Steve Mason is making his professional debut tonight in Grand Rapids, Michigan. How excited am I? Very excited. With Pazzy having so many ankle issues, it makes fans excited for that goaltender of the future. Also playing for the Crunch tonight are Nikita Filatov and Kris Russell. Scott Howson will be in attendance, not just for Mason, but to get a look at Filatov and Russell.
In other exciting news Raffi Torres could be playing as soon as Saturday. That is a big deal for our hockey club. Getting Torres healthy is a big step in getting the club going again. Torres may not be a big scorer, but he’s a big scorer and is a huge energy guy. With Torres likely coming back that means that we will be losing a winger…who will it be Picard or Dorsett? Only time will tell, but Picard has to be put through waivers in order to be sent to Syracuse.
Please tell me that this is just in practice.
The top line that the Blue Jackets are practicing as are Chimera-Nash-Huselius. Yup, Nash is centering the top line.
I don’t know that Nash has ever played center, I would have to look into it, but if you remember Modin was moved to center, as was Zherdev. More, when Puck-Rakers updates it.
The Blue Jackets can play 50 minutes of great hockey, but they haven’t proven that they can play a complete hockey game. Here’s Hitchcock on the game.
“For us to win we had to play 60 minutes full out of great hockey and we played 50 minutes (tonight), just like we did in Minnesota. It’s not good enough - you’ve got to win games 2-1.”
We controlled most of the game. The Ducks got on the board first, and then Andrew Murray got a shorthanded opportunity, he missed, but given another opportunity he gave the puck to Novotny, and we scored our first shorthanded goal of the season. Then, the goat line went to work, Brassard scored with assists going to Chimera and Voracek. We were winning 2-1 until halfway through the third period, then our world collapsed, or so it seemed.
Goodness, the Jackets have been busy. Dan LaCosta has been called up, and that means Pazzy is out. He is getting an MRI to see what is going on with the ankle, he keeps hurting it over and over again. Leclaire has been moved to the injured reserve, so he is out for at least the next three games. Steve Mason better prepare himself, because he’s going to be up here soon if this keeps happening. Kris Russell has been sent to Syracuse also. He wasn’t playing up here, and it’s better he play then sit in the press box. Here is Howson on the decision to move him down.
“It’s never great for a young player not to play,” Howson said. “We told him it’s a temporary stay. Go have fun playing hockey.”
He will be playing games on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday and will then hopefully be recalled to the Jackets. Again though, you never know.
Pascal Leclaire was injured in the first period and left with 14:33 remaining in the second, due to an apparent ankle sprain. It’s going to be looked at again today, and his status is unknown for tomorrow’s game against the Anaheim Ducks is unknown. If Leclaire is out expect LaCosta to come back up, and Norrena to get the start on Tuesday.
Anyway, onto the game. The Blue Jackets took three penalties in the first period and were able to kill them all off, unfortunately for the Blue Jackets, they let in a goal towards the end of the first period. It’s never a good thing when you give up a goal in the last minute of a period. The Minnesota Wild stayed perfect on the penalty kill last night. Of course they only took two penalties, but man in six games they have not allowed one power play goal, that is impressive.
Okay, so the loss last night was bad and our team desperately needs to change things up a bit to start playing well. However, it is not the end of the world, and just because we have lost 4 out of 7 games doesn’t mean we’re going to miss the playoffs. We’re playing our eighth game tonight, it is EARLY in the season. Way too early to be bringing up things like your prediction for the playoffs. I am surprised at some of the messages I have been receiving thinking that the sky is falling, you’d think that we were in the same position as the Flyers who just won their first game last night. I know our team hasn’t played a complete hockey game yet, but it will happen.
Anyway, now that’s out of the way. We’re playing the Minnesota Wild tonight and Pascal Leclaire is in net again tonight. The defensive pairings stay the same, and here are the forward lines.
Okay, so I missed the first period due to being on the road, and hitting every ounce of traffic ever. But, thankfully I made it home for the second period. The first period appeared to be interesting, with Voracek scoring his third goal of the season. Also, don’t boo Zherdev. He was traded, he didn’t leave by choice. It’s classless, save your boo’s for someone that matters, yes, you know who I am talking about.
The second period got underway, and the Blue Jackets went down 2-1. Daniel Girardi and and Brandon Dubinsky scored the goals for the Rangers. Both goals, had an assist from, you guessed it, Nikolai Zherdev. A scary moment happened in the second, before the scoring took place, with Rangers coach Tom Renney took a stick, and was helped to the back, and did not return. Rick Nash also had a breakaway and missed it. Rick Nash is now 0 for 6 on the breakaways on the season…not that I’m counting.
Well, it’s here. Game day against the New York Rangers, it’s not so much that tonights game is going to be about playing the Rangers. It’s about the return of Nikolai Zherdev and Dan Fritsche, and about Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman playing their old club. Zherdev and Fritsche are going to want to put on a show for the home crowd, and Tyutin and Backman are going to try and keep the Rangers in check.
It’s going to be a big test for the Blue Jackets to keep everything together and to play three solid periods of hockey. The Blue Jackets need a win tonight to stay above .500. Our focus needs to be putting pucks on the net, communication, and playing smart hockey. The Rangers have a potent offense and can score at any time, while their power play may be ranked 22nd in the league, that doesn’t mean they can’t score. The Rangers goaltender, Lundqvist is one of the best in the league, the more pucks we throw at him the better off we will be.
Steve Mason has been sent to the Syracuse Crunch. According to Lindsay Kramer he will be backing up on Friday night, and they’re not sure if he is going to play Saturday or not. According to Portzline, he is not going to play this weekend, you don’t want to push him into that, especially since he hasn’t seen game action since he injured his knee in April.
“The knee feels great. It’s just a matter of getting my timing,’’ he said before leaving Columbus on Thursday. “I didn’t get a whole lot of practice time in Columbus. I’m looking forward to getting some practice in Syracuse. Right now, I just have to get comfortable on the ice again.’‘
Good luck Steve, all of us are rooting for you to be in a Blue Jackets sweater sooner rather than later. To make room for Mason, Sebastian Dahm has been sent to Johnstown.
Sometimes, you don’t need to worry about the goals, the shutouts, and the struggling defense, you need to worry about something else. Today the Blue Jackets helped out Flashes of Hope. It’s a non-profit organization that takes photographs of children fighting cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. Rick Nash, Fredrik Modin, Jared Boll, and Jason Chimera went in to take pictures with the kids.
I think this is something that everyone can relate to. We all know someone who has been affected by a life threatening disease. For me, it was my Uncle, who passed away three years ago in February with complications stemming from his leukemia. It was a great way for the Blue Jackets to do something meaningful and to help these kids have a reason to smile, in the toughest time of their young lives.