Sunday, April 12, 2009

Look Out, Detroit, Here We Come!!!!

St. Louis has just defeated Colorado, 1 -0, which means they assume the 6th place slot, and we take 7th, due to St. Louis winning the head-to-head series with the CBJ.  St. Louis is off to Vancouver, while we will travel to Detroit.  Anaheim will battle San Jose, and Chicago will go up against Calgary.

There are some real advantages to this matchup -- a better travel schedule, the chance to get some of the CBJ fans up to the away games, and an opponent we know very well.  Detroit is formidable, particularly in the playoffs, but their goaltending is a potential chink in the armor, and we will not be intimidated by them.  I would rather face Osgood at this time of year than Luongo.  

Nothing easy in the playoffs, but we have what it takes to win.  Hitch will have them ready, and it will be a helluva series to watch. We will be working on our tickets shortly.

Go Jackets!  


Big T said...

Here we go Jackets! We have nothing to lose against our hated Big Brother who has been kicking us around for years. Lots of tickets for cheap in Detroit. The fans in Detroit will not be in to these games, they are above us in their minds. Great position for us to be in.
We have not hit anyone for 2 weeks, we need to play physical Jacket hockey like in Feb. Am I the only one excited.

Paul said...

After the way the Jackets played over the last week, I'm more concerned than excited. Losing to Tampa Bay and Minnesota, when neither team had anything left to play for? I can see losing to the Blues at home, when they were fighting to make the play-offs. But when you look at the jackets' record this past week - Only 1 win and that in a shootout - as excited as I am to have them in the play-offs, I'm concerned about an early exit.

JAL said...

Tampa Bay???? That was awhile ago, and was a game where we got a point.

Minnesota got fired up when they learned that Lemaire was not going to return as coach, which they found out at the first intermission. Our boys let up on the gas after the 2 - 0 lead, and just as Minnesota stepped on it.

You can't read too much into these last games. There is a natural letdown after clinching, and St. Louis had everything to play for and the officials on their side.

Emotion is a volatile thing, especially when you have a young team. Also, fans make much more of the difference between 5,6,7 and 8 than the players and coaches do. You either have home ice advantage, or you don't. Take the CBJ -- if they beat Detroit, and the seeds hold, they play Vancouver in semi-finals. Had we been 6th, we would have played Vancouver first, then Detroit. Does it matter? Not really.

Hitch, Commodore, Peca have all been there and know how to approach this time of year. The boys will be ready, and we will see some great hockey. Outcome? Who knows? We have the talent to go far, but it is a lot to ask for a team so young, and in its first playoff experience.

One game at a time!

Paul said...

Tampa Bay was just two weeks ago. And, no, we did not get a point from that. We got a point from Florida, two days earlier. And that was BEFORE we clinched.
Take a look at the Jackets' record and general play since it became obvious we'd get into the play-offs. Say, in the last 30 days. A small handful of well played games, but mostly indifferent play with a few truly terrible games. And the entire time, the Jackets had a real chance of moving up to fourth and securing home ice advantage throughout the play-offs.
Am I glad the Jackets made the play-offs? HELL, YEAH! Am I excited? HELL, YEAH! Do I hope that we get through to, at least, the 2nd round? HELL, YEAH!
But their play over the last, more or less, month, does leave me with concerns.

Brian said...

Hey Jackets Nation.

If you believe the sky is falling.

That is just rain or maybe snow.

We live in central Ohio!

JAL said...

Sorry, Paul, but you need to get your facts in line. We beat Florida 3 - 1, then lost in overtime to Tampa Bay on St. Louis' shot to the far post. 3 out of 4 points on that 2 game trip.

I also disagree with your assessment that the Jackets had a "real" shot at 4th. Chicago finished with 104 points, and was 9 - 3 -1 over their final 13, with the CBJ accounting for 1 of those losses and the OTL.

Yes, we had some indifferent play. We also had some terrific play. This is a young team, and Hitch warned about the roller coaster from the very beginning. This is a whole new season.

Paul said...

YOU said we got a point from Tampa Bay. Copy and paste from your previous post: "Tampa Bay???? That was awhile ago, and was a game where we got a point." So, yes, you were right. But so was I. We lost. In a game we should have won. Nor did I say getting the 4th seed was probable, only that we had a real chance to do so. We finished with 91 points, but lost 7 of our last 10 games. Do the math. That's 14 - we, 12, really, since 2 were OTL's - points we let get away. Make all of those wins and, suddenly, that's 103 points. One behind Chicago. Turn the last Chicago game from an overtime win to a regulation time win and we'd have 104 points against Chicago's 102. Meaning WE'D be in 4th place, not Chicago. Probable? No, but a real chance, just as I said.
ANy further dispute with my opriginal post, or are you ready to admit that I know what I'm talking about?

JAL said...

I didn't insinuate that you don't know what you are talking about. Everyone has opinions, and that's the great thing about these blogs, is that everyone can express views. I take heat for some of my opinions, and others can expect the same. It's not personal, just different opinions.

My comments on your original post were based on both the facts as you recited them and the tone, which I disagree with. Like it or not, the NHL is based upon points, not wins and losses. Of course, wins and losses are tied to points, but they are not the same.

In the Dirty Dozen, the Jackets were 5 - 3 - 4 for 14 out of a possible 24 points. Just shy of .600. Extended over a season, that is 98 points. Not shabby.

A point I keep trying to make is that in an 82 game season, you are going to lose games. It took phenomenal runs by St. Louis and Anaheim (9-2-1 each) to make the dance. You can pick at any given sequence of games and find mistakes, points that got away, etc. You can find more sets of games where we did great things.

