Opening night hit list

October 5, 2006

I watched part of all three games last night (thank you Time Warner for my free preview of NHL Center Ice).  Here are my thoughts on the action:

  • Banner raising/unfurling ceremonies: great for the fans (I can’t wait until I get to see one in my hometown), but obviously a pain for the players (especially the guys who weren’t a part of the Cup run).  Every time the camera would focus on Hurricanes captain Rod Brind’Amour, it looked like he wanted the formalities to be through so they could get to the game.  I know that this is something that has to go on, but somebody could have set that Stanley Cup banner to raise just a little bit faster (has it reached the rafters yet this morning?)
  • Young goaltenders Cam Ward and Ryan Miller both looked sharp, with nary a ‘bad’ goal allowed between the two of them.
  • Erik Cole is back.  I was one who thought that while it was an emotionally charged move to bring him back for Game 6 of the SCF, it may have been a little too early.  I think it’s great that he got his name on the Cup and all (which I suppose based on his number of regular season games, probably would’ve happened anyway), but I probably would have held him out as a precaution.  Back to the present: Cole is a physical force, and incredibly dangerous around the net.  Thankfully, the Blue Jackets will not see Cole and the ‘Canes until the Stanley Cup Finals (does anybody read this stuff?!?).  Unfortunately for me, Mrs. EOB stole Cole (and Staal) in the EOB fantasy league.
  • Someone (I can’t remember where I read it) stated that while they felt that the Sabres/Canes game was a full-speed game, the Sens/Leafs tilt looked to be in slow motion.  I think whoever said that is half correct, as it appeared to me that the Leafs were skating in warm water while the Senators had jet-packs strapped to their backs.  I picked Ottawa to win the East, and I stand by that after 1/82 of the season is complete.  Of course, they did play against the team I picked to finish 14th.
  • I watched parts of two periods of the Avs/Stars game.  Did it seem to anyone else that Mike Modano looked lost in space.  Every time they’d zoom so you could see his face, he was staring off into the crowd.  There didn’t seem to be any focus or fire.  He was understandably shocked at being stripped of the captaincy in favor of Brendan Morrow, and it looks like this may be a wound that takes a while to heal.  Will we see Modano in a different uniform by the end of the season.  You heard it here first, yes we will.
  • The VS network presentation has improved dramatically.  The only thing I have to complain about is the game clock.  On my television, I can’t distinguish between the numbers 6, 8, and 9.  Of course, this is a problem for many sports and networks.  Is it too much to ask to put the numbers that you show in your graphics (namely, the score and time) in an easy to read font where each number is distinguishable from all others?  Or maybe… (wait for it)… it’s time for a bigger TV in the EOB household?

There is still another day until the Blue Jackets hit the ice.  Tonight on Fox Sportsnet, however, we get to relive the comeback win in Detroit from March 25, 2006.  Enjoy that replay, or the other games you can see tonight on Center Ice (if you get the free preview).


  1. OK, we get Vancouver after a game in Detroit, so you can say a prayer of thanks to the NHL schedule gods. A victory should happen. But if you think a moody Adam Foote and AHL prospect Duvie Wescott are going to anchor our D, then you are in for a long season. Going with a yound goalie is fine as long as you can help him with a solid defense. But it could be a long season with the defense that we have.

  2. Bob,

    I hope we’re all in for a long season, in the good sense. In reality, I’m not trying to gloss over the fact that our defense and goaltending are our weak points (which of course is a step up from the usual “offense, defense, and goaltending are our weak points). I don’t address it mostly because I don’t feel I have to. I’m a CBJ fan, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. At least until the season begins, I’ll proceed with unbridled optimism.

    As for your specific player comments, I’d have to ask for clarification. When, in Adam Foote’s time in Columbus, has he given us any reason to call him “moody”? To the best of my vision (which does not penetrate the locker room walls), he’s been a leader for this young team. If tough love is moody, then yeah, he’s moody. Or maybe I’ve missed something in the last 12 months?

    And regarding Duvie, I think it’s a big mistake to label him as an AHL prospect. Looking on the tangible side of the fence, last year Westcott scored 6-22-28 in 78 games, finished +1 (one of four Jackets skaters with over 50 games played to do so), and was on the ice 22:34 per game. He’s no 28 minute man, but I believe that he could make the top 6 of any squad in the NHL. On the intangible side of the fence, by all appearances (or, what the mainstream media tells us) Duvie is a clubhouse leader. He plays the hard minutes, is out on the power play and penalty kill, and is not afraid to stand up to anyone if necessary. Based on stats alone, if you can find one team where he wouldn’t make the squad aside from maybe Buffalo or Dallas, I’ll not only put up a post titled “Drew is an idiot and this guy proved it”, I’ll send you a t-shirt saying the same thing.

    (Sorry, the EOB writing staff are big fans of Duvie!)

    Yes, it could be a long season (for all the wrong reasons), but I’m choosing to look at the glass in the full sense.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Duvie Westcott got those numbers because he got tons of ice time. You may respond with the claim that he deserved the ice time and I would say that he deserved it because of the lack of depth on the team. Foote missed time early in the season, Berard could not finish the season, and the team waited Hainsey out and then rewarded him. My statement is that Westcott is an average NHL defenseman at best, prone to coughing up the puck, wanders too much on the ice, and is not strong enough to play in front of the net.

    As for Foote, see if he does the outside activities that the team wants Zherdev to do and why did he miss pre-season again? Perhaps moody wasn’t a good choice of words; how about self-centered? Evaluate the type and timing of his penalties.

  4. […] Adam Foote.  Adam, I stuck up for you in my friendly disagreement with Bob.  And you’re letting me down.  I don’t like being wrong, Adam!  The entire third period, you were making passes with one hand on your stick, either taking stupid penalties or trying, and in general not keeping in position so you could “deliver a hit and a message” in one nice package.  Well, Adam… I think both the hit and the message came across to your fans the same way: “I wish I had signed with [pick any other team in the NHL except Phoenix] instead of Columbus.”  You took the dollars, and for that I cannot fault you.  If I’m in my late 30’s in the NHL, I’d probably look for the most money I can get.  But I’d like to think I’d give a 100% effort for those tens of millions of pennies.  Maybe my skills would be eroding from five or ten years ago, but I’d go out every night to give my team the best chance to win. […]

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