Dose of Reality #6November 12, 2006
Dose of Reality
This is two for one special. I watched the Blues game on Thursday, fighting off the boredom that it brought on and also watched the Oilers game last night, which was not any easier.
So, the Jackets beat the Blues 4-2, a game they were supposed to win. The team was almost workmanlike, getting the goals when they needed them, but saving their energy for another battle. I thought that Rick Nash could have had three goals on one shift before he finally did put one by Legace when the team needed it and Klesla and Fritsche also ended their personal droughts.
It was nice to see the Jackets beat Manny Legace, a goalie who seems to own them. Legace’s performance on Thursday would make you question how he ever beat the Jackets so many times in the past, but sometimes in sports, momentum will shift without reason. I look forward to seeing the Jackets face Legace again.
But last night I had a new experience, watching a home Jackets game live on television. And it was not easy to sit through the whole game. I found myself channel surfing during every commercial break and between periods, looking for games with some excitement. But I told Drew that I would watch the game and file this report.
The Jackets came out fast and matched Edmonton check by check as the game started. But as the first period went on, you could see the control and tempo slip away from them. Edmonton had the game under control from about the fifteen-minute mark and never gave it up.
The first two goals Leclaire let in were awful and Pascal knows it. The TV announcers claimed that he might have been screened on Hemsky’s goal, but that is charitable. The second Edmonton goal scored by Lupul was not a good effort by Leclaire. It was at this point that the Jackets needed to find a way to score because Edmonton knows that Columbus doesn’t have the firepower to move quickly.
Now I know that the third Edmonton goal was with a man advantage because the Svitov penalty expired, but it was only within seconds of termination and the Jackets did not have their team back at full strength. But I want to comment on the inexcusable penalty. My filter for the game was Jeff Rimer,who worked with Doug MacLean in Florida and was hired by him here in Columbus. I watch Svitov hit Adam Bennett from behind and into the boards and I hear Rimer say it was a clean hit. Was it clean because Bennett did not have his neck broken? The Jackets were very lucky that Bill McCreary gave Patrick Thoresen a couple of penalties for aggression that nearly evened out the Svitov penalty. Svitov will probably find himself being reviewed by the NHL over that hit and may receive some sort of disciplinary action from the league. I would like to also inform Mr. Rimer that any hit from behind, into the boards, or to the head is wrong and needs to be penalized.
Other than Calgary, have the Jackets beat anyone with a better record? Just asking.
I think that Jackets also have to look at Gilbert Brule and make a decision. He needs to play hockey, not his iPod. Only a few players from his draft class are in the NHL, but one of them is Sidney Crosby and he kind of skews the statistics. Kopitar is playing with the Kings and looks good, but most of the players from Brule’s draft are playing in the minors, college, junior, or Europe. So get the kid some regular and plentiful ice time and look forward to watching him play full time next season.
The Jackets are now on pace for a 64 point season. Not only are they falling behind in the league standings, they are also falling behind in the financial standings. Forbes magazine published their NHL Team Valuations and the Jackets are doing about the same, 25th place. When you don’t play well at home and driving the fans away, when you make risky player investments, and when you don’t hold team management accountable, you don’t make money. And when you don’t make money, you don’t compete, on or off the ice.
– Truth Serum