Sunday, October 25, 2009

Competitive Week

The Jackets end the week 1-2, but each game was entertaining for fans and they have withstood an early western road swing. After back-to-back losses at Calgary and Edmonton, teh Jackets defeated the Ducks in Anaheim 6-4. It's fun to prepare to watch each game with a sense that they will win. So this is how Detroit fans feel... feels good.

In Anaheim the team continued to puck the puck in the net at a much improved rate over last year. Antoine Vermette had a goal and two assists and continues to play up to his off-season contract that was derided by many pundits. Nash had two goals (one empty netter) as did Voracek, Teh team did allow two power play goals, the first such goals allowed in weeks.

First week in hockey season that I did not see a single game on live TV. I watched everything from saved files from my EyeTV. If you own a Mac, Google elgato eyetv for more information; if a PC user, then it's like a hauppage card; if a Linux user, you know about all options already, you clever devils (c:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good Start No Fluke

Yet another win for the rolling Blue Jackets as they down the Kings 4-1 in Columbus. Goals by Chimera, Torres (power play), Nash and Voracek (empty net). The old adage about hot goaltending being key is a wise (and easy) bit of analysis, but it does not completely explain the team's success. A quick look at the penalty killing unit is telling. Here's how the opponents have fared with a power play against the Jackets:

0-5 Los Angeles
0-1 Calgary
0-6 Phoenix
0-4 San Jose
0-3 Vancouver

Hot goaltending and good penalty killing, though obviously related, are not exclusively the result of only strong play by Mason. Let's hope the trend continues. If so, the push to the playoffs will not be as nerve-racking this year.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Costly Victory

Solid defenseman Jan Hejda will be out 4-6 weeks with a sprained knee suffered in yesterday's 2-1 victory over Calgary. Hejda was an excellent +8 so far this year and has logged many minutes (21+ against the Flames). With Commodore still out, the Jackets top two defensemen are out. Drink your coffee, Steve Mason.

Nice to see early offense from the expected sources. Nash continues to be hot as Rick assisted on both goals. Huselius netted his second of the season and Stralman's power play goal tied the game. Good to see the team outshoot the opponent (33-23). Let's see the team break the habit of scoring just enough to win because Mayor Mason is expected to shut down his net. Providing a margin of error will take pressure off the young goaltender.

Everyone's favorite bowling pin Boll was back on the ice. Let's hope he can stay clear of the concussions for the rest of the season.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Pick your rarity: the Blue Jackets head on the road out west and win two of three vs. a sellout in Phoenix. Tough choice as both realities are hard to believe. The defense again played solidly and Rick Nash scored again to power (just enough) Columbus to a 2-0 road win. Umberger also scored again, adding an empty-netter to seal the win. Phoenix outshot the Jackets 36-19 but former Oiler Mathieu Garon was up to the task. Yep, they gave Mason a night off. After watching the young guy wear down last year (okay, admittedly mono didn't help), it looks like Hitchcock will rest him a bit more. Good idea.

No Boll or Commodore.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Split Out West

A tough road trip schedule is one that includes stops at Vancouver and San Jose. The Jackets earned a split after beating the Canucks 5-3 and losing to the Sharks 6-3.

When you visit Vancouver, one thing you never expect is to see Luongo get pulled from the net... yet that happened after three quick second period goals by Huselius, Klesla and Filatov. Hordichuk ran Boll in the boards to get a penalty. Jared did not come back; we'll see if the league will review that hit from behind. After two goals by Vancouver brought them back into contention Fedor Tyutin put the game away with a power play goal in the third. The Canucks shelled Mason with 43 shots, but the Jackets held on, on the road, for a rare win in Vancouver. A good win against a solid opponent.

Unfortunately, the Thursday game did not go as well. Heatley earned a hat trick in the Sharks home opener. The enigmatic player has the crowd on his side after a tough off-season trying and finally succeeding in wiggling his way out of Ottawa. Nash, Chimera and Torres scored goals for the Jackets. San Jose netted four in the second to put this game away. Bad sign: Boll was out of the lineup after blacking out on Monday after being hit by Darcy Hordichuk.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Season Opener: Klesla's Big Day

On the day that Rusty Klesla inked a new deal to stay with the Blue Jackets for four more years, he topped off a banner day with a game-winning third period goal to lift the team to a 2-1 victory over Minnesota. Not too shabby, eh? Klesla is the only remaining player from the original team and was the team's first ever draft pick. Steve Mason began the season with another solid effort, stopping 32 of 33 shots. Umberger scored a short-handed goal to open the game's scoring in the second period.

Missing the opener, Mike Commodore is out with a groin pull. He is eligible to play Sunday as he was put on the IR, so the team will miss his play in tough early games against Vancouver, San Jose and Hamilton... oops I mean Phoenix.