Saturday, October 7, 2006

Opening Night 2006

Amid much pomp and fanfare, the 2006-2007 Columbus Blue Jackets debuted in their home opener against the Vancouver Canucks. The pregame ceremonies were as filled with flair as any fan could expect. The Blue Jackets have never been an organization to pass on an opportunity to dazzle attendees with lights, music, and overproduced highlight and pregame videos. After introducing the entire Jackets team (minus a few stars who are injured or without a proper U.S. work visa), the game began.

The first period started strong. The Jackets appeared sharp and focused out of the gate, demonstrating less than two minutes into the game that this year's team was able to take some of our greener players to the next level. Hartigan scored on Luongo from Westcott and Hainsey on the jackets' first power play opportunity of the season.

The rest of the period went by uneventfully, and another real scoring chance would not come until late in the 2nd period. In a series of successive penalties, the Canucks ended up in a 3 on 5 situation with Fitzpatrick, Ohlund and Krajicek in the penalty box. Vyborny took advantage with help from Hartigan and Nash. The Jackets were able to manage a goal from the extended power play.

After the exciting 5 on 3 power play in the 2nd, the Jackets speed, energy, and focus died off. The third period was gloomy at best for the Jackets, who gave up 1 goal in the middle of the 3rd, and another with only 3 minutes to go. The precious second half of the third period demonstrated Vancouver's ability to exploit their own stamina and determination. Offensively, the Canucks dominated the Blue Jackets, out shooting them 15-4.

Overtime seemed to last hardly more than a blink of an eye as a Sedin brothers combo landed the puck in Leclaire's net.

All in all, the loss turned out to be very disappointing for this frustrated fan. This Jackets squad is ready for the next level, meaning that they need to be on the ice to play the whole game and not succumb to fatigue 45 minutes in. After such a strong demonstration of defensive skills and an outstanding performance by the young goaltender (41 saves), to give up three successive goals to lose in overtime was a heartbreaker.

The most frustrating point of all is over the same concern I've had for years about the Jackets. At the end of the game, we were out shot 44-20. Being outshot grossly has been a reoccuring issue with the Jackets. Even though we had 6 minutes of power play in the second period, we still only mustered 6 total shots. The Blue Jackets forwards needs to remember my favorite Wayne Gretzky quote: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Vancouver Canucks 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 2
Jackets record: 0-0-0-1

Box score

No comments: