Tag Archives: Steve Mason

Puttin’ on the hurt!

Voracek Goal #2And I mean that literally, St. Louis.  For you lost a hockey game and TJ Oshie.  Plus some pride.  I have to admit that I did not have a lot of confidence going into Nationwide last night, hoping that the Blue Jackets could score their usual three goals and hold St. Louis to only two.

The Jackets didn’t do much wrong last night and the Blues’ defense didn’t do much right.  They reminded me of the Jacket defense of last season, slow and prone to turnovers.  Yes, I know they were without Barret Jackman, a man who thinks that hitting someone from behind is the way to play.  When he retires, he is going to open up the Checking From Behind Hockey School.  The jerseys for the students won’t have numbers on the back.

The only negative aspect of the game was that Derek Dorsett can’t remember that Ken Hitchock is no longer coaching the team.  When you have a seven goal lead and things have calmed down in the final minutes of the game, Derek, you’re supposed to ease up and plan for the next outing against the Blues.  You’re weren’t playing D League hockey against a co-ed team where the local custom is to celebrate every goal and trash talk.

I don’t want to read too much into the game last night because it’s still early and things happen quickly in hockey, especially bad things, but that was an impressive win and a confidence builder for me.  I can’t make the game Friday, but the Jackets have a good chance against an injured Colorado team.

I’m sure Mason will start the game and I hope he can put together back-to-back wins.  He had some good saves last night, he had some good luck with St. Louis missing the net a lot, and he also had the misfortune of a Fedor Tyutin giveaway for the only St. Louis goal.

After Colorado, it will be three tough games on the U.S. West Coast.  Three points would be nice, four better, and five unbelievable.

Again, last night was something.  A total team effort.  Great job from the old man Clark, from Brassard showing that he is what he is supposed to be, from Voracek getting the monkey off his back, from Filatov showing some toughness, and on and on.  As we used to say in Detroit, Bless you boys!

It’s Getting To Them

“Them” being the Dispatch writers who cover the Blue Jackets and blog about the team.  Yesterday, they blogged about a “moral victory” over Nashville, even though the Predators won the game, 1-0.  I was going to give the author, Aaron Portzline, the benefit of doubt on this one, figuring that he was more or less quoting coach Claude Noel.  But there wasn’t such a quote from Noel in the blog, so the moral victory must be a proclamation of Portzline.  And with that, you have to figure that the season is getting to them.

People, it has to be tough covering the Blue Jackets full-time.  The team peaked last April and has been circling the drain ever since.  Not only are things going badly on the ice, but off the ice, too.  The team stands to lose millions of dollars no matter what it does on the ice, all because of a bad lease.  The best guy to follow on the team was fired months ago and without Ken Hitchcock around, the team has no identity at all.  The superstar of the team, Rick Nash, showed during the Olympics that he truly is one of the best in the world, but back here at home he is simply above average.  The goaltender of the future might be just another goalie who saw his career go to pieces after a promising start with the Blue Jackets.  Give the Dispatch writers a break; it’s getting to them.

Most of the players on the team are signed for next year, with a few exceptions.  So what you see now is what you are stuck with.  Other than Nash, Kris Russell, Mason, and Jakub Voracek, who is in demand on the CBJ roster?  Yeah, tell me about Antoine Vermette, but name a #1 center or puck-moving defenseman that he would fetch.  This is your team, fans.  You’re stuck with it for next season, just like the we’re stuck with a horrible arena lease.  So when Aaron Portzline writes something that is really out there, think of what he has to do every day and be nice to him.  I love the game of hockey, but I don’t have to put on a happy face every time I watch a game.

Let’s get through the remaining games, draft a good player, maybe make a trade or two, hire a good coach, and move on.

Youth Is Served

Jackets beat San Jose, 3-0!  If not for that last minute goal by Dallas, Steve Mason would have THREE consecutive shutouts.  Tonight’s three stars were Steve Mason, age 21, Jakub Voracek, age 20, and Derick Brassard, age 22.  And doesn’t Brassard look great in the hard hat?

