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Blue Jackets hopeful for return to playoffs: Season Preview

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Old
09-09-2009, 04:39 PM
  #1
DD88
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Blue Jackets hopeful for return to playoffs: Season Preview

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After qualifying for last year’s post-season, the Columbus Blue Jackets dropped the title as the league’s only team who had not previously been in the playoffs. But that trip to the playoffs was short-lived, swept in the opening round by the Detroit Red Wings.

In a difficult conference, especially with a young goalie, the odds are against the Blue Jackets to make the playoffs again in 2009-10.

The Blue Jackets have replaced veteran checking centre Michael Peca with free agent Samuel Pahlsson, a solid addition. The team will also see the return of starting centre Derick Brassard, who was on a hot pace last year, scoring 25 points in 31 games, before a shoulder injury cut his season short.

Columbus will have forward Antoine Vermette for the entire season, who was acquired at last year’s trade deadline from Ottawa for goalie Pascal Leclaire. Vermette found his scoring touch in Columbus, tallying 13 points in 17 games.

Head Coach Ken Hitchcock should see the continued development of Jakub Voracek, while it is expected that scorer Nikita Filatov, drafted sixth overall in 2008, will also have full-time duty with the big club. Filatov gave fans a sneak peak of his skill last season, scoring four goals in eight games. The team is excited to see how that translates over a full season.

After not re-signing defensemen Christian Backman and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, Marc Methot and Kris Russell will have an increased workload. Mike Commodore, signed as a free agent last summer, had a solid first season in Columbus, as did Fedor Tyutin, acquired from the New York Rangers. Rostislav Klesla continues to suffer from injury problems.

It would be unrealistic to expect another 10 shutouts from Steve Mason, though the team is banking that last year was not a fluke, but has added veteran Mathieu Garon as backup should Mason falter.

Prediction: 10th in West
For more season previews, check out www.corywilkins.ca

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Old
09-09-2009, 05:33 PM
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Viqsi
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Three quibbles:
* Pahlsson is the replacement for Manny Malhotra, not Mike Peca.
* No mention of Jan Hejda? None at all? I mean, he's on the top pairing and kind of the best defensive defenseman we have, y'know...
* Some of those sentences are a little twisted - in particular, the last one regarding goaltending seems to be three disjointed sentence fragments haphazardly bolted together.

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09-09-2009, 05:53 PM
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10th in the West?? bah, I'm thinking 10th in the league.

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09-09-2009, 06:12 PM
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10th in the West?? bah, I'm thinking 10th in the league.
I didn't contest that because it's somewhat plausible. I don't think it's likely, but it's plausible.

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Old
09-09-2009, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Timeless Winter View Post
10th in the West?? bah, I'm thinking 10th in the league.
I'm thinking more like 12th in the league, sixth in the West. But it's possible.

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09-09-2009, 07:18 PM
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you know what though? Pahlsson kind of is Peca's replacement. Granted, he took the $ that would've gone to Manny, and they have similar skill sets, but Manny's "spot" was between Rick and Huse on the 1st line, unfortunately.

Puck Daddy's season preview mentioned him as Malhotra's replacement, which wasn't wrong, but in terms of how the lines shook out for most of last season, he'll be replacing Peca on the 3rd line.

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09-09-2009, 07:34 PM
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you know what though? Pahlsson kind of is Peca's replacement. Granted, he took the $ that would've gone to Manny, and they have similar skill sets, but Manny's "spot" was between Rick and Huse on the 1st line, unfortunately.

Puck Daddy's season preview mentioned him as Malhotra's replacement, which wasn't wrong, but in terms of how the lines shook out for most of last season, he'll be replacing Peca on the 3rd line.
The problem I have with such a perception is that it suggests that we had a first-line center to begin with for "replacement"; the closest equivalent we ever had last year was Umberger (ha ha). Manny wasn't really our first-line center; he just played that role on TV.

But that's really a semantics debate; we could go on and on.

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09-09-2009, 09:57 PM
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division battle's going to be tough.

We're going to be battling St. Louis, who's got EJ back, solid goaltending, and a rapidly growing team, and the tough defensive Nashville, and maybe even Chicago, if they fail to live up to the expectations of battling with Detroit. 10th is plausible.

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09-09-2009, 10:04 PM
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Peca for all intent and purpose was our third line center; I know the centers where all over the map last season but if I recall as the season came to an end Malhotra was the fourth line center Peca third.

But that's not important really, what is important is that the HF staff (experts imo) came up with the 10th seed based on credible facts. Some have discounted my assertion that our division strength will end up being an issue due to all teams improving equally (or something like that). I say don't overrate the Jackets in our division, we could lose a ton of games to Detroit, Chicago, SL and Nashville if we play anything less than playoff hockey in those games.

If Mason goes down (for any reason), our power play continues to hover around 25th or injuries take out Klesla and Brassard our season could end up as a 10th seed in the West.

I predicted a finish over a broad range from 7th to 11th based on these possibilities, however; if we improve our PP, avoid injuries and Mason excels we will be the 7th seed. If not a 10th seed is possible.

