Just like the team, for me it has been tough to write these reviews. One loss, not a big deal. Two losses, eh okay. Five, can I call in sick? We won games early in the year that we probably had no business winning, recently we've lost them. Overall, you can't get too concerned, teams go through these type of stretches... but you just can't wait for them to end. Tonight the Blue Jackets downed the Blues 5-2 partly due to R.J. Umberger and his first hat trick with the Blue Jackets.
The first 10 minutes were some of the best of the year. Passes were crisp, the high forward was back, and pressure was created around the net. We had two on the scoreboard It was perfect. Too perfect.
The story of this game could very well be a season ending knee injury to Rostislav Klesla. While reports have not hit the news yet, it is safe to say we won't be seeing Rusty again in 2009. He has played some pretty good hockey for us and I think has been the most consistent defensemen this year. Hitch said in the press conference that he was in for an MRI. This would indicate a knee injury as opposed to a broken bone... me and my medical degree can figure that out.
Someone who I haven't talk a lot about is Mike Bluden. You'd love to see him hit the scoreboard, because frankly to stick in the NHL he'll need to do that. When he's on the ice though, he's always back on defense, he's always working diagonally on the puck carrier. Just like he's supposed to. Given the issues that we've had recently, you appreciate this. His hit in the final two minutes gave me a pretty nice smile.
Nod to RJ for scoring the exact same goal two times (what a feat). One from Voracek, the other from Brassard. OH, AND THE HATTIE. That line played well overall tonight and has meshed well since they've been put together. I think RJ is a good compliment to that line. RJ really scores in bunches. He has 7 goals in 3 games this year. It feels like a long time someone not named Nash got a hat trick. 4 points for RJ tonight, job well done.
Maybe the best game from Steve Mason in a month. I thought he was positionally strong and controlled his rebounds well. St. Louis didn't venture behind the net though. Someone wasn't doing their scouting report.
Vermette got the empty netter tonight. Thank goodness. This was the first final thirty seconds in a long time that I either wasn't having a heart attack or really really annoyed.
Mancrush of the Night : Kris Russell. (Sorry R.J.) Just watching him makes you realize who little our defense skates. We absolutely need players like Hejda and Commodore to skate the puck out of the zone. I can't count the number of times I've seen Commie try to make a pass from a defensive faceoff dot, to the opposition blueline. He sits back like he's going to sharpshoot something. Let's just skate it out of the zone. It was great to see Russell hit the scoreboard. A sweet wrister at that (the type of goal we've expected from him for 3 years). His skating the puck out also led to the second goal.
Doghouse for Anton Stralman tonight. I thought he looked very shaky on his feet tonight. He was beat a few times. He wasn't strong in the corners and lost a couple edges. He's been a much better positive overall this year, but given the injury to Klesla, we will need more quality minutes from him.
I went back and forth... R.J. or Russ for Mancrush tonight. Write in Vote. If RJ didn't have the weak empty netter to finish the hattie... he'd have the spot. I don't think I need to remind you of what Al Iafrate thinks of empty netters.
Feel good? Fire Away!