Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mason for Mayor?

Steve Mason earned his second straight shut out in a 2-0 road victory in Los Angeles. Kris Russell's second goal of the season was enough for the win as Mason stopped all 24 shots. Rick Nash added an empty netter to ice the game. With Mason playing so well the rumors about Lecalire getting traded at the trade deadline are already surfacing. I am not ready to trade Leclaire given the position is so important and subject to injury. The Jackets will also need to do some confdence rebuilding for Pacal who showed last year that he can be a solid goalie at the NHL level.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Yep, you read right. This matchup was the early feature (read: free) game on Yahoo Sports this week. An interesting experience to see another struggling team (Islanders) playing a better team (Sabres). A classic scenario that is all too familiar to Columbus fans: the team carries the play through large stretches yet does not convert scoring chances. The Islanders seemed on pace to again squander a solid effort from MacDonald who had several great saves, including a magnificent kick save on a wide-open Vanek opportunity from inside the face-off circle. Ryan Miller was his solid self, but the Islanders imply failed to cash in opportunities that they earned through hard work. Sounds sickenly familiar, eh? However the story has an unexpected ending: the Islanders pull the goalie during a late power play to gain a two-man advantage. The trick pays off as they score. With two seconds left, Campoli wrists one top-shelf to send the game to overtime.

Love the anti-shootout comment by New York play-by-play man Howie Rose at the end of overtime. "After a vigouros game of hockey, it's time for Homerun Derby!" Miller stones the Islanders in the shootout, but New York escpaes with a point.


Note to Safari and Firefox users: if you try to watch games at Yahoo and find the player stalls, then be sure to click the small link under the video box that says "Optimize your Hockey Night video experience here." Much better! After that small adjustment, the video worked great. If only the CBC site would stream better for me, I'd be thrilled.


Luckily the Jackets did not follow the Islanders formula this night as they convincingly beat the Flyers 3-0 in Columbus. Despite their lackluster play as of late including that ugly shutout loss to Los Angeles, luckily they continue to play well at home. Goals by Hejda, Murray and Malhotra power a shuout by super rookie Mason, who earns another shutout (his third) by stopping all 20 Philadelpia shots. Best crowd of the season (18,402).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Coal in the Stocking

Bad news for Derick Brassard. His shoulder injury will cause him to miss the remainder of the season. Leading all rookies in scoring and shaping up to be a good story, the Jackets rookie will now be a bystander. Tough break as the Jackets had a nice core developing with rookies Brassard and Mason playing well. Couple this news with Chimera's extended stay on the IR and the Christmas stocking is filled with only coal. Rusty Klesla was activated to take Brassard's place on the roster.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Big Win Against Sharks

R.J. Umberger scored in overtime to defeat the San Jose Sharks at Nationwide Arena. The goal was a beautifully run 2-on-1 as Umberger got nicely fed by Kristian Huselius. Steve Mason solidified his status as one of the top young NHL goalies, stopping 46 of 47 shots from a very tough opponent. Mason kept the Jackets in the game while being constantly peppered with shots. Michael Peca had the other goal for Columbus, a nice wrister from the faceoff circle.

A big win against a good opponent that showed a focused Columbus team can play with anyone... as long as the goalie stands on his head. As always, more scoring is needed but the defense is playing solidly in front of their rising rookie.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Up and Down

The team is once again battling uneven play. The tough 2-1 shoot out win at home against rival Nashville will go for naught without a follow-up win against the Islanders. If they really want to be considered a rising team, they need to beat teams like the lowly Uniondalers. Hard to imagine that truly great players like Trottier, Bossy, Potvin and Smith were a part of the franchise given its current condition.