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Post Calgary

December 20, 2007

I was busier than I planned yesterday and couldn’t get this post finished. But I’m back at it today and Drew has given me some coupons for a McDonald’s breakfast treat and the local restaurant happens to have free WiFi, so here goes.

I made a remark about officiating and to expand on that: When I saw Dave Jackson skate out on the ice Tuesday night for the Calgary game, my first thought was that, OK, we won’t see many calls tonight. Jackson is a senior official who worked some of the big games in the recent past. Cup Finals, All Star games, Olympics, he has done them all, but he is no longer a rising “star” among NHL officials and after 18 years as an official, he is established and set in his ways. His partner, Chris Rooney has about half of Jackson’s experience and would be the one to make the calls.

And they made a lot of calls and although I did not keep good records that night, it looked to me like Rooney made the majority of calls. Believe it or not, the calls were even, but the Jackets took calls at the wrong time. The call against Adam Foote for cross-checking only 25 seconds into Derek MacKenzie’s penalty was an example of this. I watched Foote raise his arms and push them as far as he could into the back of Dion Phaneuf with Chris Rooney standing about 10 feet away. Did Foote think that he was going to get away with that? If they had a video camera present, they could have shot this sequence for instructional purposes to show what cross-checking is. Foote was hosed because to make things worse, Phaneuf was not standing just outside the Blue Jacket goal crease but was further out and away from the “privileged area” that goaltenders have. As bad as this was, it did establish how the game was going to be called.

Except that later on in the game, Zherdev was clearly tripped on an offensive rush, but no call. Jason Chimera was hit in the face with a stick and probably got stitched up after the game, but no call. On the Glencross goal, Kris Russell was hauled down as he made the pass, but no call was made. So why did the officiating crew decide to call things differently after the Foote penalty? I have no idea, but want to hear what that crew was thinking.

The reason I mention the call against Foote is not to berate Adam for his poor decision, because Foote learned from that and did not commit another penalty the rest of the game. I mention it because it showed that at least ONE player on the Blue Jackets figured the officials out and then adjusted. What was Rick Nash’s problem? He earned a Slaymaker award with three costly penalties on the night when the team badly needed him to do something offensively.

People have remarked that the team has recently resembled a Gerard Gallant-coached edition, with the undisciplined play and lack of planning that marked his teams. I will agree that there are some similarities and that would be the roster, which is almost the same one that Gallant had to work with. Maybe we should re-sign Anson Carter to fill in for some of the injured players we have and the similarity would be complete.

I understand that the team is not very deep and not matching up to Calgary and others very well. If you take this game and the Boston loss together, it showed that the NHL has figured out that the way to beat the Jackets is to keep them away from the crease area and not allow them to follow-up on their shots. For both games, the Blue Jackets took more shots than their opponent, but have one goal to show for it. Instead of calling up Derick Brassard to help with the scoring issues, maybe they should consider Tommy Sestito and his size. A lot of you are saying that Ken Hitchcock needs to send a message to the players, but he did that by benching the 6’3″ Kris Beech in the third period. The team has to compete better for offensive opportunities in the crease area and you do that by establishing position and taking the punishment that comes with it. Beech and the other forward have to play this way.

The team is competing better this year, but as the season goes along, I see a few guys who won’t go into no man’s land to get some chances. Calling guys up from Syracuse is not going to help because those guys aren’t ready yet. We’ve tried Alexandre Picard many times and he still is not ready. If you think Marc Methot is ready, do you honestly think he will put up better numbers than Kris Russell?

-Truth Serum

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3 comments

  1. Foote cross checks every game. We watch it in amazement when it is not called. He is quick, as you point out, to see when one of the refs that night is going to call it and back off. He seems to get some ‘consideration’ from some refs for his years in the league. Chris Russell would have his name ingraved on a seat in the box if he did it as much as Foote.


  2. Foote is a great mentor for Kris Russell, isn’t he?


  3. Foote is more of a Defensive Dman, then a Offensive Dman. Plus he’s slow, so Adam has to rely more on postioning where Kris is trying to read plays.



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