Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Road Ahead

Although today was a relatively quiet day in CBJ land in terms of news, there is anticipation in the air.

--As Puck-Rakers reported, the Jackets had 25 players on the ice in practice today, enough for 5 forward lines. Nash is iffy for Friday, but Torres will go. Mackenzie has already made his way back to Syracuse, and MacDonald is probably not far behind. Novotny, Chimera and Klesla a ways off. Who stays, who goes? Don't rush Nash back too early . . .

--With Jason Williams in the fold, the focus now turns to the next deal. (We fans are insatiable -- blood in the water makes us look for more!) The news from Ottawa is that they really want Rostislav Klesla, even with his injury history. Klesla (+/- a draft pick) for Vermette?? Could happen. Brian Burke's trigger finger in Toronto also has to be getting itchy. Antropov for draft choices? Also feasible. Then, what is LeClaire's status and what do we do for backup there? Sandford cleared waivers in Vancouver and is headed for AHL. He should be had for 7th round pick. Martin Gerber has accepted AHL reconditioning assignment for Ottawa, but his contract is awfully rich. We can't play Mason every game, and La Costa is not the answer right now.

-- Four tough games before the All Star break -- New Jersey at home, followed by the NW Canada trip to Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. 3 - 1 would be outstanding. We then come back to10 our of 13 at home, and the chance to put some distance between us and the pack of other contenders. While Minnesota leaped over us tonight by a point with their win over Edmonton, keep in mind that we are only 3 points out of the 5th slot, and have two games in hand over both Vancouver and Anaheim.

Cause for hope: Luongo has surrendered 2 goals on 11 shots in the 1st period vs. the Coyotes. Hopefully he stays rusty through our visit!!!

Lots of things to be optimistic about right now!

Go Jackets!!


Rick said...

It sure is an exciting time to be a Jackets fan!

I think Vermette is ready for a change of scenery. Not really sure what to do about a backup for Mase. I've really liked all the moves Howson ha made since coming to C-Bus. We are seeing what a level head in management gets us. I tip my hat to Howson/Hitch and of course all the players for Carrying The Flag!!!

roadman said...

Not sure if the next domino is the center. My thought is they will wait and see if Williams can perform in the middle (as well the PP). Sort of a bridge till the off season. Brassard is coming back so I think we do have our #1 center. Most #1's are grown from within or else are so expensive as to be prohibitive (Spezza). So maybe Vermette or Andropov is not the next move. Puck moving D? The closer we get to the deadline the better the deals will be for the buyers. And Cbus is buying this year or maybe standing pat if they continue the way it going right now. Lets see what Williams does. I'm sure SH has plan A, Plan B, and plan C.

JAL said...

Personally, I think the next domino is in goal. Leclaire is on IR, and even when he comes back, he will likely need a rehab assignment in Syracuse to get healthy (and hopefully get his technnique back.)

In the business world, we often look for that single point of failure--the one thing that could go wrong that we don't have backup for and would have disasterous results. For the CBJ, that is in goal right now. If Mason were to go down, we would be in a heap of hurt. Nothing against LaCosta, but he is not ready to lead a team in a playoff run.

A Curtis Sandford would not cost much, and would provide some insurance. In the meantime, Howson has the patience to wait for a better deal out of Toronto or Ottawa. The play of our youngsters has given him that luxury.

Good times. I have a few pieces on personnel that I am working on, so stay tuned!

roadman said...

Goal is probably the #1 concern. Will be interesting to see what the Cleveland Specialists says. If rehab will do it then maybe he goes down to the Cuse and then switches places with LaCosta when he's ready. But I think there is more to the ankle than that and we will have to make a move. The organization over all could probably stand a little more depth in goal. And if Leclair really comes back then he's probably trade bait and we're shopping for a back up anyway. Timing is everything. One domino at a time.