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Dose of Reality #4

November 5, 2006

Dose of Reality

Jackets win, 5-4 or they won 8-7 if you count the shoot-out. Either way, it was an exciting game for the team and the fans, who certainly got their money’s worth. It was a WIN over a tough, physical Calgary team that played very hard.

Yes, there was that stretch in the third period where it seemed as if the Flames put a plywood barrier up at the red line, much like a local mini-mite game, that kept the Jackets from bringing the puck out of their end. Even the shootout resembled a Mite House game the way players missed their chances. Calgary did grab the lead and it looked as if The Dispatch would run those “Who will be the new coach?” columns that they have been preparing. But two key events then happened.

The first was Sergei Fedorov, who is clearly feeling better and stronger with each game, took us back ten years and attempted to rush the puck through the center on his own. Much to the surprise of the Calgary defenders, he got through them and was poised to go alone to the net from about 40 feet out, as if he were driving down a Dublin street while the Buckeyes were on TV. Andrew Ference had no choice but to take him down and find a seat in the penalty box.

The second event was during that power play, David Vyborny, the man who thinks his contract rewards him for NOT shooting, took a shot from the corner, on the goal line, which resulted in the tying goal with 7:09 left in the game. Yes, it was a lucky goal, mis-played by Jamie McLennan, the Calgary netminder, but because Vyborny has made a few of these moves the last two games, McLennan had to make a choice and either play Vyborny or watch out for an open Blue Jacket coming into the slot. He did not play it correctly and the game was then tied.

You can argue with me that McLennan was shaky all night and if you look at Westcott’s goal, you have strong evidence. Duvie shot a floater from the point that found its way over McLennan. But I will make the case that the Jackets took advantage of an opponent’s weakness and came out with a win. That is something that good teams do when they look for ways to win.

Now with all these praises coming from me it may sound like I am already contacting the Jackets for my play-off tickets, but don’t worry, we have Detroit on the schedule. We may catch a less-powerful Red Wing team tonight because they had to play in Chicago on Thursday and came from behind for a 2-1 win. But they are still Detroit, a team that has a mystical hold over the Blue Jackets.

I would love to see a Jacket winning streak go past one, but two points in the next two games would be better than nothing, which just might be the outcome.

I am curious as to the fact that Nikolai Zherdev got less ice time, including the power play, than Alexander Svitov. Is something going on, such as an injury to Zherdev, that accounts for the ice time numbers? Just curious.

And Jason Chimera is clearly struggling and needs to evaluate his play. I like Chimera and think that he will contribute, but it appears as if he has to get back to basics, like just winning his shift.

One final note: The game was tough, with a lot of hits being handed out by both teams. It was not like a play-off game, because clearly Calgary was happy with the one point they received in the standings. But most of the time the Jackets matched Calgary for toughness and stayed out of the box. This was a game to build on.

– Truth Serum

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