I’m still alive

November 6, 2006

My mom expressed concern today. She wondered if I was ever going to write again.

“You let the other guy post twice in a row,” she said.

Well, Mom… still alive. I’ve got a lot of things to say about the team, but I’ve had difficulty making time lately to get on here and do some uninformed ranting.

So here, in typical bulleted style, are my unorganized thoughts on the last few days in CBJ history.

  • The power-play was back, albeit for one game, on Friday night. Tying a franchise record with four power-play goals in one game, the Blue Jackets needed every one of them in their 5-4 shootout victory over Calgary. I watched the game (without sound), and while the first period they looked strong, the rest of the game they were doing everything they could to try and lose. They almost succeeded. What is it going to take for this team to get an even strength goal? I’ve said all to many times that I don’t know a whole ton about hockey strategy. But it seems to me that if you can’t either dump and chase or carry the puck across the blueline effectively, you won’t score many even strength goals. I’m getting quite tired of the “fancy pass” that doesn’t hit the mark instead of taking a shot or making a nice hard tape to tape pass. The Blue Jackets are not a team right now that is playing to it’s strengths. While we don’t have many, we do have one of the premier power forwards in the game. Might it not be time to use him to stand in front of the goalie and get some garbage goals?
  • This selfish “end to end all by myself with no help from my teammates” bullcrap has got to end. When things aren’t going well and you’re forcing play like that, it doesn’t help. Utilize your teammates, get the puck on net, and good things will happen. I’ve got one career goal in adult hockey. How did I get it? Going to the net and picking up some garbage. That is how this team is going to get back on track. Bill Davidge said it on the radio broadcast the other night, this team needs a couple of ugly goals. Once you get a few of those, the confidence will follow. The guys aren’t believing in the team concept right now, and it’s losing them hockey games.
  • Jaroslav Balastik has cleared waivers. After being scratched in his last five or six games, the team put him on waivers. Will he play in Syracuse, or will he remain with the big club?  In Dose of Reality #5, Truth Serum comments on how the Blue Jackets organization, specifically Doug MacLean, jerks European players around.  I won’t claim to know as much as he does on this point, but I will say this: the Jackets can’t be much worse with Balastik off the club.  I don’t think he played team defense all that great, and he wasn’t a great skater.  He had a great wrist shot, but playing on the fourth line he had no one to get him the puck in a scoring zone.  So why not put him on one of the top two lines?  Good question.  But are you really going to put Balastik above one of Nash/Vyborny/Fedorov/Zherdev/Modin/Svitov? It would have been nice to see the kid work out, but it doesn’t appear that he’ll get that opportunity.  Now if only we could get them to trade Anson Carter….  I can hear you laughing.
  • Duvie Westcott suffered a hand injury that will keep him out six to seven weeks.  Apparently (I didn’t see it), his hand got in the way of a Dion Phaneuf slap shot.  I think any normal person’s slap shot would be bad enough, but Phaneuf has quite a blast and I can imagine that this hurt pretty badly.  Without seeing exactly how it happened, I don’t have much else to say.  I feel badly for Duvie, as he’s spent quite a bit of time in the last three or four years on the injured reserve.  They all seem to have been somewhat freak injuries (he likes to block slap shots with body parts, I guess?), but how many times can a guy land on the IR before we (and maybe he) start believing he’s not a tough player?  We at EOB wish you a speedy recovery, Duvie.
  • I haven’t spent a dime on a Blue Jackets ticket yet this year.  If things don’t shape up, that may not change.  I love hockey, and I love watching hockey.  But it will be tough for me to part with hard-earned money until I see the team show me they want to earn their paycheck.  And since I indirectly pay their bills (I know, not really), I’m basing my portion of their pay on results.

Alright, that’s enough for now.  Special thanks to Truth Serum for keeping things rolling at the End of the Bench while I’ve been quiet.  And Mom… thanks for reading.

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