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Blue Jackets: 2 ... Blackhawks: 5

Friday, September 22, 2006
Now yesterday I could at the very least use the freshness of a majority of the blue line and a lack of star power on the forward lines as an excuse for an 8-1 beatdown at the hands of the Nashville Predators.

Tonight? Not so much. With Westcott, Nash, and Klesla -- among others -- in the mix tonight, and the opponents being the Chicago Blackhawks with a goalie with a mere two games of NHL experience overall -- Corey Crawford -- they really should have had a good chance at winning tonight.

But they didn't. In fact, they didn't even come close.

Now, sure ... the Blue Jackets did manage to go ahead by a goal sometime in the 2nd period, and tallied a power play goal in the process. But that was far from enough. Why? Because the penalty kill imploded. Three goals against on the PK, along with a four-on-four goal against them while Nash was in the box for a double minor. Then there was the fifth goal in the waning couple of minutes in the game, just around the time you'd consider pulling the goalie.

To add insult to injury (pun not intended), Rusty Klesla got hit with an 'intent to injury' via a Clipping major call in the latter half of the third period, adding a sense of bush league-ness and sad desperation from the Blue Jackets. Definitely not a good night down at Nationwide Arena.

With this loss, the Jackets are now 2-2 in the pre-season. One win against both Nashville and Buffalo, then a smearing by the Preds followed by tonight's loss to the lowly Blackhawks.

I tend not to make predictions, as they're usually something I like to avoid. But in this case, I'll make an exception. If the Blue Jackets manage to win on the road against the Blackhawks tomorrow night? Then I say they split the two-game series against Carolina. If they lose? Get ready for a long end to this short pre-season, as I would then foresee a couple of crushing defeats at the hands of the 'Canes to wrap things up this month.

Beyond predictions and general game reaction, let's talk about Ty Conklin. Five goals in the game, which is one goal more than Fredrik Norenna gave up yesterday against the Preds. The difference, of course, is that Conklin was in it for the long haul, playing the full 60 minutes tonight. Norenna, meanwhile, played only half of his game. So it's hard to say who has the advantage in this backup goalie battle right now. It doesn't help that since none of these games are on TV here, comparisons can't be drawn concerning how the goals got in, or how the goalies played, outside of what is described over the radio.

Either way, something needs to be done concerning the final three pre-season games. As for what that is, who knows? All that seems to be confirmed right now is that for the last two games, Pascal Leclaire will most likely see all 60 minutes of each of those games in preparation for the start of the regular season. Well, at least that's something to look forward to.
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About Me: A mid-20s male who feels much too old even before he's 30. Has a degree in Sport Management and after branching out and trying a few other things in the job market, has finally decided to go back to his first love of hockey and hope he can break in with a team, big or small, somehow.
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