Monday, February 16, 2009

Hard Fought, Missed Chances, Still A Point

If this were the old Bluejackets, I would probably be stomping around, cursing Doug MacLean and everyone he ever associated with. Sure, they missed opportunities tonight, and yes, they had two defensive lapses that resulted in goals. But when you outshoot the other team 43 - 22, lay 48 hits on them, and their goalie stands on his head to turn away some terrific opportunities, all you can really do is credit them with a well played game and move on with the point. We remain 6 - 3 - 1 for the first 10 after the All Star break, so slightly ahead of our 60% target.

Maybe I am getting soft in my old age, but there was a lot to like about the way the team played tonight, and some things that need work. In 4 games played with Dallas this year, 3 are decided in OT or SO. All are physical. The Jackets lose Brassard in Dallas, and now it looks like Dallas loses Richards for the season with a fractured wrist. Nothing official, but that's what was reported on Jackets post game. These teams are going to have some more wild ones down the road.

Let's jump right to the +/-:

++ Hitting -- We hit Dallas all over the ice, coming, going and in between. After the indignity of the first 45 seconds, we definitely won the physical battle.

++ Offensive Aggressiveness -- we held the puck for long periods in the offensive zone, put plenty of rubber on net, and dominated long stretches of the game. We took the first 15 shots of the second period. We score 2, and should have scored 3 or 4 more, but for Turco's acrobatics.

++ Defense -- Commodore and Malhotra were caught flat-footed on Richard's goal Mason made the first save, and Richards had time to jam it up and over. Defense was just slow getting back on the second goal -- nothing Mase could do there. Other than that, we kept Dallas at bay all night. Some frustrating cycling behind our net against the wall, which always creates some discomfort at Nationwide, but it ddin't result in anything. Solid effort.

++ Special Teams -- Yeah, we were only 1 for 6 tonight on the PP, but could easily have been more but for Turco. 1.5 stinker PP shifts (see puck handling below). PK was perfect again.

++ Players -- Umberger, of course, with Voracek, Backman and Torres all playing hard and well. Boll, Murray provided energy, and Dorsett was an agitator, but not a big contributor otherwise. Commodore was huge with 8 hits.

--Puck Handling -- After we got 2 goals, we started getting fancy with the puck. Huselius, trying hard to make plays, ended up making more turnovers with ill advised drop passes or other looks that did not connect. Williams did the same thing several times. That hurt both our 5 on 5 game and the PP. However, that is something easily fixed, and with the way we dominated the offensive zone, tough to harp too much on it. We were better with the puck in our own zone.

--Officiating -- No excuses, but my Koharski and his partner were bad. As many power plays as we had, it should have been doubled. Nash was hooked, held, slashed all night, and some comical trips down low were never called. Comical moment when Koharski left his mike on while berating Dorsett in the 1st. Oops . . .

Another point, and nothing veering off course. Apparently came through the game healthy, which is more than Dallas can say. You hate to see that, but also tough to have too much sympathy for the Stars, given what we have been through on the injury front this year.

As I put the finishing touches on this, I note that Ottawa beat Nashville, Atlanta is beating LA 4 - 2, and Edmonton is tied with Phoenix 1 - 1. Edmonton has a tough back to back with Phoenix and San Jose tomorrow.

Shake off the missed point and focus on St. Louis, who might be getting a bit cocky, thinking they have our number. We need to prove otherwise. Go Jackets!!!


soultrain said...

I want to make one point about the second goal and it's not to create an excuse but just a point. The problem on that goal occurred when Tyutin had pinched in to save a puck in the offensive zone. Not a problem and he ended up winning the puck and keeping it deep. The problem occurred when one of the Stars forwards stick got caught in his skate. He was down on the ice for a good 15 seconds with the Stars player just yanking the stick trying to get it free and keeping him down. The ref was right there for the whole thing and right about the time the stick pops out of the skate, the Stars are in an odd man rush and the remaining Jackets didn't realize they were short a defenseman in their group of 4. The whole normally filled by the weak side defense is exactly the spot where the goal was scored. With Tyutin just skating out of the attack zone, I put no fault on him because he couldn't get up. Just blown recognition by the group of forwards that the defenseman was down. Really unlucky way to give up another soft goal to tie the game and turned out to be what the Stars needed for that extra point. Big game Wed to start proving we have the motivation to beat the teams that the Jackets should be beating.

Rick said...

From high up in the "nose-bleeds" it looked to me that our guys are trying to be too fancy. Shoot the puck and get the rebound. I swear, if they had shot just half of those instead of passing, there could've been double the goals and we walk away with 2 points. Danny Gare has been saying it all season. When you get within a defined area (triangle - both circles to the net) you shoot the puck. Be selfish. If it doesn't go in the first time, get the rebound and bury it. At times I'm seeing shades of Nicky Z in Huselius.

JAL said...

Good point, soultrain. Somehow I missed that at the arena, but went back to check the video and saw what you meant.

Rick, while I agree with you in principle, it's tough to argue we didn't shoot enough when we had 43 on goal, and a bunch of others that missed.

Huselius did pass a few up. He is different than Nikki, in my opinion. Unlike Z, Juice isn't trying to show how great he is with the puck, he is seriously looking for the opportunity to set somebody up. Unfortunately, he sometimes gets so focused on passing, that it doesn't dawn on him to shoot. That darn narrow blade of his also tends to send the puck high.

Guys with talent always want to make plays, and coaches are there to remind them of the need to keep it simple. The quality of our problems is a helluva lot better today than at this point last year! ;-)

Rick said...

I don't think I was specific enough. I know he not passing to be "flashy". I just wish when he got in that defined zone that he would shoot the puck. He's an excellent puck-handler and I'd never take that away from him.

Not taking anything away from Turco, he had a good night. And 1 point is better than 0.

And don't even get me started on Koharski...

roadman said...

I would agree with Rick. Seems to me that every one is getting so uptight about our scoring (or lack of) that they are trying to make the perfect play, sort of gripping the stick too tight. The Jackets are not a "perfect play" team, they are not a skilled group ala' the dead wings. RJ's play is a perfect example, trying the wrap around the goalie is down so he hurries, he cuts it too short and knocks himself off the puck. They do best when it's a simple game; get the puck, shoot the puck, bang in the rebound. Get it off the wall, cycle it, throw it to the net, go get it again. I think that's the message Hitch is trying to get through.