Dose of Reality #5

November 5, 2006

Dose of Reality

A game to build on, as I said after the Calgary win, or was it just more of the same? The game was awful, “no question about it” as George and Bill would say. Leaving Jody Shelley off the sheet showed that the Jackets figured out that, hey, Detroit doesn’t use a goon, so why should we? But a lot of other Jackets decided to phone it in last night and you have to be wondering when this team is going to bottom out or implode.

Another tough break (no pun intended) for Duvie Westcott will keep him out of the line-up for possibly seven weeks. So OK, the team inserts Aaron Johnson, who has lately been assigned press box duty because the Jackets don’t know what to do with him. I think Johnson is an acceptable substitute and obviously so did Gallant, because he took him from the press box to 16:53 minutes of ice time, more that Anders Eriksson and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen. So why have they been hiding Johnson as if he is some kind of secret weapon or is this a bad case of not properly utilizing the players within the system? I would love to hear the answer to this one.

If the team wants to try to take some shots on goal, that would be great. Seventeen shots on goal won’t even win a Mite game, let alone an NHL game. I know that players are intimidated by Domink Hasek and take fewer shots because they hope to get a better angle, but that was when Hasek was younger and in his prime. Seventeen shots is a waste of time and not the kind of effort that wins games in the NHL.

The team has nine points in the standings, .75 per game which trends to 61.5 for the season. That is a red flag. The team should have 13.44 points at this time to be in the play-off hunt. At this rate, it is a good thing that Columbus is hosting the 2007 NHL Draft because they are likely to get the top pick and they can save travel money. Of course, Phoenix and Philadelphia might be fighting us for the top pick.

I read in The Dispatch and talk to a lot of people who blame Gerard Gallant for the current mess. Gallant is certainly not blameless here, but I would like to see how he would coach if he didn’t have Doug MacLean looking over his shoulder 24 hours a day. MacLean has given him (and us) this clunker of a team that has no depth or congruity. MacLean screwed around with Nikolai Zherdev and then signed Anson Carter in a panic, giving us a team still looking for an offensive style of play. MacLean bet a lot of money on Bryan Berard being a productive member of the defense. MacLean had to set Darryl Sydor free two years when Sydor couldn’t take the losing anymore and got us Alexander Svitov instead. I’m still waiting for Svitov to show some of his skills and potential.

MacLean is now messing around with another European, Jarolslav Balastik, and is likely to lose him completely. Remember Petteri Nummelin? He played here during the inaugural season and went back to Finland, not very happy with the way he was treated. Well guess who is one of the top four defensemen on the Minnesota Wild at this time? Hint: His name is Petteri Nummelin and Minnesota is ahead of Columbus in the standings. MacLean has a history of jacking around Europeans, frustrating and intimidating them. Why does the team waste money and resources on Europeans (and some players like Francois Beauchemin) if they don’t want to develop them and/or let use their skills? Don’t they scout anyone before they sign them? And by the way, I think it is a sin to see Michael Arace of The Dispatch cite the Jackets’ signing Beauchemin as an example of MacLean’s savvy. MacLean gave him up so that he could go produce with Anaheim. MacLean wasted him!

Either trade Balastik or play him. If the team doesn’t know what to do with him, maybe they should hire someone who can evaluate and manage talent.

– Truth Serum


One comment

  1. My eyes almost bugged out of my skull when I read that line from Arace in yesterday’s Dispatch.

    What a joke.

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