Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
It was a nice run. The Blue Jackets for weeks and weeks have been injury-riddled and flu-ridden, and they’ve managed to stay in the playoff race. But it’s over now. Cue the bugler.
The Jackets are not good enough, as the past two games have made plain. The Los Angeles Kings came to Nationwide Arena on Sunday night, pushed around the home team and won in a shootout. The Chicago Blackhawks came in last night, played pond hockey and won 7-2. This was flag dropping, to the lowest degree.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
“I don’t want to call him the poster child,” Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said, “but he’s in a position where we need more from him. After a while, after 35 or 40 games, it’s up to the player. It’s up to them to do more.”
Vyborny, 33, has had around 20 goals and 40 assists in each of the past three seasons, including a career-tying high 22 goals in 2005-06 and a career-high 48 assists last season.
That’s why his three goals and 13 assists in 48 games heading into a game tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks are so befuddling.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
It is considered a fact of NHL life that legs will be heavy when a team returns from the road, and that legs will be even heavier when a West Coast trip was part of the itinerary.
The Blue Jackets did nothing to dispel this notion last night, when they were beaten by the last-place Los Angeles Kings and their butcher of a goaltender, Dan Cloutier.
The Jackets lost 3-2 in a shootout and, as soon as the game was over, more than a few members of the home team noted that they spent Saturday flying cross country from San Jose, where they had lost in overtime Friday night.
“I have no intention of trading Adam Foote if we’re in a playoff race,” Howson said. “But I must do what is best for the franchise.”
What constitutes a “playoff race” in Howson’s eyes? He says there is no magic number of points behind or ahead of the final playoff spot when making such a call. Also, he won’t put a hard date on when to make a decision.
The trading deadline is Feb. 26.
Howson spelled out a four-point criteria he will use in determining whether the Jackets are a contender:
from the Columbus Blue Jackets,
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed left wing Jason Chimera to a four-year contract extension through the 2011-12 season, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.
Chimera, 28, is the Blue Jackets’ fifth-leading scorer with 23 points on nine goals and 14 assists to go along with 49 penalty minutes in 55 games. He also currently owns the longest games played streak in franchise history as last night’s game vs. the Washington Capitals was his 217th consecutive game dating back to Oct. 9, 2005
Bill McCreary is one of the better refs in the NHL and things like this do happen at times, but not very often.
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
A season can change in a blink of an eye, or in this case, a crash into a goaltender.
A speeding bullet called Quintin Laing rammed defenseman Jan Hejda into Blue Jackets goalie Pascal Leclaire, whose neck hit the goal post the way a runaway car hits a tree. Depending upon how long Leclaire is out, that could have been the most important play of the season.
continued...Plus with Fedorov and Modin still out, the playoff run for Columbus is in serious trouble…
Alexander Ovechkin talks with Puck-rakers,
Q: What are your memories of Sergei Fedorov?
“He was one of our idols growing up. The Russian Five, the Detroit Red Wings win the Cup. He was one of the best players in the league and one of the best players in Russia.”
Q: When you think of the Columbus Blue Jackets, what comes to mind?
A: “Zherdev, (Rick) Nash and Fedorov.”
from Adrian Dater at All Things Avs,
I just watched Shane Doan push a puck in with his glove - while a whistle was blowing when he did it - and tonight’s referee crew at the Pepsi Center decided to call it a good goal and cost the Avalanche a potentially valuable point in the standings.
Did these guys have a flight to catch? That was one of the worst, most obviously disallowable goals I’ve ever seen. Call me a homer on this one, I don’t care. That was horrible.
continued & the goal is officially credited to Vrbata…
Not the best video to see what Dater describes, but the only video I could find of the goal…
The largest crowd of the season – 18,529, some 385 above the listed capacity – streamed into the building. Here it was, the moment for which the front-office types were waiting. The Blue Jackets, with a 25-22-6 record and in the hunt for a playoff spot, had finally drawn a sellout. They had to earn it.
By the middle of the game, Nationwide was dead. By the middle of the third period, the building was half empty. The Wild, three days after vaporizing the Anaheim Ducks, were still on their game….
Hitchcock isn’t one for excuses, and he made sure to issue the challenges for which he is known. The best Jackets have got to be better, he said. “We cracked again,” he said. “It’s a common theme. The past three games, halfway through, we’ve been the team that cracked.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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