Sunday, January 31, 2010

Treading Water

Another week that the Jackets end marginally better in wins by going 2-1. At this rate they will qualify for the playoffs by 2013. Wins against St. Louis should not excite at this point. The slowed schedule leading to Vancouver begins and the team can soon reorganize and see if the staff can recharge the troops over the break. Coming out of the break without hard-charging will signify the true end of the season. We'll see if Hitch and Howson are up to the task.

Near the break the Jackets are 22nd in attendance.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Something to build upon?

Even if this victory leads into a loss, a Jackets fan must savor even a home ice victory against Nashville. Their arch nemesis, Nashville has owned Columbus since the inception of the Jackets franchise. It was the same story line we grew familiar with last year: Mason toes the line and keeps the wolves at bay. Goals by Brassard, Huselius and Modin were enough as two third period Nashville goals were too little, too late. Shots on goal: Nashville 31, Columbus 17. 17?

Signs of the apocalypse #783: +/- for the year has no one in the team's top 15 in scoring on the positive side (Nash -13, Huselius -13, Vermette -8, Umberger -16).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wait 'til next year

Another week set to gain ground ends with a loss. 2-2 last week after a weekend loss to Minnesota. The hard play of last season simply is not there. There is no magic in goal and the team still lacks scoring weapons. No news there. 180 goals allowed! Only Toronto has allowed more goals. Tough to get excited about the team these days.


The decision to suspend Patrice Cormier for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs by the QMJHL for his hit on Mikael Tam hopefully will send s signal to players. Let's not downplay the suspension by labeling it merely a beacon: Cormier deserved a long suspension for such an obvious attack. Hopefully the NHL will take heed and learn from the juniors about how to handle such shenanigans. I applaud the Devils for announcing that they won't try to skirt the suspension and dump him into another league.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Three games to show where they stood. Three losses. Getting close to games becoming less interesting than considering who is available in the next draft. From playoffs back to doormats in six months.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Three in a Row

Winning three in a row a week after not winning for a month is a bit like Packer fans celebrating the offensive show in Arizona today. Okay, the offense did great... but you lost the game. Kudos for the Blue Jackets putting together a solid run of wins... though their slot at fourteenth place in the conference has not changed. Streaks have to start somewhere, and for that I am grateful. And skeptical.

The positive signs are there: solid goaltending, veterans playing tougher and good special teams. Raffi Torres scored his 13th goal in a solid season and managed eight shots on goal. Mike Commodore hit the ice and logged 20 minutes. Garon is doing his best Steve Mason impersonation, shutting down Dallas . The penalty unit is doing its job, allowing no goals in 16 chances during this three game streak.

Road games versus divisional rivals this week will be the real barometer: Tuesday in St. Louis and Thursday in Chicago. Two wins this week and then we can call the recent play a trend.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Chimera, Commodore and a Win

Haven't had a chance to comment on Jason Chimera's trade. I have mixed feelings about the trade as Chimera was a hard-skating, lunch bucket sort of player that was easy to cheer for by fans. Admittedly he never seemed to stay healthy long enough to utilize all the potential that he showed in glimpses. Stabilizing a team in free-fall was an obvious need. I'm wait-and-see if the trade of a popular, tough and skilled player will be a good thing.

Why the Jackets are having trouble reason #357: Mike Commodore - "My legs aren't there. I will go for any type of explosive stride to close on a guy, and there's nothing there." Not exactly the sort of quote you want to read from your best blue-liner.

Solid win on the road in Edmonton on Wednesday. Goals by Umberger (14), Huselius (14), Vermette (12) and Hejda. Hard to believe that on a team that does not score often that they may have four guys who score 30+ goals. Odder that Garon's GAA is better than Mason's. Yikes...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


So how did Hitchcock go from playoffs to rumor mill grist? Losing does such things. What this season hasn't done is invalidate the team's run last year. Ken didn't slip into senility in the off-season. Coaching is overrated in most sports, and hockey is no exception. Players carry the day and coaches sometimes make a difference over the long haul.

The biggest difference year-to-year from 2009-2010? Mason. It's as simple as that. To put that pressure on a young person is tough, but the conclusion is inescapable. The Jackets rode his cape into the playoffs and they occupy the bottom now based on the absence of magic. Firing Hitchcock or blaming Mason as the sole source is as easy as it is unfair. Howson has to face the fact that the dearth of scoring is on him, not Hitch. To expect Mason to work under the pressure of shutout or loss is untenable.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


I moved and have not seen a game in over a month. Good thing because the Jackets have hit the wall. After the great start, the team has won three times in 23 games and, even more frightening, hasn't scored more than two goals in their last 10 games. Mason should sue for non-support. Not sure it's a good thing, but the cable guy installs a line this week.