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Jackets Lose in Shootout

There were a few things to settle on the ice besides the final score from Friday nights game at Buffalo. Andrew Peters was the target and there were a few Jackets on the ice that took aim.

Tom Sestito got the first shot when the two dropped the gloves after battling for the puck along the boards. They both had a good grip on each others arms not allowing any solid punches to land. The scrum ended when Sestito wrestled Peters to the ice. When Peters returned from the penalty box Jody Shelley decided to take aim himself. Several times he attempted to bait Peters into a fight but surprisingly Peters wasn't interested. When Shelley took a run at a Sabre teammate late in the first period Peters decided he had enough of Jody. The two met a center ice for the main event. It was a fight that excited the crowd but there was very little action. If I was scoring it I would give it to Jody by default.

After that the game settled down and I watched a very young Blue Jackets team taking on a Sabre team that had many more veterans in their lineup than they had on Friday. Both teams played very good positional hockey with the Sabres having the edge in quality scoring opportunities. Pascal Leclaire played very well making a number of very good saves on point blank shots. The Jackets twice squandered the lead, the most crucial with less than five minutes remaining that sent the game into overtime. The Jackets had a man advantage situation in overtime but couldn't capitalize. In the final moments Jason Chimera fed Derick Brassard on a two on one break but Brassard was denied by goaltender Ryan Miller. Brassard looked toward the ceiling of the Nat in frustration. It looked to me like the puck was hopping, preventing him from getting full impact on the shot. In the shootout both Sabres shooters beat Leclaire while Miller stopped both Blue Jacket attempts.

Tonight was my first opportunity to see Jiri Novotny in a CBJ uniform. He was solid, not flashy. I look forward to seeing more of him.

My main focus tonight was looking at the young guys and the players that may be on the bubble for the next set of cuts. I wanted to see if anyone would step up their game knowing this may be one of their final opportunities for this camp.

Still in the running:

-Derick Brassard-He didn't play as well as he has but he should last until the final cuts.
-Gilbert Brule-Same as above.
-Kris Russell-Another impressive performance. I would be surprised if he didn't make this team and assume PP duties from Ron Hainsey. The kid does it on both ends of the ice.
-Derek MacKenzie-Hard worker, non stop energy every time he touches the ice. We have a 4th line position open and he may fit it well.
-Marc Methot-I think he will start in Syracuse but he will make it to the final cuts.

On the cutting edge:

-Tom Sestito-big and plays strong on the boards. He needs to work on his skating and puck handling.
-Kris Beech-To me he has shown little to deserve a spot. You can tell he has some talent but where's the fire to stand out.
-Adam Pineault-I thought he would make a run after a good year in Syracuse and a stellar prospects tournament. Have a good start in Syracuse and maybe get an injury call up.
-Steven Goertzen-Plays hard all the time. But we know his limitations and there are others that can do what he does.
-Joel Bouchard-He played pretty well tonight and I know Hitch likes him. But there is no room for him when Foote and Tollefsen get healthy.
-Mikko Maenpaa-Man this guy has come a long way since prospects camp. He played very well tonight but when he makes a mistake it's a big one. He needs more work on his defense.
-Sheldon Brookbank-Has a cannon shot from the blueline. Depending on the health of the veteran defenseman he may get one more look.

The other vets that played not mentioned above:

-Chimera played his normal fast paced game.
-Zherdev is really buying into the system but almost too much. This kid has mega skills. We need something between the selfish Nikki and what his game is today. It is refreshing though to see him using his teammates and playing in the defensive zone.
-Fedorov scored a nice goal tonight but he still looks very uninterested. Is he going to turn it on once opening night gets here? I hope so.
-What's wrong with Hainsey? He has looked very below average for someone that played pretty well last season. I thought this was a contract year Ron?

I'll be at practice tomorrow. Hope to see the injured guys back on the ice.