Phoenix RisingNovember 13, 2008
The loss to Phoenix last night was a sign that even though the Blue Jackets didn’t play that badly, the Western Conference is better than it was last season and teams like much-improved Phoenix cannot be taken for granted. The Jackets played OK, but the Coyotes played a lot better. I’m not going to speculate on Rick Nash getting called out by Ken Hitchcock or his possible injury because I’m just a blogger without a press pass. The shots were there for the home boys last night, but standing in front of the other net was Ilya Bryzgalov, who played very well. It would be nice if Nash would start scoring and dominating like he has in the past, but he’s not and other than the Jason Chimera, Jake Voracek, and Derick Brassard, the offense is not effective yet.
The defense was another issue and I think that Scott Howson has to go shopping. Half of the defensive corps is playing to expectations (the coaches’s, not the public’s) and the other half is braindead. Howson should look for defensemen who will play their position and pass to players on the same team. Steve Mason was competent once again and deserves to start the next game. His effort on the Coyotes fourth goal was terrific, even though he couldn’t keep the puck out of the net. He actually stopped Shane Doan’s shot, but his momentum carried the puck behind the goal line. Instead of praising Steve Mason, I want to ask why Shane Doan had two breakaway goals. Anyone out there have a clue?
The team needs Nash to get out of his funk, the defensemen to stay on the right side of the puck and pass to the guys wearing the same color uniforms, and other players to step up and generate offense other than the kids and Chimera. It would be nice to see last weekend’s Blue Jackets show up in Buffalo and Minnesota.