Every Tuesday, WFNY’s The 5-Hole brings you up to date with the goings-on of the CBJ…
The Week That Was
Week: 1-0-2, 4 points
Overall: 4-6-2, 10 points (T4th division; T10th conference)
I’m worn out. Let’s make it short and sweet this week. It is clear on Election Day that the Jackets have ELECTED to attempt to play better hockey (see what I did there? I’m funny!), yet they are still finding ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We highlighted their very nice win in Colorado last Thursday. They played well enough to win the other two games they had this past week, but in true fashion managed to have unfortunate lapses at the wrong time, losing each in overtime/shootout fashion.
The Jackets played a solid game last Tuesday against Vancouver. This had commentators writing complementary columns about the team’s 3-3-0 start, despite not playing overly well. The team continued to look solid early on Friday against the Rangers while killing off a 5-on-3 power play and then getting the early lead thanks to Jakub Voracek. However, from that point on the wheels have essentially come off. They gave up three unanswered goals–all of which included former Jacket Nikolai Zherdev (1 G, 2 A)–to lose at home to New York. They lost a heart-breaker on Saturday night against Minnesota, where a game-tying goal by The Captain with 11.5 seconds left in the game was questionably waved off after review in the league offices. Suffice it to say that the Jackets are not happy with the league and the refs, after the incident with Michael Peca’s suspension and now this: “As the final buzzer sounded, Nash got into a scrum in front of the net with two Wild players, while rookie center Derick Brassard snapped his stick over the goal, ripping the blade off with his left hand and throwing it to the ice.” The Jackets also lost Pascal LeClaire to a lingering ankle injury (see below) against the Wild.
A microcosm for how things are going: they out-shot Chicago 51-24 (51-24!!) and lost. As the AP lead puts it: “…it wasn’t so much the quantity of shots…faced, it was the lack of quality ones.” Better yet, another microcosm: they fell behind 3-0 in the second period to the Islanders, who were the worst team in the league heading into last night’s game. All was not lost, as the Jackets came out like a house on fire in the third, scoring three goals to even the score and force overtime. They then proceeded to blow it in overtime on a defensive and goaltending lapse.
The good news? Rookies Derick Brassard and Jakub Voracek continue to impress, and Brassard was just named NHL Rookie of the Month. Also, R.J. Umberger finally got off the schneide and scored his first three goals of the season this week. And, as we’ll discuss below, the team is finally getting healthy for a change.
In roster news, the Jackets sent rookie winger Derek Dorsett to Syracuse to make room for Fredrik Modin, activated from injured reserve. Dorsett made the most of his time with the big club, scoring a goal and adding an assist all while racking up a team-leading 56 penalty minutes in 10 games.
The Jackets play three games this week, all at home. They open the homestand Wednesday night against Edmonton, following up with Montreal on Friday and Calgary on saturday. Here’s hoping some home cooking can get them on the winning track, instead of the almost-winning-and-then-losing track they’ve been on. As always, you can snag tickets through the team’s website.
Who’s Hot, Who’s Not
Hot: R.J. Umberger. After getting off to a horribly slow start, the new Blue Jacket has dropped in three goals in the past two games. ‘Bout time.
Not: Fredrik Norrean. He’s all but cost the Jackets there last three losses (one in regulation, one in a shoot-out, and one in overtime) by giving up soft goals. As the rest of the team returns to health, this guy is almost single-handedly killing the team right now.
The team is finally getting healthy, though Derick Brassard and Rostislav Klesla both did not play Monday night due to flu-like symptoms and a sore wrist, respectively.. This week saw the return to the ice of both Raffi Torres and Fredrik Modin. Sadly, the goalie situation is still quite muddy. Pascal Leclaire skated on Monday for the first time since hurting his ankle on October 25th. GM Scott Howson said LeClaire will not be ready in time for the game tomorrow against Edmonton. Steve Mason has begun playing regularly at Syracuse, as well.
Quotes of the Week
You don’t want to waste efforts like tonight. My ears are ringing with all the goal posts we hit today. We had a lot of good players tonight. If we can continue to play like this, we’re going to win a lot of games. –Coach Ken Hitchcock, after the 4-3 shoot-out loss to Chicago. The Blue Jackets had 51 shots on goal.
Really? Let’s see:
It was a good comeback. But we sat back in the second period and let them dictate the game. Good teams don’t let that happen. –Forward R.J. Umberger
You give our guys credit for coming back, but the hole we dug in the second period was frustrating for everybody. –Ken Hitchcock
The Jackets rallied from a 3-0 defecit to force overtime, only to lose in OT.
Link(s) of the Week
In preview of Wednesday night’s game, I thought (in the spirit of my “Browns Will Win If…” columns that I’ve forced on everyone) I’d check in to see what the opposition thinks of the Jackets.
Columbian.com (Washington) brings us an Oilers-Blue Jackets Preview.
The last-place team in the Central Division, Columbus (4-6-2) suffered its fifth loss in six games Monday night, 4-3 in overtime to the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. It was something of a moral victory for the Blue Jackets, who salvaged a point after rallying from three goals down in the third period.
Moral victory?? I want REAL VICTORIES!