The worst part about vocalizing recaps on a blog, for me anyways, is the number of times I have to delete full paragraphs. I've taken gaps of time off commenting on account of the suck laid out before us, and will openly admit that this is the fourth time I have tried to lead into this game recap, mostly because of what I have been unleashing is just a giant heap of dissatisfaction with the team, the management, and the embarrassment I feel after watching such a talented team get turned into chumps for 15 minutes of hockey.
Let me get started with some optimistic pieces and then move into the suck. First, the line combos, which Arniel did not seem to have the capacity to stick with, actually looked pretty strong at times. Brassard - Umberger - Nash seemed to look pretty decent early on with Brassard showing every game that he belongs on the ice, and in the top six. Letestu - Carter - Prospal also appeared capable of success, with Carter laying back in the scoring areas waiting for solid feeds from his two wingers, which I think is a great way to utilize his shot when possession is gained in the offensive zone.
For two periods they played decent hockey, at least in the offensive zone. Defensively, they remain incapable of not allowing extremely high end scoring chances to the opposition. Of the five goals St Louis scored with a goalie in net, only the goal by Pietrangelo is a goal I would place solely on Mason, who extended and had the puck sneak through his arm and body on the blocker side.
Goal one was nothing short of embarrassing. Wisniewski gets walked by D'Agostini and is unable to return to defend, leaving Methot to overcommit on the pass, and D"Agostini make a tremendous backhanded pass to Shattenkirk on the opposite side of the net, who buries it past a sprawling Mason. The image that follows shows just how far away someone was to defending Shattenkirk. Ridiculous.
Goal two was a textbook shot by Backes to generate a rebound. A brutal turnover by Tyutin just outside the blueline allowed a three on two rush the other way. The pass was made to the outside for a quick shot, which caused Mase to throw his left pad out to make the save. Rather than cover Oshie breaking in, Tyutin went wide to cover the shot I think, and Moore made a move to body up Oshie but was too far back, giving him the free shot on Mason who couldn't recover. As you can see, coverage is good except for Moore, who is reaching in air instead of tying up Oshie's stick, giving him the freedom to take a shot on the rebound.
Goal three was a point shot from the left side of the ice, which was tipped almost perfectly by a high stick of a Blues player to the right side of the net. Mason had made a move to save the original shot, and it left the net open for Steen to bury. This goal should have never counted, and I'm not faulting anyone other than the refs on this one. I tried to take a screen shot, but it's awfully blurry and pointless.
Goal four was brutal in many ways. Methot was double teamed behind the net and lost the puck, which was immediately passed out to the slot for Arnott, who is left completely alone for the shot. Wisniewski, who for some reason was almost on the faceoff dot when the puck was turned over, was nowhere near in position to defend the front of the net, which is obviously where he should have been. Carter was running support as the center, but was out of position hoping the puck would filter to his side. Here's a picture of the soon to be passed puck.. Notice anything? Where's the D?!
As noted, goal five was on Mason. A three on two breaking in on him, and he must have anticipated a pass, because he gave a fair bit of the net to Pietrangelo who buried. Even Mason noted that he should have made the save in the post game.
Minus the final goal, each come with glaring mistakes by Columbus which were capitalized on. I can think of a couple scenarios where the Jackets caught the Blues on their heels, but they were not capitalized on, such as Nitikin opting to pull the puck back rather than shoot in the first period with Halak down and out, or Umberger getting a free lane to the net in the third period and shooting it right into Halak's stomach rather than hitting a corner or deking around him. Were these scoring opportunities capitalized on, the game would have had an entirely different look going into the late stages of the third period.
With the results of the game, Wisniewski sits at -17 in 769th place in the league. Nash is now tied with Eric Staal for a league WORST -18. Considering these are the two highest paid Blue Jackets, one would expect them to rise to the occasion and make the players around them better. Instead, we are forced to watch as they are outplayed by the opposition night after night. While I do agree that +/- is a relatively trivial statistic, extremes of this magnitude and a fairly solid indicator of how an individual is impacting the game for his team, and considering stupidity on Wisniewski's end turned into two easy goals for St Louis, I think the statistic is doing a great job of noting his impact.
I have a number of topics I hope to get to this week as follow up to the Jackets recent performances. I just wanted to take some time to discuss the faults that lead to their demise last night, and share those statistics with everyone. I can't imagine this team can sit on their current roster or coach for much longer, without having a major attendance fallout.
Carry the Flag.