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Blue Jackets Links

Rookies, rosters, and reserves.

Thursday, October 05, 2006
I wish I had the time that Kukla has to blog. If I did, I wouldn't have to do one giant, X-Box-sized blog entry on somewhere between 8-10 different things which have been going on throughout the week with the Blue Jackets. It's not fair!

Whining aside, The Columbus Dispatch and beat writers Portzline and Arace have been on a writing tear recently, so I'm going to try to cover all the dirt that they've dug up since earlier in the week, which is a lot.

First comes the news that instead of staying up with the Blue Jackets, Alexandre Picard will be going back down to Syracuse for the start of the season. Of course this begs the question ... why?

Well, there's a few things going on here. Despite the fact that Picard was tied for the 2nd in points during the pre-season on the team along with Rick Nash (3G and 2A), you get the feeling that he wasn't going to stay because of just how crowded it is right now on the forward lines. The Blue Jackets needed to send someone down, and it would have been even more insane to send down pre-season surprise Geoff Platt instead.

The other issue is that he was working against an already packed to capacity Left Wing position, with Nash, Modin, Chimera, and Shelly already taking the four LW positions.

There's also another problem, and this is just me being speculative: Gilbert Brule, no matter how much of a bust of a pre-season he had, still has the team's vote of confidence to stay with them this year. Of course that's understandable considering that he's one of the rookies being projected to be in the running for the Calder Trophy this season, but at the same time it means that there may be a casualty in terms of any of the Syracuse players (Picard) trying to make the jump up for opening season. Then again this could all be a load of hooey, since Brule is a centerman and not a winger, anyway.

But speaking of Brule, Portzline reports that the Blue Jackets' prized rookie will actually be playing on the fourth line instead of on a line with top tier to respectable scorers such as Nash and Vyborny, or Carter and Modin. Who will be taking his place, then? Why, everyone's favorite undrafted player, Geoff Platt!

Regardless of any possible difference in potential between the two players, this is a smart move. The cold, hard facts are this: Platt tore up the pre-season, while Brule was dead in the water. I like Brule, and I expect great things from him as a rookie ... but being a heralded rookie doesn't mean you're going to catch a break if you don't produce. It's admirable that he's working as hard on defense as he can, if Gallant is telling the truth, but he is still a forward first and foremost.

So now that we can more or less guess the exact roster thanks to the Dispatch as well as what has been reported, let's see what we got going on:


I think to me the most surprising move is putting Mark Hartigan on the first line. Two assists is what the late 20s forward tallied in the pre-season. But then again maybe there's more to it. You never know. The rest of the line schemes seem just about as solid as you're going to see, until Fedorov and Svitov return from injury, and Zherdev finally touches down in Columbus.

Speaking of which, I mentioned this previously when talking about some of the comments made during the Hurricanes / Blue Jackets game last week, but now the Dispatch is finally reporting it: Svitov and Fedorov are, for all intents and purposes, ahead of schedule in their rehabiliation. As Arace reports ...

Top-line center Sergei Fedorov, who suffered a sprained left shoulder during the team’s second exhibition game in September, is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation. It was thought that Fedorov might miss as much as the first three weeks of the season, but he has been skating for five days and is eyeing a quicker turnaround.

I could have sworn the prognosis was as much as six weeks, but maybe he's only referring to time out in the regular season, and not from day one of his injury until six weeks later.

But word mincing aside, this should force some of the apocalyptic pundits bemoaning the Jackets' injury woes to hold their tongue if Fedorov manages to come back by the middle of the month at the latest.

Then there is Alexander Svitov, who is skating and practicing and pretty much healing even faster than Fedorov (though to be fair, Svitov's evaluation didn't have as dire the results as Fedorov's did at first). But if he comes back, where does he go? If a point getter and pre-season positive note such as Picard was sent down to Syracuse, what happens to Svitov? This could all depend on if Platt shows some moxy in the regular season, and manages to get a firm hold on his position with the team. What I see happening is two scenarios ...

Scenario 1 - Svitov and Fedorov return, and Platt and Hartigan are shipped down to Syracuse because of a lack of efficiency in regular season games.

Scenario 2 - Platt has a super few opening games of the season, and instead Svitov and Hartigan go down to Syracuse.

Sorry, Mark ... one way or the other, it seems you're the odd man out here.

Sometime later this evening I've got a few more things I want to go touching on, such as a few of tonight's games that interest me, Berard's injury, and Carter's nagging foot problems. For now, I'm taking a break.
1 Comments:
  • At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Paul said…

    You are doing a fine job... believe me you dont' want all the time I have.
    Good luck to the Blue Jackets this season.

     
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