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Game #55: Blue Jackets vs. Flames

Thursday, February 08, 2007
Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Record: 21-28-5
At home: 12-11-3
Last 10: 5-5-0
Bloggers and local media:
Death Cab for Woody
End of the Bench
The Jacket Times
Hitchcock holds summit with leaders of the team - Columbus Dispatch (Portzline)





Synopsis:
"I know what’s going on and I know how to fix it," Hitchcock said. "But it doesn’t happen overnight." - Ken Hitchcock, The Columbus Dispatch

Wait a minute ... but didn't I say in my ranting, raving criticism the other day:

"
If Ken Hitchcock doesn't know what is wrong with this team [...]"

Well. Alright, then! Suddenly I feel as if I should be a little more aware to if anyone might be looking over my shoulder whenever I type. Not that I ever write these entries while at work, or when anywhere in proximity of Nationwide Arena. But you never know. Maybe Ken Hitchcock is really like Robert Goulet, and creeps in to the apartment while my blood-sugar level is low and I am asleep at the keyboard.

But in all seriousness, the Blue Jackets are in a position where the playoffs are more than likely out of the picture. But that doesn't mean that they don't have something to play for. While last year everyone touted the fact that the team had the most points and the most wins in a season, as well as the longest winning streak during that second half tear, that didn't help them much. The team still finished a whole 21 points out of the 8th spot (74 points to Edmonton's 95), and it left a lot to be desired. Why not try to get as close as possible just to earn a little respectability, and ruin a few team's lives in the process?

Yesterday I was able to catch maybe half of the Doug MacLean Show on 1460 The Fan, and was surprised to see GMDM take any and all e-mails and calls that were received, even if some of them were indirectly asking him why he should still be the General Manager of this team. One that comes to mind is a call a little before mid-way in the show, which commented on how there's been numerous switches and changes to the team through the years, and yet only one GM. MacLean was quick to say that is a question for the owner, John McConnell.

On the ice, things have been hard. No player has 20 goals so far this season, the team has bruised under a stiff wind when the opponent scores first, and the team set a franchise record with 12 shutouts against them in a single season. Very unnerving when you consider there's still 28 games left in this season including tonight.

Lastly, apparently we have a Dead Man Walking on our team. Zenon Konopka, who joined the Blue Jackets just a few weeks ago after a minor league trade between the CBJ and the Anaheim Ducks, has drawn the ire of Flames Nation and the Calgary Flames as a whole, with his clean -- emphasis on clean -- hit on Jarome Iginla, who had just returned from serious injury.

Give the guy credit; when his response to hearing about this is "Perfect, that means I'm doing my job", he knows he's going to get throttled the second he steps on to that ice tonight. I could see a similar scenario like the game in Phoenix, where both Konopka and Jody Shelley are carted off for fighting majors in just one scrum, since they're on the same line.




Team: Calgary Flames
Record: 27-17-6
On the road: 7-12-6
Last 10: 5-2-3
Bloggers and local media:
The Battle of Alberta
double (d)ion
Five Hole Fanatics
Friesen finally warming up - Calgary Sun







Synopsis:
I don't care if you beat the CBJ 6-2 last week, or that you are at the top of the Northwest Division right now; you're still losers with a lame flaming horsey as a shoulder patch logo to me.

The Flames have gone eight straight games now with gaining a point, although two of those games have been losses to the Blackhawks in the shootout (hard to believe I'd be glad for the Blackhawks for two things today, isn't it?). They still have a poor power play (though now it's ranked 20th in the league ... I wonder why), and the same craptacular penalty kill that should be exploited by even some of the worst power plays in the league.

It's still hard to fathom how this team is 3rd in the West, division leader seeding aside. However even with their shoddy penalty killing, they still have one of the strongest defensive corps, which was spoken about in great lengths last year when there was concern that despite the defensive power, the offense would hold them back.

Just to use an example of how strong their defense is this year as well, they have two defensemen in the top 10 in the +/- category, Roman Hamrlik (+24) and Robyn Regehr (+22), as well as a centerman in Daymond Langkow (+23). Compare this to the Blue Jackets, where they just have two players (Anders Eriksson and Jason Chimera) tied for +3. Only seven players who have dressed for the Flames are an even rating or below, while only six on the Blue Jackets are in the positive. Sobering numbers.

Let's hope the CBJ come out hitting tonight. Calgary all but ran the Jackets in to the ice and made a fine paste of them at the Saddledome, so they need to fight back, and fight back hard.

Labels: , ,

3 Comments:
  • At 1:45 PM, Blogger hockeygirl said…

    losers with a lame flaming horsey as a shoulder patch logo to me.

    After their performance on Tuesday night, that's what they are to me as well.

    I'm not arguing that Konopka's hit wasn't clean. It looked like it to me and I'm not apologizing for the rest of Flames fans out there but when it was Iggy's first game back I think a lot of people felt protective of our cappy.

    I think it's going to be a good one tonight. Yes, I do.

     
  • At 6:44 PM, Blogger Kyle said…

    To be honest, it doesn't matter to the team if it's clean or not. You have to stand up and protect the best player on your team any way you can.

    Speaking of, keep your eye on Brule tonight. He's a marked man for sure after the Regehr icing incident.

    Honestly, the Jackets have a good chance to win tonight, but the key to the game could rest on Conroy's influence on the Flames mentality.

     
  • At 9:04 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    After watching the game, I'd say that Phaneuf sure as hell had his hate on for Nash, Brule, and pretty much anyone in Blue. (And any idea why a few of those late hits weren't called?)

    Good on Adam Foote for having a word with him - the ensuing penality wasn't fun, but I think it's important that the team is responding to anyone trying to thug them around.

     
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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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