Wednesday, November 1, 2006

What needs to get better?

Ok, so I've been slacking a bit in the game review section as of late, but hey, the team appears to be slacking a bit too. It's come down to three things the Jackets can do better to improve those stats and standings. In no particular order, here they are:

Win Faceoffs

Yes, even though you can hit someone real hard and steal the puck, posession is still a huge part of the game. Even though all faceoffs are important, there are a couple that are REALLY important, like the ones on specialty teams. It's the difference on a power play between getting that one-timer goal from the point, or 20 seconds of wasted time as the defense plays the puck back to the other end of the ice. The Blue Jacket's centers are definitely not rising to the occasion. Of the seven centers that have taken a faceoff this season, 3 are above 50% and the highest scorer, 66.7% put up by Geoff Platt, doesn't even play on the big club anymore. Manny Malhotra's numbers aren't horrible at 54% (at least he wins more than half), but his special teams are right at 50%. Fedorov sits third on the list with 51.4%. The other centers playing are Alexander Svitov and Gilbert Brule, 37.9% and 41.1%, respectively.

To break down the numbers a bit I will go to the game on 10/28 in New Jersey. Looking at the faceoff following a penalty, the Blue Jackets were 2 for 10, a 20% faceoff win percentage. The total percentage for the game, an appaling 22%. The faceoffs MUST get better to have a shot at winning a game. Where's Mike Sillinger when you need him?

No stupid penalties

That's right, I'm talking about the favorites of the "new" NHL. Hooking and Holding are the big ones, and they're being called on our top penalty kill lines, with the likes of David Vyborny and Sergei Fedorov being near the top...which brings me to the best thing to yell at the ref's when penalties are called on the guys that shouldn't be taking these stupid penalties: "[Insert player's name] doesn't cheat! he's a fair player!"

Score some goals

This goes without saying...good news is, it isn't as bad as the Blackhawks, who went almost 3 games without a goal. I feel like John Madden saying this but in order to win a hockey game, you have to score a goal, usually more than one or two. The Blue Jackets have the offensive fire power, the scorers and playmakers need to make something happen.

1 comment:

Yoder said...

After I posted this, I realized that not many people know who Mike Sillinger is. For the purpose of this article, Mike Sillinger is a center who is known for his faceoff numbers, he's played for 12 NHL franchises, with a stop in Columbus along the way. He was traded for defenseman Darryl Sydor in 2004. So far this year, he leads the league in faceoffs.