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Blue Jackets Links

I could really go for a coffee right about now ...

Sunday, March 18, 2007
I would have preferred that we went out of the playoff hunt (the mathematical one) with a roar and not a whimper. But apparently asking for that was just too much.

Going in to the game back on Friday against San Jose, the Jackets had to either lose two game, or the Flames had to win two games (or a combination of the two) to be mathematically and 100% eliminated from the playoffs. Even though Mirtle's "95 points or bust" standings guide says the Jackets were "eliminated" ages ago, just keep in mind that we may very well see both conferences have #8 seeds that either just barely make the point total, or even end up below it due to a combination of reasons. Not that that would've been enough for the Jackets, or anything.

But I'm straying off topic. The Blue Jackets have now been officially eliminated from the playoff hunt as of last night, when the Jackets were backhanded like a backtalking woman by a misogynous man by the Kings. Brian Boucher was, unfortunately, very poor in net. A soft goal to start things off, followed by a power play goal while the Jackets were reeling from a 5-on-3 due to some rather suspicious penalty calling by the referees, who dolled out the minutes to Alex Svitov as though he'd just won the penalty lottery.

Maybe my opinion can be changed about giving him 19 minutes in penalties if one thing is clarified for me. Svitov wasn't simply given an instigator penalty coupled with an unsportsmanlike, but the scoresheet labels it as Instigator - face shield. I'm going out on a limb here and assuming that this means he picked a fight with someone who had a face shield on, or ripped off the guy's helmet despite their having a face shield. Would I be correct or not?

(Thanks, Sarah and Drew. You can't really argue with something as clean cut as "you can't pick a fight unless you drop the visored helmet." Though, still, 19 minutes all at once ... something seems off about that. In fact something about the reffing the whole game seemed off.)

To an extent, I don't blame Svitov for going at Dustin Brown the way he did, especially as I watched the end result of Brown's hit on Rusty Klesla, wherein Klesla all but writhed and threw himself around on the ice for several seconds after that board check given to him, before finally laying motionless. But to go flying across the ice like that just begged some sort of additional penalty beyond just fighting.

While Fredrik Norrena can be given some slack for coming in cold after a long game against San Jose the night prior, he still has to play hard, and play smart. Both goals against Norrena were shoddy, and that's even keeping in mind that one of them was on the 5-on-3.

It's unfortunate, but this is the first Blue Jackets' game since early in the season that I actually just turned off after a certain point. It became evident that this wasn't going to end with any miracles, or any kinds of amazing comebacks. I really felt like it was for sanity's sake that I turned off the TV, put on some music, and simply went to bed after seeing this team go from a rousing (but still futile effort) against a 'better' team like the Sharks, to something so bush league against the Kings. Something so ... undisciplined. So wretched, to say the least.

There was only one silver lining to be found last night, and that was in the play of the Nash/Platt/Zherdev line. After finally relegating Svitov somewhere else thanks to the slew of injuries causing regular line mash-ups due to Sergei Fedorov now playing both defense, Platt was again given a chance with some high quality forwards. He didn't disappoint, potting two of the team's three goals, along with an assist on Nash's goal. Zherdev didn't notch any goals, but assisted on all three, the last goal with about a minute left in the game a very pretty back pass to Platt, who came flying in to the zone from the left of the net.

Well, make that two 'silver linings', actually. For all the hemming, hawing, and slack-jawed calling for Anders Eriksson (note: if you ever see me being snarky about comments towards Eriksson, nine times out of ten it's a direct response to the "Bubba hate" I almost religiously see of him at the CBJ HFBoards) not to be with the team next year, he continues to pad his +/- and prove that he isn't a washed up "Bubba" just yet, now sporting a +8; ahead of the next best rated players (David Vyborny and Platt), who are just +3. While everyone is enamored with first round picks such as Klesla, or young guys like Marc Methot and O.K. Tollefsen, Eriksson just quietly has done his job.

Feh. I shouldn't be up this early on a Sunday. I need to go find something constructive to do.

Labels: , , ,

4 Comments:
  • At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm with you on this one. After the 3rd "easy" goal was scored, I turned off the TV and went to bed. If you read the Sunday Dispatch article by Aaron Portzline, you can tell he was disgusted too. He ends his article with the pulling of Boucher. He says nothing about the rest of the 2nd period or the 3rd, not that there was apparently much to write about.
    I also agree with you about the officiating. I don't think the Jackets get any respect from the NHL in general. The most obvious examples were the two goals (one scored on the Jackets and one scored by the Jackets) that went under video review earlier in the season and both went against the Jackets. If the NHL had been consistent in those 2 calls, I wouldn't have been so angry, but they made two different calls on the same type of play. If I remember correctly, both teams were in the playoff hunt, so it doesn't surprise me.

     
  • At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Sarah said…

    The Unsportsmanlike penalty was for instigating a fight while wearing a visor. Unless they take off their own helmet before starting the fight, a player who instigates a fight while wearing a visor gets the extra penalty:

    http://www.nhl.com/rules/rule56.html

     
  • At 11:24 AM, Blogger Michael said…

    Thanks for taking the time to track that down, Sarah. Honestly, I haven't seen that called much, if at all, during any Jackets' games this season. I'm sure it might have been, but it didn't exactly have the same serious impact on the results of previous games as it did last night.

     
  • At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Drew said…

    Mike,

    If a player wearing a face-shield starts a fight (instigator), he gets an additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Rule 47.6

     
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