You simply can't gauge what is going to happen in the playoffs by post-clinching performance in the NHL. Detroit was 3-6-1 over their last 10. Are they a bad team? Don't think so . . .

We have a .500 record against Detroit, and should be more rested and healthy than we have been in awhile. There are going to be some great battles, and Hitch will have the team ready. As fans, that is all we can ask for -- be ready, and do your best.

BTW, the Jackets finished with 92 points, not 91.

Paul said...

92? Okay, I lost one. That simply reinforces my point that, had the Jackets played better, there was a chance they could have improved from 6th, instead of stumbling their way into 7th. Was getting all the way to 4th a realistic possibility? Probably not, but getting to 5th definitely was. And it's not just the losses, but the way they played those last ten to fifteen games. If they play in round 1 the same way they played in those games, it will be a swift "Four and out" for the Jackets.
That said, I honestly don't care whether the Jackets get to round 2 or get knocked out in round 1. Naturally, the longer they stay in, the better, but the fact that they made it to the play-offs and they talent at Syracuse indicates that things are only going to get better.
This year has been great, but I'm already looking forward to next season and beyond.

JAL said...

Paul -- I'll shut up after this one, and we can agree to disagree on viewpoint, which is what this is.

Why do fans in this town have so much trouble enjoying what they have? If OSU goes 10-2 in football, and is ranked 7th in the country, you would think they were winless, based upon reaction.

Same thing here -- why not enjoy the fact that 92 points is a huge step from last year, especially for a young team with lots of injuries. It's great to be excited for next year, but enjoy this one. That's the great thing about the NHL Playoffs -- anything can happen.

The CBJ were 7-4-4 over their last 15 games. Again batting .600. Sure some got away, but to select bad performances at random, discount the good performances, and use the former as a basis for pessimism seems counterintuitive.

But hell, that's what this is all about, right? Go Jackets!

Paul said...

You misunderstand my intent.
For me, this year, the play-offs are dessert. Whatever the Jackets do is just fine with me because they've already delivered more in this season than they did in the previous seven. Therefore, what does it matter if hey get shut out in four straight games or if they just barely miss the finals? It's already been a hell of a year and that's fine with me.
Oh, and I would appreciate it if you would not include me with the OSU whiners. I was raised in San Francisco and environs. I was an Oakland A's fan (How's that for rooting in futility?) and, until Al Davis stabbed the fans in the back, an Oakland Raiders fan. OSU fans, especially their football fans, are a pack of spoiled brats who are, now, obviously threatened by the idea that a team not affiliated with their school is getting attention.
This year, I'll enjoy whatever the Jackets do in the play-offs, while still maintaining that they certainly could have, and should have, played better over the last month of season. But I'm already anxious for next year, when they will certainly be an even better team. (For instance, having Mase for a full season!)

JAL said...

Paul -- All is clear and I stand corrected. A thousand pardons for mistakenly including you in the OSU fanatacism.

As you may or may not know, I am a fellow Bay Area refugee, but a die hard Giants and 49ers fan (many long days at Kezar Stadium before they got good). We were in Section 101 Row 2 for Game 3 of the A's - Giants series in 1989, then this little earthquake hit . . .

You can contact me offline at -- let me know where in the Bay Area you are from. Small world . . .

So, while we can disagree on A's vs. Giants and Raiders vs. Niners, I will gracefully acknowledge error in misunderstanding your intent. :-)

Paul said...

Then, you know futility better than any Jackets fan. Next thing you'll tell me is that you were also a Stanford fan and, then, I'll have to feel sorry for you.
Look, I honestly hope the Jackets do well in the play-offs. But I look at the last 15 games (And only in the NHL can you win 7 of 15 games and not have a losing record! I mean, excuse me, regulation or overtime, a loss is a loss.) and I'm concerned.

JAL said...

Class of '77 -- Go Cardinal!

Paul said...

::shaking head:: Well, at least you aren't one of those provincial Columbusites who look down their nose at those of us who moved here.
Remember the Golden Seals?

JAL said...

Absolutely remember the Golden Seals -- at both the Cow Palace and the Oakland Coliseum.

When we were in Toronto, summer of 2007, we were going through the Hockey Hall of Fame, and one of the volunteers was chatting with us. He said he had a trivia question that very few people ever got -- what innovation did Charlie Finley bring to the NHL when he owned the Seals?

It took me about a second to give him the answer: "White Skates." He was floored. :-)

Nice exhibit there on the Seals, and just an overall great place to see, BTW.

Paul said...

I'll have to get up there, one of these days.
I was just reading a few of the Puckrakers blogs. If some of that talent they've called up from Syracuse makes the team, next season, we're going to be a much improved team. When you think what the jackets have done with their deficiencies (No real back-up goalie, no #1 center, no power play, Christian Backman taking up a roster space), it's almost scary what they accomplished, this year.

JAL said...

Very true -- I am working on two pieces right now, probably too long for the blog, so I will probably post over at Inside Hockey. One is on the adversity that the Jackets did overcome this year (roster gaps, injuries, sickness, 20 back to backs in schedule, etc.) The second is an analysis, good and bad, of the McLean years, from the aspects of the President's role (community involvement and visibility, etc.), GM Role (draft, trades, free agency) and coaching(all 3 coaches prior to Hitch)

This darn work stuff just gets in the way . .. ;-)

Paul said...

Outside of drafting Nash and Mase, what did MacLean do right? The guy nearly put me off hockey altogether. It took several strikes for me to give up on baseball.
Work stuff? Are you a sports writer?

JAL said...

No -- I have a regular day job. Just do this blog, and articles for Inside Hockey. Another contributor to this community, HitchRules, also writes for Inside Hockey.

Paul said...

Ah, I see. Well, I have another day in the warehouse, tomorrow. Good night.