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09-09-2009, 10:34 PM
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Seemed a little negative...I'd expect most "experts" would expect the CBJ to take a step forward. The CBJ had a slow start last year due to LeClaire being run over and broken in preseason and all of the new guys (Umberger/Tyutin/Commodore/Huselius/Voracek/Brassard) still feeling each other out. The CBJ are basically adding Brassard and Filatov without losing anything significant. Mason played 10-15 games with Mono, missed training camp last year due to surgery and played only 3 minor league pro games before being thrown into the CBJ crease. If he handled that last year, can't see how much more challenging this season could be.

Unless we get some major injury issues going on, I'd think not making the playoffs will be a huge fan let down.

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Old
09-10-2009, 06:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkeye19 View Post
division battle's going to be tough.

We're going to be battling St. Louis, who's got EJ back, solid goaltending, and a rapidly growing team, and the tough defensive Nashville, and maybe even Chicago, if they fail to live up to the expectations of battling with Detroit. 10th is plausible.

Do I feel we are a lock for the playoffs? Hell no, especially with only 6 dmen, but I just have the feeling that our guys played with a lot of burden last year and came through it together which has built a big sense of pride and ownership of their team.

Nash is here to stay, RJ has become a blue jacket and that flyers logo he had on his heart is fading. Brass, Jake, Boll, Russell, Dorsett, Mason feel strongly that this is their team and no longer have that wide-eyed just happy to be here sense about them.

No doubt it is going to be a battle and it wouldn't be Blue Jacket hockey if we weren't white knuckling it the entire year, but I think we have more to give. Our October is a brutal travel/road game schedule and if we can get through that month above .500 that will be a terrific start.

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09-10-2009, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viqsi View Post
Manny wasn't really our first-line center; he just played that role on TV.

But that's really a semantics debate; we could go on and on.


agreed!

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09-10-2009, 08:32 AM
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Fair enough assesment.

I think Pahlsson replacement issue is complicated, but the way you worded it is fine.

I would like some Hejda love as well(9th in the league in +/- amongst Dmen for example).

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09-10-2009, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viqsi View Post
Three quibbles:
* Pahlsson is the replacement for Manny Malhotra, not Mike Peca.
Pahlsson is the replacement for Mike Peca. Brassard is technically the replacement for Manny looking at how they were utilized last year. Not complicated at all.

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09-10-2009, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blahblah View Post
Pahlsson is the replacement for Mike Peca. Brassard is technically the replacement for Manny looking at how they were utilized last year. Not complicated at all.
...strange, I seem to recall just finishing this conversation...

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09-10-2009, 10:39 AM
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I think where we place in the standings will depend on what the power play does. I dont think theres any chance in hell we make the playoffs again with the 30th power play. Unfortunately, that key weakness wasnt address at all in the offseason (while the offseason still isnt over, its VERY close). If we bring in Babchuk, that could change that in a hurry, but if we dont ( and i dont see anything pointing that we will), I do not see the power play improving much at all and that could cost us a chance at the playoffs.

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09-10-2009, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by BluejacketNut View Post
I think where we place in the standings will depend on what the power play does. I dont think theres any chance in hell we make the playoffs again with the 30th power play. Unfortunately, that key weakness wasnt address at all in the offseason (while the offseason still isnt over, its VERY close). If we bring in Babchuk, that could change that in a hurry, but if we dont ( and i dont see anything pointing that we will), I do not see the power play improving much at all and that could cost us a chance at the playoffs.
You don't think having Brassard and an older Voracek and Filatov shows signs of at least some hope?

Like I posted already (not sure if it was in this thread) the first unit pp is fine (hovered around 18%), it is our 2nd unit that suffered (around 4%). Filatov will likely see time on the 2nd unit pp, and now that our 2nd unit has a year of experience under their belts, that should help.

Do I think we will sky rocket to a top 10 pp in the league? No, but there our guys on our existing unit (s) that can do a hell of a lot better than they did last year.

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09-10-2009, 11:48 AM
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Dont know yet, we still have to see how they play their second, or first year. I felt our biggest problems was from the point, getting shots through. I dont want Jake, Brassard or Filatov manning the point, i think they'd get eaten alive back there. And theres also 2 goal Noel still looming in the background

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09-10-2009, 12:35 PM
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...strange, I seem to recall just finishing this conversation...
Strange I saw your message and didn't care what anyone else had said after me. And I responded. I still don't care.

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09-10-2009, 12:37 PM
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http://www.hockeytraderumors.com/mod...icle&sid=11717

Another person's preview.

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09-10-2009, 12:43 PM
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Viqsi
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Strange I saw your message and didn't care what anyone else had said after me. And I responded. I still don't care.
It does no good to rehash a conversation that has already taken place. Makes it look like you don't pay attention to details - or things that are hovering right in front of your face, for that matter.

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09-10-2009, 12:50 PM
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Considering how close the West is, 4-10, being picked 10th isn't all that shocking. In my mind we'll hit the 90+ point mark again this season and grab a 6-8 seed in the West...but I'm a bit of an optimist.

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09-10-2009, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Skraut View Post
By Nordique (s)....100.

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09-10-2009, 01:34 PM
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What sort of website prohibits Hitchcock and Clitsome? Is this third grade?

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09-10-2009, 02:11 PM
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Poor Clitsome is victim of the vulgarity filter again LOL

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