Thursday, December 29, 2005

Columbus 1 Anaheim 0

A hard-fought home ice victory for the Blue Jackets. Forward Jason Chimera scored his sixth goal of the season in the third period to clinch the game. Well, he got credit for the goal, but we'll take it. An Anaheim defenseman tried to slip the puck under Giggy to get a face-off but it slipped under the goalie and into the net for the lone tally of the game. Chimera was the lucky Blue Jacket closest to the play. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.

Goalie Mark Denis had a very strong game, stopping all 40 shots. Shwoing that his injury is behind him now, Rick Nash looked strong and had 4 shots on goal in 24+ minutes on the ice. Berard missed another game with his bad back. His presence on the blue line and in the mix on offense is missed.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Took a bit of a holiday break away from the blog. Thanks to folks for noticing and caring enough to email. We all should be excited now that Rick Nash is playing again, so hopefully the new year will bring some punch on offense.

Happy holidays to all.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Blue Jackets 3 Devils 2, OT

Defenseman Bryan Berard scored his sixth goal of the season to beat the Devils in overtime. The Blue Jackets played a solid game on home ice, even managed to outshoot New Jersey 39-30. Mark Denis stopped 28 of 30 shots to give the Jackets a much-needed victory.

Nikolai Zhredev had a very good game, scoring two goals (his 7th and 8th of the season). Hopefully he will use this effort as a springboard to better, consistent effort every night.

Another 30 minute game for Foote. Berard and Federov each had six shots on goal. New Jersey was 0-7 on the power play; Columbus was 1-5.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Jackets 4 Islanders 3, SO

Columbus wins another game via a shoot out. David Vyborny netted the game-winner and only goal in the shoot out. The Blue Jackets named Adam Foote as captain on Tuesday, and he scores a power play goal, one of three Columbus power play goals, in the next game. Nikolai Zherdev and Sergei Federov also scored power play goals for Columbus. It was Federov's first goal as a Blue Jacket just a game after obtaning another milestone by playing in the 1,000 game of his career.

New York outshot Columbus 42-29. Malhotra injured his shoulder and is out indefinitely. No Islander was on the ice for more than 27 minutes; Columbus had three players on the ice for more than 27 minutes, Foote, Vborny and Wescott. Foote was on the ice for a whopping 32:50.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Columbus 3 Minnesota 2, SO

The Jackets grab a rare road win by a shoot out goal by Jaroslav Balastik. Leclaire stoned the Wild in the shoot out and Columbus skates away with a win.

For the Blue Jackets, Letowski and Wescott scored the regular time goals. It's good to see Trevor start to score a bit since the offensive production has been so anemic. Nash where art thou?

In a rare mini-vacation Columbus does not have another game for a week. I wonder how they swung that early Christmas gift?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Columbus 4 St. Louis 3

Wow, the Jackets win a close game... on the road no less and Jody Shelley gets an assist on the game-winning goal, scored by Aaron Johnson on a third period power play. Rookie Gil Brule netted his second of the season also in the third period. Manny Malhotra had a quick goal out of the gate (37 seconds into the game) and later added an assist to continue his offensive awakening.

The scary trend continues: Columbus was outshot 34-19. Interestingly, Zherdev and Federov had a combined two shots on goal. No one on Columbus had more than 2 SOG. Another strange first period: Columbus defended four penalties and yielded a power play goal. Got to keep that penalty killing unit of the ice more.

Groin injuries to Adam Foote and Marc Denis kept them out of the lineup. In Foote's absence, Duvie Wescott logged an impressive 31:37 of ice time and even managed to get an assist on Brule's goal.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Nashville 4 Columbus 2

"We didn't show up to play for a period and a half and it cost us the hockey game. We played a great third period, but it's just one period -- we can't do it for 60 minutes. That's been our problem all season long." - Gerard Gallant

Nicholai Zherdev scored his fourth goal of the season with assists to Federov and Vyborny. Foote injured his foot in the first period and did not return. It was a shooting gallery last night: Nashville outshot Columbus 41-37.

