Posts Tagged ‘minnesota

19
Mar
11

Game 71 – MINNESOTA WILD

The Jackets travel to Minnesota for their final tilt with the Wild of the 2010-11 season.

2:00pm EST, Xcel Energy Center

Fox Sports Ohio, High Definition

Well after Thursday’s listless loss to the Red Wings, and the awakening of spring, and the start of the NCAA Basketball tournament, I guess it’s okay if Blue Jackets fans start to let other distractions come before the CBJ.

The Jackets may not be mathematically eliminated yet, but for all intents and purposes, the season is officially over.

There were good moments, there were bad, but the Jackets were usually fun to watch, barring those pesky losing streaks where it seemed all hope was lost.

Here’s what I’m looking for in the remaining games:

NO major injuries

How well (or poorly) will upcoming UFA’s and RFA’s play? (Can you imagine how much money GM SH has saved by NOT resigning Jake Voracek last summer?”

How well will the young guys play on a team that has nothing to play for?

Get outside and enjoy the weather, but take a few minutes to check in on your favorite hockey team.

Go Jackets.

28
Dec
10

Turning Point – JACKETS WIN

The monkey may finally be off the back of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Not only did they manage to gain their first victory in the 3rd jersey’s, that have gone 0-5 to this point, but they did it behind outstanding goaltending, and clutch scoring.

Maybe the scratches of Jake Voracek, Rusty Klesla, and Derek Dorsett motivated the right people, or maybe the guys who got into the line-up decided to make the most of it, either way, it was a winning combination last night.

It wasn’t always pretty, like the above pictured moment where Mikko Koivu put the Wild in-front of the Jackets 2-1 in the waning seconds of the 2nd period. The defensive coverage was spotty at times, but came through in a big way from time-to-time. The Jackets were credited with blocking 17 shots, and were perfect on the penalty kill, including a 5-minute boarding major on defenseman Mike Commodore.

I want to look back on last night’s game and be able to say that the 5-minute penalty kill turned the 2010-2011 season for the hometown team.

It was as if everyone in the building realized how important a successful kill, on a potential “score-buffet” major penalty, would be for the Blue Jackets. In the waning seconds the energy from the building built and built, and was released when Derick Brassard tied the game at one a piece. The fans were in the game, and didn’t let the previously mentioned Koivu goal deflate them too much. Neither did the team. Everyone was joined together celebrating goals like winning a playoff game, fans were attached and lived and died with every moment of the game.

During the 3rd period, Tom Sestito put the beat down on Brad Staubitz. Staubitz was a bit of a pest all night, but whatever, that’s his job. The fight was enough to create the energy for the Jackets to score two quick goals to roar past the Wild 3-2.

Give credit to the Minnesota Wild though, they too were on the 2nd night of a back-to-back, and found the energy to tie the game at 3-a-piece with barely 8 minutes remaining.

The overtime saw few chances for the Jackets, but all that matters is they didn’t give up a goal and survived to face Jose Theodore in the shootout.

Nash, Wilson, and Juice were all money in the shootout, and Steve Mason made the one save that was truly necessary.

Game, blouses.

I haven’t been this excited for a win it seems in forever. The Jackets have given fans too little to cheer for since December of 2009, and finally, just maybe there is a hint of life to this team. Whether losing so much lately made the win so much sweeter, or the fact that there is still time to get the wins flowing and make a playoff run had everyone who cheers for the Jackets amped-up.

Let’s see what happens Thursday and Friday…

27
Dec
10

Game 36 – MINNESOTA WILD… Patience

Another day another game, and I hate to say it, but with the current direction of the team, it’s hard to expect anything more than another loss… which is a sad, but true, admission.

7:30pm EST, Nationwide Arena

Versus (National Television), High Definition

Normally there would be excitement about finally playing a nationally televised game on the NHL’s flagship cable network, Versus. With the season officially spiraling out of control (winning only 3 of the last 12 games), Coach Arniel seems to be searching for answers, and it’s hard to not feel bad for the guy.

