Kukla's Korner

The Lorenzi Line

Blue Jackets geared to leap-frog Bruins

A month has gone by and Columbus is on the rise. During the historical preseason for Columbus, who acquired two high-end forwards (Carter, Prospal) and two defensemen (Wisniewski, Martinek), there was hope for the 2011-2012 season. We hoped to see Columbus upset the balance in their division but instead the expected happened. Usual suspect James Wisniewski increased his suspension tally to three in his career; his third was in the Jacket’s preseason and put him on the shelf for a total of 12 games, 8 of which were regular season.

They didn’t have the defenseman who has been acclaimed as one of the best defensive shots in the NHL, so what? We thought that we should be scoring too many goals to care. The puck dropped 8 times before the first win…synergy was the problem on both the offensive and defensive end. Blame was placed on Steve Mason and the former Jackets from their first 6 seasons seemed to be playing again. Injuries started to grow. Luckily Vinny Prospal rose to be bigger than expected by leading Columbus in goals with 5 and he is tied with Rick Nash with 10 points.

Every game before the Jackets were out shooting and showing us that they can interrupt passes and steal the puck, it just wasn’t adding up. The night “Wiz” came back was against Detroit in Nationwide, the win to start the season for the fans that gave up. Wiz played longer than any player on both sides and continues to do so; he is currently first in the NHL for time on ice. It was a 4-1 win with him back on the team, giving Mason support and dishing out, as coach Scott Arniel put, the “good first pass”. Note: this is the first win since March 29th, 2011 (3-2 SO win against Florida) and the largest gap in goals since Febuary 22, 2011 (4-0 against Phoenix).

Now Columbus has their second win with their last against the

Mighty

Ducks of Anaheim and a shootout loss dealt by Colorado. They currently have 5 points in 12 games with a 2-9-1 record; there is plenty of hockey to be played and with only 7 points out a playoff spot they now look to climb. Boston has only 6 points with a 3-7-0 record. They gave up back-to-back losses to Montreal, but they are currently two games behind Columbus. Their next matchup Ottawa, who is “riding the train” on the Eastern Conference with a side of Columbus and is presently on a six game winning streak.

Will we see Boston float to the bottom in two? Probably not, they’ve dominated Toronto, who will be their game 12, by a 6-2 win. Regardless of what happens in the games against the Islanders, Oilers, Sabres or Devils they will have to face the Blue Jackets November 17th. I’m expecting to see Columbus topple a hung-over NHL Champion team that night, and for me to drink heavily.

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