The Morning After

I could barely sleep last night after I got home from Nationwide (and a few stops in between).  A win!  Can you believe it?  Anyway, a new day has begun and with it, the anxiety over the rest of the season.  But I do have some quick thoughts.

-The sellout crowd was nice last night and what made it even better was the low number of Red Wing fans.  I don’t think there were more than 5,000 here, a new low for them.  The CBJ management got all excited and started making pitches for a sold-out New Year’s Eve game against Nashville.  I don’t how they can convince the Detroit fans to stay in town for that one.  Come on, Detroit, you’ve always helped fill Nationwide.

-I got my free Subway Blue Jacket 2010 calendar last night and must say that I am impressed.  The speed with which the team edited Jason Chimera out of the calendar has to be a record.  How do you trade a guy in the afternoon and then hand out thousands of team calendars that evening with his picture gone?

-I’ve read a few bloggers and comments out there complaining about the Chimera trade.  Look, sometimes a trade is just a trade.  The rest of the NHL knows that the team is desperate and are playing hardball with Scott Howson.  We didn’t get a #1 center nor did we get a #1 defenseman who can move the puck and shoot right-handed.  But a subtle message was sent to the players that they shouldn’t get too comfortable here and also to Ken Hitchcock.  Howson signaled to Hitch that he would not trade away a young player just to satisfy the coach’s craving for another veteran.  Instead, he got rid of another veteran.

-Honestly, most of you were just wanted a new cannon last year and better video and music this year.  You all thought that Steve Mason would shine like he did last night and that Rick Nash would have 30 goals by now.  The team needs deeper fixes and a change in strategy.

This will make you cry:

Nikita Filatov led Russia (2-0) offensively with a goal and an assist.

Filatov, who played in 13 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets this year before leaving to play with CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League, was named player of the game for his efforts.

Russia is undefeated in the World Junior Tournament and Filatov is the team captain. 

Florida Vacation

The lads put one up on the winner’s board last night with a solid 3-0 win over the Florida Panthers.  I’m sure the team celebrated the victory until they boarded the plane for Nashville.  A lot of winning streaks or just simple human feelings of joy have died down there in Music City.  Maybe they can get one out tonight.

Samuel Pahlson gets an award for strangest goal ever scored when the Florida center Kamil Kreps (now there’s a name!) drew a center-ice face-off back into his own empty net.  The rule is that the last person on the scoring team who touched the puck gets credit for a goal when a defender puts it into his own net, but Derick Brassard had just scored for the Jackets and last touched it, so it would have been unusual to give him another goal in this case.

Steve Mason showed that he can still play like he did last season and the defense showed that they remembered to clear that little black thing out of their own zone quickly and efficiently.  The offense still had a lot of chances that did not get converted, so maybe tonight they can finish better.

I applaud the fans who did turn out and not stay home and watch OSU football re-runs like our local TV weathermen advised.  I don’t think the team broke any dubious attendance records last night.

If the Jackets can put together some wins in the next two weeks, they might put some distance between themselves and Detroit.  Things are not good in the Motor City with all the injuries they have been hit with and lack of scoring.  The two games coming up on the 26th and 28th with the Red Wings now look very serious, a chance to show something. This is an important juncture for the team.

There were four shutouts in the NHL last night.  The Washington Ovechkins were shut out by Ryan Miller of Buffalo, the Red Wings by their (and our) former back-up, Ty Conklin of St. Louis, the Colorado Footalanche by Niklas Backstrom and Minnesota, and Steve Mason.  That is your useless fact of the day.

Go Jackets, give us an early Christmas present tonight.

Maple Loafs

The Maple Leafs came to town last night and steamrolled the Blue Jackets.  Of course, our home-town boys didn’t play very well, so it may not be accurate to use the word steamrolled.  How about saying that Toronto graciously accepted all the turnovers that the Jackets game them?  The first two TML goals happened right in front of me and they were beauts.  Mike Commodore had trouble with the puck and gave it right to Phil Kessel who put it by Steve Mason.  Mike, I’ll give you a hint; you want to look for that little black thing on the ice.

