Posts Tagged ‘filatov


First Quarter Musings…

20 games in and I think it’s time to pass some judgment and form some opinions.

First let’s take a look at the team as a whole:

The Jackets are sitting here on Thanksgiving night having played 20 games, winning 14, losing 6, good for 28 points. There’s no doubt this is the hottest start in franchise history, but 2 things should impress beyond simply looking at the overall record. While being a 14-6 team, the Jackets have posted an impressive 8-1 record on the road so far this season, good for best road win percentage in the NHL. Also impressive is the goal differential this early in the season. The Jackets +12 is good for 2nd best in the West, and 5th best in the entire NHL. The differential is obviously an indicator of winning by a lot, but also CONSISTENTLY winning games. In order for teams to be successful they need to out score their opponents by a good margin, not just squeaking by night-in-and-night-out.

The Good:

Early Season MVP: Derick Brassard, Center

Why? Brass has posted 5-12-17 in 20 games played and has tallied points in 13 of the last 14 games. That’s a ridiculous pace if you didn’t know. He may not be Steven Stamkos, but Derick Brassard has returned to the form that was evident during the 2008-09 season, but hopefully this season will see Brass on the ice for all 82+ games. I almost forgot to mention, his faceoff percentage, while not always great there has been significant improvement and usage of Brass in all situations, not just offensive zone faceoffs.

Runners-up: Rusty Klesla, Marc Methot, Rick Nash

Both Rusty and Marc have been outstanding on the back-end so far this season. Klesla must avoid injury so we can finally see what the “original” Blue Jacket can do for this team. Early last year we caught glimpses of what Rusty could be, but injury cut a promising season short. Methot has been almost inspiring. Whatever task Marc has been charged with, he has seemingly completed it nearly flawless, and unnoticed, quite the unsung hero of the blue line.

The Bad:

Early Season LVP (Least Valuable Player): Nikita Filatov, Left Wing

Granted I’m writing this as Filatov is coming off a healthy, disciplinary scratch, Filatov has been a MASSIVE disappointment so far this year. Yeah, yeah, Hitch’s message wore on last year’s team and Hitch also took all the blame for Filatov’s Prima Donna attitude, maybe we’re starting to see not as much of that was Hitchcock’s fault? Filatov has tallied 0-7-7 in 19 games so far this season and sometimes seems lifeless on the ice. I remain optimistic that Filatov can break out of his slump and show the skill he has flashed before on a more consistent basis.

Runners-up: Antoine Vermette, Anton Stralman

Before anyone jumps me for putting down Vermette, please understand my reasoning. The only reason Vermette is being labeled on of my “LVP”‘s is because of the heightened level of expectations placed on him. Right now Vermette is on pace for 17-21-38 (give or take)… that’s not bad, but compare that to the last three seasons: 09-10 – 27-38-65 and 08-09 – 16-25-41 and 07-08 – 24-29-53. The direction he’s going is not what anyone would like to see, and I’m sure he realizes it too. Let’s all just hope he’s going to turn it up in the remaining 62 games.

Anton Stralman, oh ye of near-arbitration fame. On pace for a whopping 20 points… just one season after posting 6-28-34 and bringing the Blue Jackets power play to life. He has improved defensively (+1 rating this year, -17 last year) but the offense has trailed off a bit. Like Vermette, there is plenty of time for Stralman to get things going, and I think he could, but part of me thinks the best season (statistically) is in the past for Stralman. With a cap hit of $1,950,000… he has to improve.

The Surprises:

Came out of nowhere: Chris Clark, Right Wing

If you expected Chris Clark to be a beast for the Jackets this season, you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog, you should be a coach in the NHL or part of the CBJ Scouting Department. Many expected Clark to be buried in the minors or as a healthy scratch this season, or even put on unconditional waivers… whatever was expected, there’s no way it was in the fans plans to see Clark piling up the points, now with 4-7-11 in 18 games. It is a contract year… I don’t know how else to explain what Clark has done, but how awesome would it be to see it continue all season long?

Overall, we’ve been blessed so far to avoid major injuries, have no major off-ice distractions, and no losing streaks. The biggest test that awaits is how this team will respond when adversity strikes.

As for now, enjoy it, cheer your butts off, and Go Jackets.


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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