Every Tuesday, WFNY’s The 5-Hole brings you up to date with the goings-on of the CBJ…
The Week That Was
Week: 1-1-0, 2 points
Overall: 1-1-0, 2 points (4th division; T7th conference)
The regular season is finally upon us! The Jackets opened on Friday, winning a thriller in overtime in Dallas, but followed up on Saturday with a rather lack-luster loss in Phoenix. Looking tired and uninspired–and facing a Coyotes team fired up for its own home opener–the Jackets evened out at 1-1-0 for the season:
On Saturday, two microcosms for Columbus were: Derick Brassard scored a goal early in the second period to cut the score to 2-1, and the team promptly gave up a goal to Phoenix to push the lead back to two; and Rick Nash missed on two short-handed break-aways where he was 1-on-1 with the goalie. That was about it.
Going forward, this section is being moved up in the column to highlight the games upcoming in the week ahead, and any other tidbits of information.
The Jackets finish their three-game road trip tonight (10/14) in San Jose (though this blogger is still so tired from the Browns game last night that the 10 PM EDT puck-drop is a bit daunting). After that, the team will spend a few days traveling back east and reacclimating themselves before opening the home schedule on Friday (10/17) against Nashville. You can snag tickets through the team’s website. They finish the week the very next night on the road, against those same Nashville Predators.
Who’s Hot, Who’s Not
In a new segment of the 5-Hole we will try to highlight some trends for the Jackets’ players. While obviously it’s a bit early in the season to assign these labels to players, so far through two games a few things have happened to help us get this started.
Hot: Derick Brassard and Jakub Voracek. Thanks in large part to a concussion in camp, Brassard was moved from the first line back to the second and teamed up with Voracek and Jason Chimera (though both Brassard and Voracek are seeing time on the ice with various casts of other players). And, both youngsters have responded well thus far, each with two points: Voracek had a goal and assist against Dallas, and Brassard has scored goals in each of the first two games. Both players are +2 to this point, which is a positive sign as well. The Jackets are counting on these two rookies to contribute immediately, and so far they have not looked out of place.
Not: Michael Peca. Peca was suspended indefinitely (at least 10 games, pending appeal) for “committing physical abuse of officials” in Dallas on Friday night. Peca was tripped by a Stars player (no penalty was called), but that player went on to assist in a game-tying goal as Peca was trying to get back into the play. Peca then skated to the referee to argue the non-call. According to Peca,
The only contact was me grabbing his arm to slow him down, because he was skating away and I wanted to plead my case. They’re claiming I hit (a) linesman with my stick after I hit the glass with it, which is completely false.
Whomever you believe (there doesn’t appear to be any video of the incident), the Jackets will be without the veteran centerman for the short-term, at least. Coupled with the injury to Manny Malhotra, and the Jackets are down two veteran centers. Andrew Murray has filled Peca’s spot since his suspension.
Winger Raffi Torres is “on schedule” in his rehab from a separated shoulder. He shot pucks recently for the first time since the injury, and said the shoulder was sore after shooting and was also tender in general. Also in that article, Tom Reed says that goalie Steve Mason’s knee rehab continues. He was facing shots and testing his knee, and reports full range of motion. He’s expected to be in Columbus for another few weeks before going to Syracuse to play with the AHL Crunch.
Quote of the Week
In the comments for a write up of the Jackets’ first pre-season game, someone suggested the Jackets move their AHL team to Cleveland to help bolster fan interest. In a Q/A session with team president Mike Priest in The Dispatch, that very question came up.
First, the decision on the location of our AHL affiliation is based on what the hockey department feels is best from a development standpoint. If from a development standpoint it is in the best interest of the team to be in Ohio than it would be in [sic] added benefit from a marketing perspective and we would welcome the opportunity. However, we are currently very happy in Syracuse and a change is not being contemplated at this time. –Jackets’ Team President Mike Priest
Link(s) of the Week
We’re trying all kinds of new things out in this column now that the season has started. I saw this link on the Puck Rakers Dispatch blog, and in an effort to broaden my source horizons I’m going to try to find AT LEAST one good non-Columbus-media link about the Jackets each week. This week’s link:
The Hockey News brings us their Fantasy Pool Look: Top rookie scorers post. #2, #3, and #10… certainly an encouraging thought!