Manny's finally off the schneid, scoring his first goal of the year in the third period. Rookie Gil Brule and Duvie Westcott got assists on Malhotra's power play goal. Shelley was on the ice for 4:35. In that time, he was -1 and had a cross-checking penalty.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Dallas 6 Columbus 3

The old saying "there's good news and there's bad news" is the theme of this post.

For a change, first the good news. Free agent signee Bryan Berard has been great. He scored two goals last night and has led the offense from the defense position. Not too shabby. Three goals netted by Columbus is like 8 for another team. The bad news is, of course, that Dallas scored 6.

More enteratining, actually scoring goals and even one on the power play is good news. Losing again is bad. Columbus slumps to 5-15 on the season.

We'll see how Fedorov, who was traded by Anaheim for forward Tyler Wright and rookie defenseman Francois Beauchemin, fits into the mix. Will the experienced player's impact raise the team? Will Zherdev be inspired by Federov? Possible good news down the road to mitigate the waiving of solid defensive center Todd Marchant. He got caught on a team that need scoring while it waits for its ace to heal. Expect Nash back by mid-December, which won't come fast enough for Jacket fans.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

St. Louis 2 Columbus 0

A goose egg against a team that had lost 11 games in a row. True to form, the Blues eeked out only 16 shots against Marc Denis. Unfortunately, two third period goals sunk the Jackets on their home ice.

For the Blues, Lee Stempniak broke the scoreless game after picking off a sloppy pass in the Columbus defensive zone by Bryan Berard. Stempniak then came in alone and beat Denis on a quick deke and a flip into the net. The Blues added a late goal but one was enough. Despite Columbus outshooting St. Louis 36-16, goalie Curtis Sanford gets star of the game for the shutout.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Canucks 5 Blue Jackets 3

Another road game, another road loss. Apparently the point that management tried to make to Nicholai Zherdev came across. A healthy scratch last night, tonight Zherdev was hell on skates. In a losing effort, Zherdev scored two goals and assisted on the other (Vyborny). We'll see if there is a carryover effect or if the lesson holds for only one game. At the very least it's nice to see Gallant try something during this tough stretch. Penalties again killed Columbus as they gave up two second period power play goals to erase a solid team effort in the first period.

No Rick Nash tonight. He hurt his left knee last night in Calgary and they held him out of the lineup. Vacouver's Markus Naslund scored his 8th goal of the season into an empty net with 10 seconds left in the game.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Columbus at Calgary
third period

Denis loses his goalstick and Calgary catches the Columbus defense asleep. Reinprecht sneaks one by Denis to tie the game.

Not much in the way of results at this point, but the power play looks much better with Klesla and Nash in the lineup. The unit looks faster and more polished.

Wow, what a great glove save by Kiprusoff robbing Nash. Big stop. Two minutes later Calgary gets a goal that pinballs off of Denis and Nilson as the Calgary player crashes into the goal. The puck crosses the line a split second before the goal comes off the moorings. 2-1 Calgary.

Nash lands awkwardly as he tried a move and limped off the ice. His next shift is a short one; on ice for only a few seconds then later he left the bench.

A two-on-one with 4 minutes left, Letwoski and Fritsche with Letowski shooting one into the pads of Kiprusoff.

Columbus pulls Deni with less than a minute left. shortly thereafter Calgary takes a bad penalty to give Columbus a power play. Malhotra wins the key faceoff, but the Jackets cannot amount an attack.

A very entertaining game concluding with that familiar empty feeling at the end.

Calgary 2 Columbus 1
Columbus at Calgary
second period

Early in the second period Nash makes a tough hit ands Vyborny finishes off the play for the goal that makes him the Blue Jackets all time scoring leader. 1-0 Jackets.

Goertzen and Ritchie go at it after Goertzen gave a bit of a high hit on a Calgary defenseman. It has been a tough hitting game. The kind of game you expect when playing a Sutter coached team.

