As Hitch said "We won the hockey game". I agree, we beat Dallas, we just lost to Toronto. I am not a black helicopter/right wing consipiracy/alien abduction kind of guy, but Colin Campbell and Gary Bettman need to look hard at this and provide an explanation to the Columbus fans, and to hockey in general, how this can happen. Combined with the October 25 debacle in Minnesota, what are we to think? I'll tell you what many are going to think -- that the NHL needs to contract/re-align, and by making it harder for Columbus to get in the playoffs, the league can deteriorate the fan base and prompt a move to, say, Ontario, which is looking for another team. It is a disgrace, plain and simple.
I, for one, am contacting the NHL on this one. I can't find an email address, but here is the contact information for anyone else who cares to join me:
Mr. Gary Bettman, Commisioner
Mr. Colin Campbell, Sr. Executive Vice-President & Director of Hockey Operations
National Hockey League
1251 Avenue of the Americas, 47th Fl.
New York, NY 10020
Phone: 212-789-2000 Fax: 212-789-2020
On to the game. A strong effort, really, except in goal, and in puck management in our own crease. We came out with far more energy than I expected, given the game the night before, and were much more confident and loose in the offensive zone. We were strong hitting, but lost our "competitive composure" a few times, leading to excess penalties, unnecessary fights, and the loss of Brass for a few weeks. Just dumb. With all of the adversity, it was a nice 1 point win.
Offensive Flow -- Great energy, puck movement and aggressiveness in the offensive zone. Fewer shots than normal, but more chances, and we converted on a bigger percentage.
Energy & Attitude -- Lots of hits, lots of tenacity, refused to get down after Brass goes down or we go down by 2.
Individuals: Nash was huge, particularly in as the game went on. Voracek continued his strong play, as did Russell. Malhotra and Umberger were big as well. On the D side, Methot, Tyutin and Commodore were huge. Backman was OK on the offensive end, but was primarily responsible for Dallas' first goal.
Composure -- Our young players lost their heads a bit, and got involved in scraps they shouldn't have, particularly when we were ahead. Took too many stupid penalties again. We had been better at this.
Puck Control -- Still an issue in our own zone, particularly in those scrambles in front of the net. We need to be bigger and more decisive. In fairness, LeClaire was awful in playing the puck, either in front or in back, and I think our D has gotten used to Mason clearing the garbage out.
Goaltending -- Sorry, Pazzy, but you look like a caffeine overdosed teenager in the net -- lots of motion and no results, no rebound control, zip. Since the Buffalo game, at least 5 goals go in when Pazzy is in the crease.
Injuries -- Maybe I am not old school enough, but Brassard has no business fighting, particularly that guy, when we have the lead. Boll, Torres, Brassard -- c'mon guys, we are here to win hockey games. Let's not give the opponents life by creating emotion for them. Get well soon, Brass!
Officiating -- Can't fault the on ice refs for the OT fiasco, as they both called it a goal. However, a few really quick whistles and some non-calls (Nash getting run over by a charge) were just bizarre. Bad night all around for the zebras.
Bottom line -- a good road point to keep some momentum going, but an insufficient reward for a game we won and deserved to win. More later. Go Jackets!!!!