Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Seller Once More

The trade of Sergei Federov did not surprise or even hurt. Chalk up his signing to a chance to see if he had gas in the tank. He didn't. Hopefully he can pace himself through the end of the season and make a difference in the playoffs. I like Sergei and it is not his fault that he is past his prime. At the peak of his powers Federov was a top-notch player who struck fear into defenses. He had excellent hands and was a center of good size (6'2") who was a scoring force... just not in Columbus.

The surrender flag was officially raised when Howson traded Adam Foote to his former championship team, the Colorado Avalanche. Foote was the best defender on a seemingly improving defensive team. He logged 25+ minutes on a typical night and was a player of high character on and off the ice. Good luck, Adam. Thanks for the professional attitude and for giving the team (indeed the city) a chance.

The team made a legitimate run at the playoffs and looked very good during stretches. Hitchcock and Howson deserve credit for the improvement. With Foote gone and veterans like Peca unsigned after this season, the future is unclear. With many teams above them in the playoff hunt, the deal perhaps makes sense. However no one can argue that the Jackets are better today than yesterday.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Up and Down and Up Again

With the trade deadline looming just two days away, the Jackets have strung together two victories to push the team to within five points of a playoff berth. This victory comes on the back of a 3-2 shootout win over Ottawa and an inexplicable 3-1 loss to an equally erratic Toronto squad.

Despite going up and down, this latest victory was an impressive one: a 3-0 win over the Canadiens in Montreal. Pascal Leclaire, the non- All Star, eanred yet another shutout (his 10th). Nash, Murray and Malhotra provided the goals.


The Canadiens started the night with a celebration honoring their GM Bob Gainey’s remarkable playing career. Gainey was a stalwart on the 1980s Montreal teams that had great success.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Helter Skelter

So which team will it be tonight? The Bad Jackets, losers of 6 of 7 and skidding during a playoff run, or the Good Jackets? Well tonight it was the latter as the team pummeled the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. To add to the shock of that final score is that the game was in Detroit. A road win in Detroit? Hardly imaginable considering the protracted slump that had gripped the Blue Jackets.

Buyers or sellers? What will Howson do as the trade deadline nears? Keep Foote, add a player and try to get into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history? Or will he try to fleece a team looking to advance deep into the playoffs who could use a tough veteran front-liner like Michael Peca or a top notch blue line stalwart like Foote? It's a tough call, but that's why they pay him the big bucks. I know that the Columbus fans hunger to see a playoff game. At the same time is it in the best long-term interest of the team to keep Foote when his contract will expire at season's end?

I imagine Toronto fans are thinking the same things about their star Mats Sundin. Hard to imagine either team going far into the playoffs. Sundin's lack of interest to move and the failure of the Maple Leafs to move up in the standings might remove their problem, but Howson's conundrum remains.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Jackets Flounder After Break

The pre-All Star run momentum crashed and died over the extended weekend. The Jackets drop four out of five and look to be lost at times. I have been ill with a bad flu so I have missed several games. With the team playing so poorly I guess it is a good time to miss games.