Fantastic play by Nash that led to a great scoring chance for Malhotra. From behind the Calgary net with a guy on him, Nash slipped a pass betwen his legs; Malhotra drew it across to his forehand but fanned on the open net. A beautiful play that made a nice highlight but not a goal.

Denis brain farts and gets the no goalie handling the puck penalty. That's one brain fart for each goalie. It makes me wonder why the NHL will equate (timewise) a goalie playing a puck with slashing or roughing. Wouldn't making this offense a whistle and faceoff in the defensive zone be enough?

Wescott gets a holding penalty with a little more than a minute to go in the period. A fitting end to the second. Columbus 1 Calgary 0
Columbus at Calgary
first period

The longest period of the year

Penalties again! The first period was penalty riddled. Sheesh, they got one within the first two minutes of the game. Too many men on the ice a few minutes later. A couple of minutes later a Jody Shelley penalty erases a goal by Goertzen. Follow that penalty wih yet another by Shelley who managed to not get back to the bench after leaving the penalty box! Unbelievable. The offense will not gain any momentum if they have to spend more than half their time killing penalties. Shelley and McCarty battle and each traded a few before being sent to the lockerroom for the remainder of the period. Malhotra gets a holding call and Calgary gets power play number five in the first period. Luckily Kiprusoff has a brain fart and handles the puck outside the restricted zone for goalies. The period mercifully ends somehow without any goals. Calgary has 11 shots to 4 for Columbus. Note: two of those shots were slow clearing shots by penalty killers that just happened to be on goal.

Nicholai Zherdev was a healthy scratch.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Oilers 5 Blue Jackets 1

The game featured the return of Rick Nash and Rusty Klesla. Nash made his presence felt in the first period when he decked Michael Peca with a solid check in open ice. Peca sustained a mild concussion from the hit and did not return. A few minutes later Klesla scored from the point on a low shot that Nash actually jumped over and served to screen a helpless Markkanen.

Denis made a beautiful save during Edmonton's first power play. He sprawled across the crease to stone the winger and keep the game scoreless. The first period ended knotted at one with the Blue Jackets rising in energy.

Talented Edmonton forward Ales Hemsky (4 points in his last game) scored an early power play goal in the second, a short-sider that beat Denis. He looks like he plays the game a bit faster than everyone else on the ice. Edmonton has a good one in Hemsky.

Defenseman Luke Richardson absolutely nailed winger Georges Laraque two times in the Columbus defensive zone along the boards.

Edmonton rang two shots off the post in the second period. Too many penalties. Two third period goals by Edmonton within 41 seconds of each other put the game away. The first period ended with the Blue Jackets charged and the thir period ended wih Edmonton skating circles around Columbus.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Wild 3 Blue Jackets 1

A late goal by Minnesota made the final score appear larger than the game was close. The second game of a home-and-home matchup with Minnesota ends with a Todd White goal with 30 seconds left.

A tight-checking game like the one the night before, this time Minnesota came out on top. Hard to fault the Jackets since they have been playing better, though the offense has yet to spread its wings. Missing both Nash and Brule certainly has something to do with the lack of scoring.

David Vyborny had the lone Columbus goal, a first period power play goal set up by Berard and Zherdev. Martin Prusek started his third straight game in goal. Looks like Denis will ride the pines as Gallant rides a hot goalie. Columbus managed only 16 shots on goal while Minnesota had 24.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Blue Jackets 2 Wild 1, Shootout

The Blue Jackets win their second game in a row and first in franchise history via the shootout. Trevor Letowski neeted the game winner during the shootout's fifth sudden-death round. Normally shootouts are three tries per team; if tied after three rounds, the next rounds are sudden-death types (meaning: you score and the opponent does not then you win). During the third period, Adam Foote scored his third goal and second in the last two games to tie the score.

