Sunday, December 6, 2009

Game Recap: COL vs. CBJ 12/5

The night finally arrived. After two years of hate brewing, adam fo*te (name removed because this blog knows better) finally returned to Nationwide Arena, to a fanbase he offended and abandoned. Much to the dismay of the fans, the team did not quite show up the way we did.

I was there. Section 209, and loving my first opportunity to sit up there. The one great thing about Nationwide is that there is not a single bad seat in the house. The fans were great, booing fo*te every time he jumped on the ice, and we booed even harder when he touched the puck. Of the three or four times he was checked, (Thata boy Boller and Mackenzie!!!) the crowd went wild with cheers, with two years of angst and anticipation finally boiling over.

The first period was a stalemate. Neither team seemed too interested in the game, or making the games first mistake. Commodore threw down with Koci and the fans and myself gave the checkmark to Commodore, with a few solid punches and a decent take down. Credit Budaj throughout the entire game for coming in and making some massive saves, especially on Chimera who seemed snake bitten considering some of the tremendous chances he had.

The second period was deflating. Two blown assignments by the Jackets defense lead to two goals by the Avalanche. Such a common trend for the new Jackets team, an Av was left alone in front, only to get an open net with Mason flailing to stop them. This has become extremely obvious over the last couple games, and it has really put a microscope on whether Mason is really struggling at all this season. His save percentage last night was .842, however, only one of the goals could ever be considered his fault. In fact, take out the defensive breakdowns, and his save percentage would be around .947... Seems like we need to rethink who is actually at fault here.

I will not be touching the third period very much, because it was not consistent with the rest of the game. In fact, the Jackets looked like their old self in the third, outshooting the Avs 15-4 and scoring (arguably) three goals. They poured on the pressure and were really catching their stride, but once again, they proved that playing a 15 minute game instead of a 60 minute game is the difference between winning and losing in this league. I do want to thank my fellow Jackets fans for erupting in a "traitor" chant while the goal was being reviewed and fo*te was the only player on the ice. I hope he felt terrible because of it.

I am ready to call out Fedor Tyutin. His play has been absolutely miserable over the last ten games. He has been a turnover factory, and has passed the puck out in front of his own net probably 5-10 times in the last two games, a couple resulting in easy goals for the opposition. He is unsteady with the puck in the offensive zone, and has been far from competitive in any recent game I have watched. What is unfortunate about this, is that Hitchcock seems to believe that Tyutin and Stralman make a good defensive pairing, even though both seem to be struggling heavily with the puck. I will be putting some time into a piece about coaching later on today, so once again, I will stick to the game as much as I can here.

The final concern I have right now, is regarding the veterans. While the 'youth' has been one of the biggest criticisms by Hitchcock regarding this team, the veteran leadership has been consistently on the ice when the opposing team scores, and have been dragging down the opening section of the powerplay with lazy passing, and next to zero offensive chances. If the Jackets want to start winning games again, the vets are going to have to seriously reconsider their strategy.

That is enough dogging for now. I am optimistic, but not terribly confident that the Jackets can get over their recent slide. They need leadership and their coaching staff to step up big time.

Carry the Flag!

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