What has been most frustrating over the last year of Blue Jacket hockey for fans and all involved, is the presence of talent and the inability (or lack of desire) to play to those talents. Since the 08-09 season, players have come and gone, and honestly how can you not look back on players that have left versus those that have come in, and not feel better about the Blue Jackets?

Gone are Michael Peca, Manny Malhotra, Jason Chimera, Raffi Torres… here now are Ethan Moreau, Sammy Pahlsson, Antoine Vermette, Chris Clark.

While some are only marginally better than their predecessors, Pahlsson and Vermette are significant upgrades over anyone who has departed Columbus, in my opinion.

Even now while we sit here amongst this “death spiral” as I (and others) prefer to call it, far too many want to second guess every move, or non-move that General Manager Scott Howson has made…

If we want to gripe about not having a “true” top-line center, please explain to me when we had a chance at landing one either via free agency or a trade that wouldn’t gut the current roster?

If we’re going to rehash all the struggles of Steve Mason, then explain to me how he was so good the last 20-ish games of 2009-2010, and the first 20-ish games of 2010-2011.

Or if we prefer to go on and on about either a shutdown defenseman with grit or a powerful slapshot, or even a defenseman with true offensive abilities, when have we had a legitimate chance as acquiring those players?

I don’t say any of this in defense of Howson, because the next shoe to fall (if things don’t show improvement) will be on him, but I say all this merely to point out that you can’t keep swapping players in and out, up and down, etc., and expect to build a team with chemistry that has any shot at winning.

Patience is not a word ANYONE wants to here more of. Patience is quickly becoming a 4-letter word in these parts. But for a fan base and group that is so used to the losing ways, what other options do we have at this point?

This post wasn’t really meant to rant on patience, etc., but there it is. The Minnesota Wild are coming off of a bad loss themselves last night (4-1 at home versus Detroit) and will be looking to make amends.

Speaking of making up for past failures? As expected, Steve Mason gets the start tonight.

The Jackets need to give all of us a gift for Christmas: something to believe in and cheer for.

Go Jackets.

06
Nov
10

Game 13 – MINNESOTA WILD

Alright, this is as close to “must-win” as you can get in the 3rd game of the season.

Reasons why:

  • Opponent on 2nd game of a back-to-back
  • Back-up goalie
  • Garon is hot
  • Minnesota isn’t good
  • I’m in attendance

7:00pm, Nationwide Arena

Fox Sports Ohio, High Definition

Brief preview tonight as I’m rushing to the game and dinner.

I mentioned the reasons I consider this a must-win. Getting to 9-4 especially on a night where there is no OSU Football news to over-shadow a positive Jackets story can only mean good things for the team.

I really really hope fans show up tonight, and that those who do are vocal and supportive (if the team’s play warrants it).

One “bold” prediction: Jackets score more than 3 goals

Go Jackets.

16
Oct
10

Game 4 – MINNESOTA WILD

The Jackets make their North American road debut tonight with their expansion cousins, the Minnesota Wild.

After last night’s home-clunker, the Blue Jackets will be desperate to make the right statement to the coaching staff and hopefully to we the fans.

8:00pm EST, Xcel Energy Center

Broadcast: Fox Sports Ohio (HD)

Projected line-ups are available for the Jackets and the Wild, from The Dispatch.

Don’t call me an insider, but I say that Mike Commodore gets back in the line-up tonight and, gasp, maybe Fedor Tyutin sits. (Just a complete wild-ass guess) The Blue Jackets are projected to start Mathieu Garon, but Arniel may want to squeeze another start out of Steve Mason before the team gets a 3 day break.

Oddly enough, the Jackets only took 2 penalties last night, and didn’t give up a power play goal either. If you ask me, I’d prefer to see the team that took a ton of penalties and was flying all over the ice last weekend.

In my opinion, the Wild are NOT a team the Blue Jackets can afford to lose to. Even on the road. After last night’s game it will be very interesting to see what the Jackets bring to the table… if Arniel doesn’t like it, I would expect a shake-up of the lines.

Go Jackets.

 

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.

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.




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