Posts Tagged ‘Columbus Blue Jackets’

If our Ducks look in the mirror and see Blue Jackets it would be understandable. The BJ’s began the year with a horrid start, finally hitting rock bottom in the NHL standings on February 25 with 5-12-2 record. Since, NHL turnaround specialist  John Davidson has installed a winning attitude that has permeated the team from top to bottom. The result is a 15-4-2 run to playoff contention.

Our Ducks are very familiar with teams like Columbus. We are one. The difference being where each is in their respective turnarounds. The Blue Jackets has just begun. Our Ducks run began a year ago.

When a team that sees itself as Stanley Cup contender faces a team on the rise, it is a statement game. Win and our Ducks show the Blue Jackets that they aren’t quite there yet. Lose and the reality that our Ducks aren’t quite there yet is suddenly a valid question.

These are the games that genuine Stanley Cup contenders win.

To prevail our Ducks have to beat arguably the best and certainly the hottest goaltender on the planet. Sergei Bobrovsky has injected himself into the running for the Vezina and Hart trophies. Only 3 goalies have accomplished the feat. Dominick Hasek did it twice, Jacques Plante and Jose Theodore in his outstanding rookie year. Bobrovsky has put himself among the best goalies of the last half century.

Tonight Bobrovsky faces a team in a scoring drought. Our Ducks have scored just 25 times in their last 13 games.  A betting man might peel off a few Ben Franklins on Columbus and the under. That would be a trap though. While our Ducks have struggled since those two games against the Red Wings, the guys have been able to put on a solid performance in the big games. Ducks beat the Blackhawks, scored 10 goals while taking 2 of 3 from Dallas and beat the Kings 4-3 in a shoot out. Kings just edged us out 2-1 last Saturday.

More importantly Ducks have a recent burr in their britches stemming from a 2-1 OT loss to these same Blue Jackets just two weeks ago. It was a game most observers felt our Ducks should have won.

Most often when teams are in scoring slumps they’re told to go hard to the net , shoot often and good things will come of it. Bruce Boudreau has had four days to work on timing and shooting drills designed to ignite a struggling offense. It might also be more interesting than coincidental that our Ducks have stopped posting Practice Reports on the official site.

Expect to see some new tactics in the Ducks attack tonight.

Viktor Fasth draws the start.

Ducks have an opportunity to put the swagger back. My bet is that they do.

Injuries: Columbus will be without Artem Anisimov. D-men Adrian Aucoin and Tim Erixon are listed as questionable. Cam Fowler is expected to sit out his second consecutive game with an upper body injury.

Notes: Ducks announced the signing of Yale Bulldogs Antoine Laganiere to two-year entry level contract yesterday. Many scouts say the 6’5″ 214# center is NHL ready and could step in on Anaheim’s 3rd line right now. While Laganiere may get a game or two in, he doesn’t qualify for the playoffs. The plan is to allow him to return to Yale for his final exams.

Did anybody else miss Phil Hulett call “AnaheimDucksGoaaaaaaaaaal” while the guys were on the road? We marvel at the stamina of our Ducks grinding out 6 games in 11 days. Quietly and without as much fanfare, Hulett leaves the Honda Center PA booth, catches a few zzzz’s and awakes the Southland at 5:00AM from the broadcast studio at KFWB. The guy is a stone cold pro.

Our Ducks started out flat-footed against a spirited effort by the game Blue Jackets. It’s a good thing Jonas Hiller got to work on time because the shots were 9-0 Columbus at the 7:05 mark of the first period.

A hockey newbie could see Jonas was fighting the puck a bit in his first start in ten days. Like Hulett, Hilly looked like a another unassuming pro just doing his job. He battled through, relied on his teammates when a less seasoned goalie might have tried to do too much. And as Coach Boudreau said after the game, “He made saves that are impossible to make.”

Blue Jackets were first on the scoreboard when former Duck Vinnie Prospal got in behind the D to Hiller’s glove side. Prospal stopped a puck with his head that rebounded off his glove and he somehow managed to tip in off his stick. It’s a new on me. I’ve never seen a tic tac toe goal scored by just one guy.

Peter Holland got it back for his first of the year. It was a PPG that started when Ben Lovejoy pickpocketed the puck off a Blue Jacket, head-manned the Bobby Ryan who hit Holland leaping out of the sin bin. The rookie went in alone on Bobrovsky and wristed one through the Blue Jackets goaltender.

And then, just 21 seconds later Ryan Getzlaf would battle not one but two Blue Jackets in succession along the boards. Getzy came out with the puck and executed a crisp give and go with Matt Beleskey who well was positioned above the hash marks. When Getzlaf got it back he fought off Blue Jacket protecting the puck with his body, then another and finally using that long reach deposited the biscuit in the Columbus.

It’s a goal that defines Ryan Getzlaf as much that goal two seasons ago in Nashville defined the talent of Bobby Ryan.

Corey Perry scored the winner in typical Corey Perry fashion. He’s battling in the low slot, slashed, gashed, bashed and trashed, finds the puck, elects to shoot rather than pass across the crease and as puck goes into the net Perry is dumped head over heels onto his butt against the end boards. As Perry gets to his feet, shaking off the effects of the abuse, ever-present infectious Perry grin. Remember the kid on your block who you could beat on all day long and he’d just laugh at ya and frustrate ya? Meet Corey Perry.

Our Ducks will be taking a day or two off before heading back to work Thursday. I’m going to join them. Enjoy the break.

 

David Shoalts of Canada’s newspaper of record, The Globe and Mail is reporting AHL affiliates for the New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets have told their NHL players to arrange for permanent housing.
Worthwhile to note that the Devils and Blue Jackets are among the NHL’s financially challenged members. If this were Ed Snider owner of the Flyers or Terry Pegula owner of the Sabres it might just so much smoke. In this instant planning for a long strike is coming from among the NHL’s financially challenged members, the Devils and Blue Jackets respectively.

Fact is, nobody knows when the lockout will end.

At the outset of the lockout this blog considered if the NHL/NHLPA is really so stupid as to risk its premiere in-season marketing event, the outdoor games on New Year’s Day. The answer would appear to be yes, they really are that stupid.

Columbus Blue Jackets have traded Rick Nash to the New York Rangers for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and the Rags 2013 1st round Entry Draft pick.
In Anisimov Columbus gets a Top 9 forward with upside as he’s only 24. Dubinsky is a solid two way Top 9 forward with little upside. Basically, he’s a 3rd liner who can move up for short stretches. Erixon, just 21 projects as a top 4 big minute D-man. No doubt the Entry Draft pick will come late in the round.

As a hockey trade this sucks big time for the Blue Jackets. Sam Pollock the legendary Haabs GM once said, “In multi-player trades, the team that gets the best player wins the trade.” That best player is clearly Rick Nash.

As a business deal, Columbus is off the hook for the remaining $46.8m left on the Nash contract. Columbus took back $17.975m plus whatever the next year’s 1st round pick gets on his ELC.

Columbus had painted itself into a corner. First they gave Nash far too much and then failed to build around him. Besides, champion hockey teams aren’t built from the wing.