may need to return to the level of success experienced in the early season they were able to find on the road.

3:00pm EST, American Airlines Center

Fox Sports Ohio, High Definition

Not much to say other than the Jackets must continue to fight and scrap for every available point from here on out.

Road games are all about the first period, if the Jackets can get through the first tied or down 1, they’re in good shape… if not… well let’s not go there.

Who to root for today:

Jackets over Stars

Oilers over Ducks

Panthers over Sharks

Flyers over Kings

Go Jackets.

11
Feb
11

Game 55 – COLORADO AVALANCHE

After Wednesday’s demoralizing loss to the Sharks, the Jackets once again have their backs against the wall and need to find a way to beat their Western Conference nemesis, Colorado.

7:00pm EST, Nationwide Arena

Fox Sports Ohio, High Definition

Yes, we all should be over the Adam Foote saga by now, but quotes like these from Puck-rakers yesterday, have to aggravate every fan a bit:

Former Jackets captain Adam Foote (strained quad) practiced today, but said he struggled with the one-on-one battle drills. “It doesn’t look promising,” he said in reference to playing Friday night.

Foote has played in Nationwide Arena just twice since being moved at the 2008 trade deadline. Asked why the Avs have had so much success against the Jackets, he smiled and said: “I don’t know I so rarely play against them.”

I’ll fully admit, I may never get over how that POS weaseled his way out of Columbus and away from his team.

Right now though, the focus must be on the looming struggle to reach 8th place. Wednesday night when the Jackets lost to the Sharks, literally everything in the NHL went the wrong way to help the Blue Jackets chances.

But the Jackets didn’t claim the two points they have any control over.

A loss tonight against the Avs could put the Jackets 8 points out of the playoffs again, and ending the week just how they started… back to square one.

One goal losses that fail to gain a point cannot be tolerated at this point. It’s time for someone on this team, or the whole team, to reach down deep and pull out a run that makes every fan and follower proud.

As sappy as it sounds, it’s exactly what the Jackets need. They are the underdog, and need to play with that chip-on-the-shoulder attitude that has inspired so many other teams throughout sports history.

As for the game itself….

The Jackets have struggled mightily since the 08-09 season-series sweep of the Avs… There seems to be a trend in Blue Jackets-land that when the CBJ try to tell a specific team that “They are for real” they get punished for it at least two-fold. See the 8-2 stomping of Detroit in March of 2009, and the previously mentioned season sweep of Colorado.

One would assume Steve Mason gets the start tonight. Let’s face it, he’s earned it. The recent stretch should prove to most that he CAN be the franchise goaltender that most believe he is, but it has a lot more to do with the play in front of him than many choose to admit.

The Jackets need a strong outing from everyone on the roster if they hope to walk away with 2 points tonight.

Who to root for:

Jackets over Avs

Blues over Wild

Devils over Sharks

Stars over Blackhawks

Go Jackets.




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