Martin Prusek was in goal for the second straight game for Columbus. Wow, Columbus outshot Minnesota 59-34. The Jackets had an incredible 24 shots in the third period yet only managed one goal. Vyborny had 6 shots on goal. Columbus only had three penalties during the game.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Blue Jackets 3 Predators 2 OT

Adam Foote's short-handed goal with less than a minute left in overtime gave the Blue Jackets a home ice win. The victory snapped an 8 game winning streak for Nashville. Letowski (his 3rd goal of the season) and Hartigan (1st of the season; a power play goal) also scored for Columbus.

It was nice to see the Jackets come through in overtime after allowing Nashville to score a goal with 20 seconds left in overtime.

Martin Prusek was in goal for Columbus. The Jackets outshot Nashville, 34-24. After being blistered by Detroit this week, it was important to get a victory to keep the team from a freefall.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Red Wings 6 Blue Jackets 2

Same result, different day. The downward spiraling Blue Jackets drop another one to the Red Wings. I guess there was improvement as they managed to score this time. Bryan Berard (power play goal) netted his third goal of the season and Trevor Letowski got his second. Not enough firepower for Columbus to keep up with the powerful Detroit club. Detroit was a gaudy 4-8 on the power play, especially galling given that they performed this scoring frenzy on Columbus ice.

Berard and Malhotra lead the team in scoring with a low 5 points apiece. It looks like a rough season in Columbus.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Red Wings 6 Blue Jackets 0

Detroit blasted the Jackets at home in Columbus. Detroit dominated in every facet of the game, including 2-5 on the power play. Not much to add here given the miserable performance by the outmatched Jackets. The injured and still out Rick Nash (or Mario Lemeiux or Wayne Gretzy for that matter) would not have made a difference to the outcome. This game was the first one that Columbus really looked bad. Really bad.

Monday, October 17, 2005

game 06: Kings 3 Blue Jackets 1

The Blue Jackets get overpowered once again. Nash's scoring punch being off ice has left them weak offensively, but hsi loss should not cripple the team. The real problem is that no player has stepped into the leadership void during Nash's absence. Who will it be? Nikolai Zherdev, a spark and exciting player last year, scored his first goal of the season in the third period. Hopefully Zherdev will use the goal to start fulfilling his seemingly vast potential.

Misc: Anaheim outshot Columbus 31-20. Power plays: Los Angeles 2-9; Columbus 0-7. Through six games the Blue Jackets have only scored 11 goals while allowing opponents to net 19.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Brule Out for Six Weeks

First round draft pick Gilbert Brule broke his sternum and will miss six weeks. Flames defenseman Roman Hamrlik delivered the hit that injured Brule, who is now on injured reserve until nearly the end of November. It's a setback for the youngster who played hard in the preseason to make the team.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

game 05: Ducks 4 Blue Jackets 3

The Jackets lost a see-saw battle with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 4-3. Anaheim would go ahead and Columbus would catch up. A late goal by Keith Carney put the Ducks ahead for good a couple of minutes after Jan Hrdina's second goal as a Blue Jacket (and second goal of the game) had knotted the game at 3. Defenseman Bryan Berard had a strong game, scoring a goal and adding an assist.

Misc: Anaheim outshot Columbus 36-19. Power plays: Anaheim 1-6; Columbus 2-9. Anaheim's power play goal snapped a 14 penalty kill streak by Columbus. Rick Nash missed another game. Jody Shelley had almost twice as many minutes in the penalty box (9:00) than he had on the ice (4:44).

Thursday, October 13, 2005

game 04: Sharks 4 Blue Jackets 1

On the road the Jackets got spanked by San Jose. A late goal by Suchy kept them from being shutout. One thing is very clear even at this early point: No Rick Nash, no wins. They need their star on the ice... once he is healthy. Though there is no need to rush him back, he is missed. Sorely.

Misc: San Jose outshot Columbus 36-27. Power plays: Chicago 0-9; Columbus 0-6. Foote was on the ice for over 26 minutes, the most for both teams.

Monday, October 10, 2005

game 03: Blue Jackets 3 Black Hawks 2

Jackets defenseman Bryan Berard had a hand in two goals (a power play goal and an assist) against his old team. In the first period, newly acquired Jason Chimera netted a goal in his first game as a Blue Jacket, assists to Malhotra and Letowski. Jody Shelley, of all people, got into the act with a goal assisted by Berard and Balastik.

Misc: Rick Nash again did not play. Chicago outshot Columbus 32-27. Power plays: Chicago 1-8; Columbus 1-4. Denis in goal outduels Khabibulin. On Saturday, the Blue Jackets got Chimera in a deal that sent Geoff Sanderson and Tim Jackman to Phoenix for Chimera, defenseman Cale Hulse and forward Mike Rupp.
game 02: Flames 3 Blue Jackets 1

Calgary ruined the home opener in Columbus by handing the Jackets a 3-1 defeat. The game was a solid affair with good, solid checking. For Calgary, Shean Donovan opened the scoring in the second period. Early in the third period Trevor Letowski notched his first goal of the season with assists to Zherdev and Marchant. A late goal by Darren McCarty sealed the lead near the end of the game.

Misc: Goalie Marc Denis faced 38 shots while Columbus only managed 20 shots on goal. Columbus killed all 8 of its short-handed situations and was 1-5 on the power play. Rick Nash did not play due to a lingering ankle sprain. Jackets rookie forward Gilbert Brule was stoned by Miikka Kiprusoff on a breakaway in the second period.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

game 01

Capitals 3 Blue Jackets 2

The Blue Jackets dropped their season opener in Washington to the Capitals. It's a tough loss given that they had a 2-0 lead into the second period. For the Jackets, Dan Fritsche netted both goals. First round selection Gilbert Brule got his first NHL point, assisting on Fritsche's first goal. Caps forward Alexander Ovechkin, a young Russian making his NHL debut, played tough and scored two goals. Rick Nash aggravated his ankle, sprained in training camp, and did not skate in the third period.

Misc: Pascal Leclaire was in goal for Columbus. The Blue Jackets outshot Washington 37-19. Columbus was 0-9 on the power play.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Here Comes the Regular Season

Wednesday is opening night for the Blue Jackets. Hopefully the team will overcome its flu-bug and head into teh season with a new energy. Top draft pick Gilbert Brule may have worked his way onto the team with a strong preseason, leading the Blue Jackets with 5 points. Brule's scrappy play would look good on the front line.

As we enter the new year, keep an eye on Gerard Gallant as he enters his first full season as Blue Jackets coach. I think he is up for the task though that task is a hard one - developing chemistry on a team loaded with young players. Nash and Zherdev should be fun to watch. As always, we'll cheer for the Blue Jackets unheralded hero, David Vyborny. Hopefully goalie Marc Denis will be able to shine now that he has a few veterans on defense in front of him.

Let the games begin!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Nash Out Two Weeks

After spraining an ankle during a scrimmage, Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash will be out a minimum of two weeks.

This summer Nash, a restricted free agent and the first overall pick of the 2002 draft, re-signed with Columbus, inking a $27 million five-year contract that had general managers around the league shaking their heads. We'll see what big money does to Nash who now carries the label of "The Franchise" in Columbus.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Shoring Up the Defense

The Blue Jackets signed veteran defenseman Adam Foote, 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, to a three year $13.8 million deal. Foote had been a stalwart for the Colorado Avalanche's two Stanley Cup winning teams.

A few days later Columbus signed another veteran, Brian Berard. Another defenseman with good size (6'2", 218 pounds), Berard was signed for two years at $2.2 million per season. Hockey fans may remember him as the former rookie of the year (when a member of the Islanders) who had a terrible eye injury after being hit in the eye by a high stick.

