Friday, November 17, 2006

Jackets vs. Avs 11/17/06

The Jacket's faced the Avs once again alright. To start with, kudos goes out to Fredrick Norrena, who in my book has proven himself worthy to be in the NHL. He got his first opportunity to start in Nationwide Arena tonight, but as well as he played, he still gets another tally in the 'L' column. It was sad to see the team clear the bench after the game to have their chance to apologize to their backup goaltender for losing once again, make that 11 of the last 14, and two in a row vs. backup goalies. For the fifth time in 17 games, the shutout goes to the opponents.

What is the deal with this team? I'm not going through the list again, everyone here reading knows the talent level of the players. They're good, but it halts at the individual level. I've been sitting night after night, seeing Fedorov and Vyborny make the best centering passes I've no one. It seems as though Jason Chimera's hands have turned to cement. He's fast, he can get to the puck, he had several multi-point preseason games, but he can't do anything after he sprints the length of the ice to get the puck. David Vyborny had the puck stolen every other time he touched it. Fedorov looked flat, except it's probably just exhaustion from playing every position on the ice every night. Gilbert Brule couldn't stay on his skates. Finally, I think every player in the NHL has figured out Nik Zherdev's toe drag.

I guess here's as good of time as ever to take a minute to vent about Zherdev. Here's the problem: he doesn't back check. And no, it's not that he doesn't know how, or can't, he just doesn't. Norrena even tried to exploit this weakness in Zherdev's game (the laziness in the defensive zone, that is) but the great pass from Norrena up to the offensive blue line didn't even work. Play went from goal line to goal line, Zherdev barely made it on side to accept the pass from Norrena. It came, but Zherdev didn't skate hard enough, and what could have been a one on one (which he's really good at by the way) turned into nothing, because Zherdev didn't get back in time. There was plenty of time, seeing as though there were 9 other skaters on the ice who made it back. Zherdev just didn't do it.

Here we are again, the turning point of the season. Yeah, I said it right. Yeah it's November. Yeah, it's the turning point. Actually, we missed it already. In order to get to 90 points, the Jackets must finish the season 40-25, .615 almost the exact opposite of what they have now. The bad news is that last season, 90 points wasn't good enough. Edmonton, the 8th seed, had 95, which boosts the winning percentage to around .650.

Side note: there's a great article in the Columbus Dispatch about the ice quality. Apparently it sucks. Rookie ice crew. I learned the original ice techician left to pursue other interests, and the new engineer was hired two weeks before the season started. Hey MacLean! looking for an ice technician? I know a guy!

Final Score:
Colorado Avalanche 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 0

Box Score

Record: 5-11-1

The race to 90 pts: 40 wins (.615)

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