Dose of Reality
With nearly a full house last night, the exciting come-from-behind win last night over Boston was a tease, an example of what might have been for the Blue Jacket fans this season. Was it a Christmas ghost of the future? Or was it more like the movie Ground Hog Day, a course of events that the Blue Jackets are playing over and over until they get it right?
David Vyborny won the game with a nice backhand goal that he almost did not get off because of the puck not laying flat on the ice. It was pretty and fun to see Vyborny do something with the puck other than pass it.
Sergei Fedorov played like he was ten years younger, skating with speed and power and finishing two opportunities. Even Jason Chimera put on some heavy mittens while sitting on the bench so his hands would warm up and soften so he could put a puck in the net.
Granted, Tim Thomas, who ironically was named one of the NHL’s Three Stars for the previous week, showed why the Columbus win was strange. Thomas at times looked like a Mite or Squirt goalie, overplaying shots, over shuffling, and going down to block shots but counting to five before he got up. The Jackets took 41 shots on goal, but must have taken another 20 that were at the goal. As I sat in my seat last night I kept thinking that Thomas did not deserve to win the game, but the Jackets would give it to him anyway. And Ken Hitchcock felt the same way, saying, “The second period was the worst period we’ve played all year.”
So anyway, the Jackets won, they get to play Detroit again on Thursday, and then Chicago, two very tough Division opponents, a nice test for the team that is finding a new identity. As fun as it was last night, there some issues that need attention.
Adam Foote did not have a good game. Everyone is marveling about the save that Fredrik Norrena made on Patrice Bergeron’s breakaway with five minutes to go in the game, but it was almost gift-wrapped from Foote. And I don’t want to go into his play on the power play. Veterans of his stature do not play that way unless they are counting down the days to their final game.
Duvie Westcott also got careless and tried to take the puck up the ice when he had Sergei Federov skating near him. I know that there are a lot of Westcott fans out there who appreciate the offensive skills that Duvie has, but there are more fans that appreciate the offensive skills of Sergei Fedorov and would feel better about using Fedorov for that task since they have the stats to back up their confidence.
One area that Ken Hitchcock seems to be addressing is the role of Jody Shelley. It appears that this era is coming to an end and we should prepare for a Jody Shelley Night at Nationwide. Jody got five shifts and 2:42 of ice time, all of it in the first period if I am correct. If the other team is going to play hockey and not dress a goon, then there is no need to give a slot to Shelley. Boston played hockey, didn’t even think about extra curricular stuff, and thus there was no need to play Shelley.
Hitchcock has to be concerned about Norrena playing the next two games against tough opposition. The play of Norrena is fine, but he has shown that he cannot play a lot of games in succession. The team does not have an adequate backup, so Detroit and especially Chicago have to be licking their chops. I would rather see Ty Conklin play against Detroit, in spite of what may happen, and save Fredrik for Chicago. Columbus needs to beat Chicago and pass them in the standings and they have a better chance of doing that with Norrena.
Although I hear that Tampa Bay would like to part with Marc Denis, who always enjoyed living in Columbus.
– Truth Serum