Posts Tagged ‘commodore

13
Oct
10

CBJ Blogger Roundtable: Part 3

The Columbus Blue Jackets Blogger Roundtable continues today here on The Jacketsblog. Please be sure to check out the previous installments of this week-long series over on The Cannon and The Dark Blue Jacket.
Today we discuss which player has more to prove, Mike Commodore or Steve Mason, and the overall leadership of the team.
QUESTION #5: Who has more to prove this year, Steve Mason or Mike Commodore?

Tom Felrath, The Dark Blue Jacket:  Probably Mason, as it appears that Mason’s issues were at least partly mental and Commodore’s were almost entirely physical.  With Commodore displaying that he’s fixed his conditioning issues, I think he’s full speed ahead.  Mason, on the other hand, still needs to work on his game (glove side high…) and keep his mind right throughout the season.

Dan Parker, Waiting for Next Year: Steve Mason, without a doubt, though Commodore definitely looks like he has a pretty big chip on his shoulder thus far. Commodore has done it in this league, has a Cup, and while he’ll never live up to his contract, generally owned up to his play last year. Mason, however, is the franchise goalie, just got a new extension, and at times while struggling last year seemed stand-off-ish and annoyed having to be asked about his struggles. He appears to have been humbled, and he also appears to be in a better place mentally without Ken Hitchcock around to crush his spirits.

Mike Maclean, The Cannon: Without question- Steve Mason. A team can’t win without goaltending, and Mason is being relied on to propel the team back to the playoffs. Commodore is an important player for Columbus, but it all starts between the pipes.

Lee Auer, The Jacketsblog: Without a doubt Steve Mason. Look, Mike Commodore was a known commodity when he signed here. Everyone across the NHL said the Jackets overpaid to bring in Commie, and he certainly used that as motivation to have as good a year as he did in 2008-09. Certainly 09-10 as a step back for both Mason and Commodore, but now both are motivated and for the future of the organization, Steve Mason must prove that he wasn’t a flash-in-the-pan.

TopShelf, Jackets Required: I’ll go with Mason on this one.  Dude obviously has all the tools to be a premier goalie in this league: size, reflexes, recovery, & decision making.  He was the #1 reason the team made the playoffs two years ago.  If they want to make the playoffs this year, Mason will have to return to his rookie form.  With the struggles our defense is bound to have this season adopting a new philosophy/system, Mason will have to be physically and psychologically at the top of his game in order to be successful.

Andy Newman, The Cannon: Steve Mason is the one with more to prove, and certainly the one with more weight on his shoulders, to put it lightly. Really, the fate of the franchise rests largely on Mason’s performance. Not simply due to the contract extension, because as we saw with Pascal Leclaire, a hefty new contract can be traded in the right situation. But the bigger issue is that we don’t have the next Steve Mason in the pipeline yet. While we have some solid goalies on down the line, none are true standouts that could carry this team or take over in the next season or two, if needed.

Meanwhile, Mason caught a lot of attention his rookie year, and rightly so. That means a lot of people are watching him, and either want to be validated for their loyal support, or on the flip side, are ready to write him off as the new Andrew Raycroft.

Red Dog, Red Dog Rambling: They are the big two in that category, eh? I think Mason is needed more. Commodore has had up years and down years in the past. I EXPECT him to step it up. Mason has less of an NHL past to fall back on for confidence. While Commie’s big money contract may add some pressure in the eyes of many fans, there are others waiting in the wings to fill in should he falter. If Mason repeats least years disappointment, there’s no one in Springfield who strikes me as NHL ready and able to take over between the pipes. For what it’s worth, I think they’re both going to be fine this year, though they may also both hit some bumps in the road along the way.

Jeff Little, The Hockey Writers: Commodore, and he is doing it.  Mason is still a kid, and people throw a lot of focus on the goaltender — too much so.   Commodore isn’t that much of a veteran in terms of years in the league, but he has enough seniority to be a leader on the team, and his issues last year rippled through the defense — and made Mason look worse than he was.  The difference between best and worst goalie in save percentage last year with over 50 starts was from .930 to .900.  That means out of 100 shots, the best goalie will surrender 3 fewer goals than the worst.  The real key is shots allowed, which is a function of your defensive corps.  I rest my case.

Matt Wagner, The Cannon: Commodore, simply because Steve Mason got paid this offseason, and even if he struggles again, more than a few NHL teams are happy to take a chance at “rehabilitating” a struggling goaltender (see: Justin Pogge), while Commodore could easily find himself getting squeezed out of an NHL job if he doesn’t prove he’s still got his game. While I am sure the team would not wish to bury 3.75 million dollars in the minors, guys like Wayne Redden, Sheldon Souray, and Cristobal Huet certainly show it’s possible.


QUESTION #6: Do you see the “leadership” problem in the locker room being fixed this year, or will it continue to be a series of patchwork fixes imposed by the front office?

DBJ:  Every team is different every season.  It will help to have Ethan Moreau around, to be sure, but the onus for the long term is on Rick Nash to be The Man in the locker room as well as on the ice.  We won’t know that he has until the team pulls itself out of a (hopefully minor) tailspin without an injection of help from Howson & Co.

DP:  I don’t see it being as big a problem this year, especially if the team can perform better. When they were in the midst of the losing-21-of-24 stretch last year, I don’t think anyone had any answers, and the team just kind of imploded. Adding a guy like Ethan Moreau–who looks to be able to pull some weight on the ice in addition to speaking up off it–for the full year should be a big step. I also think RJ Umberger becomes the veteran voice on this team, if he’s not already. If guys like Moreau, Umberger, and Commodore are all playing like they’re capable–and have been in the dressing room since day 1 of the season–the young guys will listen.

