Posts Tagged ‘CBJ’

Oh how quickly things can change for a team when their mindset goes in the right direction. For The Columbus Blue Jackets, this change seemed to come when 32 year old goaltender Curtis Sanford took the reigns from Steve Mason 3 games ago, and going 2-0-1 with a dazzling 1.46 goals against average and .943 save percentage. I just wanted to take a deeper look at this change, so here we go:

For Steve Mason, the team in front of him has been playing at half speed, the defense, hasn’t done work, and has made bad choices in front of the net. Mason, while his defense hasn’t helped him, he hasn’t helped himself, often looking rattled, letting in a few weak goals that seemed to shatter his, and his team’s confidence. Mason has looked absolutely spectacular at times this season, but more often, we have seen the puck wind up in the net. This break in which Sanford is playing, means a lot for Mason (besides healing his new injury), he can work on his game, and hopefully, get back to the form we all saw a few years ago, building back trust with his defense, and teammates, so both can play at the top of their game. When Sanford falters, Mason will get his turn inbetween the pipes again, and can try to prove that he’s our guy.

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A Time For Demolition

Posted: November 6, 2011 by cujorulesdtown9 in Columbus Blue Jackets
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Not THAT Demolition!

“Be patient.” “We can’t be this bad.” 3-5 games ago, I would have believed it, that this was just a rough start out of the gate. The Columbus Blue Jackets,  now sitting dead last in The Central Division, and in The NHL at 2-11-1, are just that bad. While if this team was a bunch of cheaply paid scrubs, I could at least semi understand it. But when you are paying $58,113,000 for a team that is 2-11-1, enough is enough, time for the hard hats, bring on the demolition.

The first thing we have to look at is the organization up top, above general manager and head coach,  because when you want to turn things around, you gotta start at the top. Team President Mike Priest should be considered as one of the first to go. I realize that he is very close to the  McConnell family as President of JMAC,Inc. But we really need to think about getting a hockey guy with a true hockey background in that position. Priest could still oversee finances, which he does a fine job at, but leave him out of the hockey operations.  As hard as it would be for JPM to cut him loose, he should realize,  Hitchcock hockey, is no longer Blue Jackets hockey.

Next to be put under the microscope, General Manager. Scott Howson helped build the team to the successful 2008-2009 campaign, this cannot be denied. However, since then, progress has been at a standstill. Draft picks are developing, many it is hard to tell if they were good or bad at this point (Johansen,Moore,Savard). The one big bust, Nikita Filatov, was at the time a good choice, but turned out to be a huge mistake, later traded for a 3rd round pick. With a few good moves through free agency and trade, Howson has also made his fair share of mistakes.  Trading Rostislav Klesla, a decent defender with a small price tag despite his injury issues, for essentially nothing (Upshall and Lepisto, who both left through free agency). Allowing Manny Malhotra and Jan Hejda to walk, as well as claiming Ethan Moreau and Craig Rivet, both who proved to be useless to the team.

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It has been a rough start for The Blue Jackets, 0-7-1, and finally, after a James Wisniewski induced supercharge, the zero is gone, we are now 1-7-1. The celebration on the ice was reminiscent of a Stanley Cup Playoffs victory, my own twitter timeline even acted as if we had just won a Stanley Cup. It was a giant party, and it seemed funny, how can we be feeling good after just one win?

From what we saw on the ice, players seemed to have a confidence in them that has lacked through the first 8 games. To start off, defense, yes you heard correctly, DEFENSE, we actually had it. (Despite one Aaron Johnson mistake

A little bit of wiz goes a long way (photo: Getty Images)

leading to the 1-1 goal). With Wisniewski, the defense seemed to know what it was doing, and the combinations seemed to work well 5 on 5, as well as on the PP/PK.  Wisniewski was great, blocking shots, and rocketing his own from the point. Clitsome seemed to regain his old form, as did Tyutin and Russell, all making key defensive plays to break up Wings scoring chances. John Moore looked like a completely different player out there, played pretty confident on the ice, had a few minor slip ups, but overall, 110% better than he has been. He also scored his first NHL goal. This defense, helped add to a great goaltending outing by Steve Mason.

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Reacting To 0-5-1

Posted: October 19, 2011 by cujorulesdtown9 in Columbus Blue Jackets, NHL, Offseason, Playoffs
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Small note before reading: I wrote this for fun, don’t take it too seriously.

Well here we are, 6 games into this season, and The Columbus Blue Jackets are 0-5-1, officially the worst team in The NHL, the only team to have not won a game thus far. From what I’ve seen online through twitter, facebook, and multiple hockey forums and websites, there seem to be a common 5 reactions to this start among fans:

1. Shock/Confusion:

“Speechless” “What is going on with this team!?” Seem to be the top comments in this area. It is hard to fathom this start, even without James Wisniewski. Surely all of our players would be scoring, and our defense would be good at…well..defense! It is quite a shock to see such a slow start, but when you look at the past three season, it shouldn’t be, in October over the past three years we went 7-3-1, 4-6-0, and 6-5-1.

2. Lets Riot: Yes, ala Vancouver after The Stanley Cup Finals last year, blow stuff up, break things, just all out anarchy in the streets of Ohio. Well with the weakened economy rioting is a bad idea, not to mention you could get arrested (unless you don’t care about that, go for it.) And in the current times, I’d worry more about the loose bears,lions, wolves, and monkeys roaming around doing all the damage for you.

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A classic line from the 1959 song “Charlie Brown” by The Coasters. And if there is someone who that line could describe, it’s Steve Mason. With an 0-3 start, the one who’s head is gonna be called for, it’s the goaltender. Before we all grab our pitch forks and torches in a rage to find somebody to tear apart, lets look at a couple things:

The first thing to look at is the defense, and right now, with the exceptions of maybe 1 or 2 players, has been downright awful. Turnovers, bad passes, many missed assignments, and just being out of place is killing this team. Against The Canucks, The Blue Jackets allowed them to crash the crease, no resistance whatsoever, allowing them to bang in any rebounds after Mason would make the first save. Normally, a team would be able to clear the crease in that situation. Also allowing teams to use their sticks to deflect pucks in without any resistance, they have to do a better job of battling, because they are losing on all fronts right now.

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Based on what I’ve seen in the preseason, here are some key thoughts for the team heading into the NHL regular season.

5. Keep That Puck Out! : Steve Mason has looked like the Mason of old this preseason, making many key saves, not looking uncomfortable or rattled at all. It should be interesting to see how he does with the retooled team in front of him, when it starts to count.  Curtis Sanford is in the backup role for a undetermined amount of time with Mark Dekanich’s preseason injury.  After 2 full seasons in the AHL, has it affected his NHL abilities at all? Im doubtful that it has, but the question has crossed my mind. He should prove a good backup until Dekanich can get back to game form, whenever that is.

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