These two signings are vital to the improvement of the young team. As noted in last year's blogs, the Blue Jackets need defensive help to go with the young offensive talent. Adding veteran help will serve to stabilize the defense for goalie Mark Denis and to provide leadership for the younger guys. Don't get me wrong - they need to sign a scorer or three - but management deserves kudos for these intelligent signings.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Brule Chosen in Draft's Round One

Eclipsed by the top choice of Sidney Crosby, well-regarded Gilbert Brule was the top pick for the Blue Jackets . The 5'10" 175 pound center is descibed as a tough, quick and hard-working grinder with a right-hand shot, possibly in the Kris Draper mold but with a potentially higher upside. It should be noted that Brule was a two-time scholastic player of the year so add intelligence to his list of strengths. If those qualities bear fruit through hard work, Columbus has an excellent prospect.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The End of the Beginning

The owners and players begrudingly signed papers allowing them to once again gouge fans and earn millions. We all should feel sorry for them, especially poor slobs like Jeremy Roenick.

Conspiracy theorists like me patted their hands together, donned foil hats and did the Macarena when we we learned that the Penguins won the lottery for the chance to draft Sidney Crosby. It would have nothing to do with the fact that the Pittsburgh franchise teeters as its aging superstar Mario Lemieux continues to play despite being cheesed off by practices and games that infringe upon his tee times.

The NHL sees the impossible task: try getting a stadium in a town that has already squandered millions by awarding one to the Pirates (last seen in the playoffs sometime before the Inquisition). The Steelers get what they want since Pittsburgh is a football town and they do manage to make it into the playoffs virtually every year. Face it, it is easier to get a plumber than to get Steeler season tickets. Enough said.

Crosby will head to Pittsburgh to prop up a flagging franchise so Mario can go whirring off into the sunset for a quick 18 before supper at the club. Sounds about as random as the Knicks drafting Patrick Ewing many moons ago. Hey, isn't that Bettman fellow from the NBA? Hmm.

Okay, I'll stop. We should be happy, the twenty-three or so of us who like the NHL. There will be games this fall. Don Cherry can finally go out and get his blazers for the impending season of Hockey Night In Canada. Maybe the Bluejackets can even sign a Flyer or two since Philadelphia can no longer afford its veterans.

I think I'll go outside and catch a few rays today before praying for ice tonight.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Lockout Seems to Near Its End and Roenick Loses His Mind

Just when the apathy had grown fat on the former fanbase of the NHL, we get a hero who braved the growing calm before a bitter business war could finally end and dared to reignite the hatred of the fans. You know, the folks who made the owners and players wealthy. Right, we the suckers.

We'll call this hilarious lapse of reason "Example #375." Once again the truth that is evident is demonstrated by the NHL and its foes/partners-in-stupidity/players. That is, neither party has nary a clue about anything ressembling positive public opinion. Stepping up to the podium is NHL veteran and rocket scientist Jeremy Roenick.

Last Saturday in Pittsburgh at the Mario Lemieux Celebrity Invitational, Roenick issued the following remarks: "We're going to try to make it better for everybody, period, end of subject. And if you don't realize that, then don't come. We don't want you at the rink, we don't want you in the stadium, we don't want you to watch hockey,"

I imagine that Roenick will be flogged in private by the union for helping make NHL players less popular than car salesmen, politicians, and even that annoying guy from the ubiquitous Verizon commercials.

The fans will be cheesed off, Jeremy. Cheesed off for a good long while.

Apparently Roenick doesn't realize that the fans made him and his buddies millionaires. Tickets, beer, food, jerseys. Sounding familiar? And if they don't come back to the rink, then you and your pals will have to get regular jobs. Gasp! You might even make less money than... girls hold onto your boyfriends as no one will believe this one... a teacher, fireman or police officer! Gasp! The horror!

Can you hear me now, Jeremy?

Friday, March 25, 2005

June Draft Cancelled

Things go from bad to worse as the NHL announced that the annual draft to held held in June will not take place. What is the next step for the league? Can replacement players be far away?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

NHL 2004-2005 RIP

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman cancelled the season this week. Both sides made concessions near the end, but it was too little too late.
The $6.5 million difference in salary cap was too great to get a deal done. Let's remember that a difference of $6.5 million per team really means a difference of $195 million... and that is quite a gap.

At this point of the year, I did not want to see an abbreviated season anyway. Assuming an agreement can be reached soon, I propose to have a goodwill tournment. All the league's teams in a double-elimination tournament.