Let the record show that on October 17, 2009, the Columbus Blue Jackets have less losses than the Ohio State Buckeyes. With the way the teams are playing, it may be that way into November.
It wasn't a pretty effort. This win was from grit and opportunity- this Jackets team can cash in on opportunities. For the first time in our history I am watching games assuming we are going to win. About 10 minutes in I thought we were clearly the better team and I knew we'd pull it out. This is new uncharted territory for me. For the next 8 years we might be watching games different.
Our Penalty Kill continues to be the asset of the year. We aren't just effective at killing penalties, but we create offense. This will be in the head of most PP units that we face. Rick Nash cashed in tonight on a short handed rush (kudos to Methot for driving the net). Rick Nash loves one on one hockey. That's why he thrives offensively on the PK. He made Justin Williams look silly tonight.
Mark Methot stood tall tonight in his first performance as Jan Hejda. I'm very confident that he'll fill Jan's role short term. 4-6 weeks won't be nothing. I think we'll be fine defensively- at least at home when we can dictate the matchups.
The defense was overall pretty quiet tonight. That's good news. If this i what Hitch can do with this patchwork D, I'd wonder what he could do if he had an all-star back there. Maybe, we'll find out at the trade deadline.
It was a quiet night from the second line tonight. I'm glad to see Jake get the empty netter. Sometimes that goose egg gets in your head, especially if you are a goal scorer.
While the wins are great, I'm starting to get a little concerned with Brassard. You can tell he's really pressing and our top line isn't creating a lot of even strength opportunities. I'd wonder if we could reunite the Goat Line for a couple games. Nash - Vermette- Juice, Chimera - Brassard - Voracek
You want some crazy lines... Nash - Vermette- Filatov, Chimera - Brassard - Voracek, Umberger - Pahlsson - Dorsett, Huselius - Murray - Torres. There are four lines you could roll.
It was only a couple games ago I mentioned the Jason Chimera left wing, rush, from the circle, top shelf slapper and then he goes and scores another one. This guy has a shot. It's great to see a healthy Chimmer. He has played well in all three zones and has made nice smart plays.
The PP was not good tonight, although Raffi managed to pot another one (another strong game from Raffi). The break-ins were the problems tonight. We didn't get good forward speed or get the puck deep. This was something we were much better at up to this point so hopefully it was a blip or a credit to LA's PK.
Mason made a couple saves tonight, but overall wasn't too tested. The only goal he gave up, he'd like to have back.
Mancrush of the Night: Sammy Pahlsson. This guy continues to play tremendous positional hockey. He's always in the right spot. He won't get noticed, but thinking ahead toward the stretch run and playoffs this guy will be very important.
Whipping Boy of the Night: Terrelle Pryor. I'm glad I'm not a college football fan or a Buckeye fan because my words this guy isn't getting it done. He's getting worse every possession. It'll be a couple down seasons for the Bucks, hopefully the Jackets can take advantage.
5 and 1. This honestly was my prediction, but I had no idea it would actually happen. I think the first 10 games of the season are wins from training camp and coaching. We are prepared better than at least 90% of the teams in the league and I think this start shows the value of Hitch.
Thoughts? Fire Away. Ready for another roadie? No more home openers... I think.