But Fedor Tyutin simply passed the puck right to Lee Stempniak for the second Toronto goal.  The Jackets did get a goal from Kristian Huselius to make it 2-1, but then the Maple Leafs executed to perfection a simple transition play and Jason Blake put the puck past Mason to go up, 3-1.  And it was over.  Toronto got five of their six goals from American boys and a token Russian put in the other.  Jason Chimera put in a meaningless third period goal that ended his scoreless streak.

I was very disappointed in the Toronto fans.  As you know, the local fan base does not show up for games anymore and the Blue Jackets depend upon the opposition to generate attendance numbers.  I would guess that only about 700 Toronto fans were there last night, enjoying the generosity of the Blue Jackets and taking in the Columbus attractions.  But come on Toronto, you’ve got to do better the next time.  I realize that our fair city doesn’t have casino gambling yet, but Buffalo could put 2,000 drunks into Nationwide on Tuesday night in February!

In other news, I see that John Rosenberger is going to be the (no pun intended, Dispatch?) “Point person” for the Blue Jackets financial situation.

John Rosenberger, the retired executive director of Capitol South Community Urban Redevelopment Corp., will seek a solution among team owners and officials, arena owners, and city and county leaders.

Well, I feel better already about the future for monster truck racing at Nationwide.  I’m sure he’ll get Nationwide on our side and they will re-think the lease terms of the arena so that it doesn’t get shut down.  Maybe Rosenberger will do something creative like call for a law stopping the army of scalpers outside the arena that killed the PSL investment that those of us made.  Maybe he will ask Nationwide to prohibit their employees from dumping their tickets.  Just thinking out loud here.

Well, the Colorado game is next up.  You know who had no shots on goal, no points, and six minutes in penalties, four of them in OT, in his last game against Florida.  Some people say he is a competitor, but I say he is a weasel.  I wonder if he will stop by his old Tartan Fields neighborhood?

Your Questions Answered

1.  Why is Vince Vaughn such a big Chicago fan?  Because he is from Chicago.  Although he was born in Minneapolis, he grew up in Chicago (Buffalo Grove) and graduated from Lake Forest HS.  Lake Forest is where the “Home Alone” movies were made.  Vaughn can be seen at Bears games, too.

2.  Who is worse, the Versus announcers or the local FSN guys, Rimer and Davidge?  Joe Beninati and Jeff Rimer both worked for the Washington Capitals, although Beninati is still there when not doing Versus games.  But I’ll take Rimer any day over Beninati simply because Jeff does not sound like he is doing a car commercial when he calls games.  Now Darren Eliot, who did the color for last night’s game, is a former NHL goalie and gets my vote over Bill Davidge.  He does work for the Thrashers when not doing Versus and writes for SI.com.  Although both men have similar voices. Eliot gets my vote simply because he doesn’t repeat things over and over.  No question about it!

3.  How long will Rusty Klesla be out?  I’m afraid a lot longer than six weeks.  Groin injuries are one of the worst for hockey players and I suppose you could say a groin tear would be catastrophic.  The simple act of pushing off in the skating stride can’t be done without a healthy and strong groin.

4.  Does Kris Russell get down on himself all the time when he makes an error?  Of course he does, because Hitchcock makes damn sure of it.  But after the last two games, the leash that he keeps Russell on might get longer.

5.  Is Steve Mason back?  He might be.  The signs are there, but if the team doesn’t play better in front of him, he could get lost again.

6.  Will the crowds at Nationwide ever come back?  Well, the Maple Leafs are here on Thursday, so that should mean a bigger crowd, although they won’t be cheering for the local boys.  Membership in the Adam Foote Haters Club has dropped some over last year because the guy usually weasels out of Columbus games, so I wouldn’t count on a big crowd for Saturday.  Maybe Tiger Woods will make an appearance as part of his rehab tour.  I can’t wait to see him at Muirfield next June.

7.  Any stats we fans should be watching?  Yes; the Jackets have won all games this season when they have outscored the opposition after three periods.  Also, the Jackets have won more games at Nationwide than any other NHL team.