MM: It was unfair to Chris Clark to throw him into a new room and almost “force” him to provide leadership mid-way through last season. Now that he knows the players and is able to start right from camp, he will be an important voice in the locker room. Summer acquisition Ethan Moreau was the captain in Edmonton last year and will wear a letter in Columbus this season. Those two, along with veterans like Umberger, Klesla and Commodore will ensure that the young guys are pushed in the right direction. Of course captain Rick Nash, a lead-by-example type, provides his own style of leadership as well.

Lee: I want to hold judgement on this. I think that Ethan Moreau will be the fix we have needed when it comes to being a cranky “old” guy to bash some heads when necessary. It’s challenging to tell just from watching games and reading reports on the team what the locker room is like.

TS: For the life of me I cannot come to terms with the idea that professional hockey players need “leaders” in the locker room to find success.  Clearly I am wrong.  We don’t get to see or hear what transpires in the room, especially when it comes to the kinds of frank and honest discussions/speeches a “leader” would give in order to inspire the team or an individual player.  All indications are that newly acquired Ethan Moreau is a specialist in this regard.  Umberger is regarded as someone who will not shy away from holding teammates accountable as well.  Any wonder why Arniel named them as the Alternate Captains for this season?

RD: I think we’ll see some leadership by committee, and I think things will be fine. Nash will continue to grow into the captain’s role. Umberger will take even more ownership of the room. Others (Juice, Vermette, Moreau, and others) will speak out when it is called for — as long as Arniel fosters that kind of setting (an I believe he will).

JL: I disagree with the “imposed by the front office” statement.  It would have been tough to picture the demise of last year ahead of time.  Mike Priest and Howson have both said they want the players to take control of the locker room, and another year of maturity and the inclusion of Moreau will help.  It will also be an enormous help that the entire staff has big NHL experience, and that the coach wants the players to take control, without him micromanaging.  We are a young team by design, but they aren’t 12.  They are old enough to sort out any issues they have within the room, without having to run to daddy, and I believe that is what they want to do.

MW: The team has seemed to lack a clear veteran voice in the locker room at times, and it’s felt like some of the previous decisions about assistant captains were as much about a player’s tenure or salary than actual leadership. I think the decision to settle on a “slimmer” group of alternate captains is a good one, but what we really need is for the room itself to stand up and handle themselves rather than looking to guys who have had letters sewn to their jerseys.

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08
Aug
10

Lucky number 61

The captain and only first overall pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets franchise. Rick Nash became the face of the franchise soon after his selection in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, in a pick swap with the Florida Panthers.

We all know and remember that Nash signed an 8-year contract extension last summer, so odds are Nash will be with the Jackets through the summer of 2018… don’t throw-up in your mouth like me thinking about how old you’ll be 8 years from now.

(Ed. note, this is a continuation of a countdown to Puck-Drop 2010 in Stockholm featuring various CBJ players who wore each number, a special thanks to En4cer45)

Here’s a link dump of all the recent Blue Jackets related news and blog posts…

Rob Riley has signed-on to coach minor-league Springfield and develop players for the CBJ’s future. As many have mentioned, Riley is part of one of the greatest hockey families in America and this article has some great insight into his past, and what his coaching could bring to the table. Bruce Landon, the Falcons President and GM, sounds pretty excited about the deal, and the relationship with Columbus as a whole:

“I was very impressed with the way Columbus went about making its decision on the coaching position,’’ Landon said. “They did a thorough job (of evaluating candidates). Rob comes here highly recommended.’’

Filatov is BACK. The Dispatch seemed to have some sort of tracking device keeping track of his whereabouts recently, and now Nikita has joined the group of players training in Columbus. I’m very glad to see him staying true to his word of returning, and recognizing the need to mend some fences with his teammates. Filatov’s early return bodes well for his readjustment to the NHL and to potential positive impact on the Blue Jackets roster this season. Here’s the Q&A with Filatov that Aaron Portzline recently had.

Mike Commodore is already working to make amends for last seasons slump. His training with former coach Frank Burggraf reportedly has him skating better than at any point last season. There is no doubt that Commie was embarrassed about last seasons failings both as a team, and individually.

From the blogs; Dark Blue Jacket has a call for “82 in ’10“, or as I like to say, “FSO PLEASE STOP SUCKING!”. Given the choice, I’d rather see all 82 games in HD like DBJ, than see the axe dropped on select TV personalities who may or may not have ever been to a hockey game before last season. Something to think about along these lines however, at what point will all 82 games in HD HURT attendance? We all have days where we just want to stay in after a long-days work, and if every game is in HD, some may have an easier time justifying not attending a game. That my friends, is the much faster track to saying goodbye to the Blue Jackets.

Light the Lamp has some suggestions about reorganization of the NHL pre-season. Frankly, I don’t care about the pre-season. Much like the indifference felt towards prospect tracking, there’s a point where it’s all the same to me. The potential exposure of marketing the hell out of the Jackets pre-season would surely reap benefits among average Joe’s, but the typical hockey fan wouldn’t bite on it.

The Green Seat View has a look at the revamped Central Division’s goalie situation. Lots of new names in new places. Will Halak be awesome in the regular seasons for St. Louis? Can Howard continue to be good as the team in front of him suffers from arthritis? What about Marty Turco and Pekka Rinne? Interesting stuff to watch for.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the upcoming Cannonfest. A week from today! Be there or be square.

Finally, just wanted to let those of you who read the blog know that I was given the distinct honor to write for Puck Daddy’s “Mount Puckmore” series about the Blue Jackets. Please check it out. I’m looking forward to seeing what everybody thinks!

(Special thanks to OSUSmitty, BigTRulz03, and FrickinDannie for their input in compiling the Mount Puckmore list)




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