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Jackets come home for Game 5 with backs against the wall

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05-11-2010, 07:05 PM
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Ohio Jones
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Jackets come home for Game 5 with backs against the wall

The Columbus Blue Jackets play host to the Calgary Flames tonight for a pivotal Game 5 in their second round series.

And their backs are against the wall.

Columbus got off to a strong start with a 2-0 victory in game 1, but dropped the next three games to find themselves on the brink of elimination. Their defense and goaltending have been inconsistent, but a greater concern has been the lack of production - especially on the powerplay, a problem that plagued the Jackets during their first round elimination of Detroit.

"Of course, then we were able to score 5-on-5," said Head Coach Mike Babcock, "and we were able to shut down the Wings' scorers. That hasn't been the case so far in this series."

Babcock shortened his bench in game 4 in an effort to generate more offence, but despite getting more shots on net, the Jackets were only able to beat Flames goalie Niklas Backstrom once.

To be fair, Columbus has been mostly effective defensively (leaving aside the game 2 blowout). And their checkers had done a remarkable job keeping the Flames' Jarome Iginla and Pavel Datsyuk off the scoresheet through three games, only to have each of them factor into one of Calgary's two goals in a closely contested Game 4 win.

But where the Jackets have had a tough time scoring, Calgary's largely unheralded scondary scoring has been picking up the slack for the Flames stars.

Particularly impressive has been the Flames' second unit of bruising pivot Paul Gaustad between wingers Devin Setoguchi and RJ Umberger.
Gaustad, a deadline acquisition from Battle-of-Alberta rival Edmonton, was largely invisible during the closing weeks of the regular season, drawing the ire of Calgary's fans. But he has more than made up for it with his performance in this series since being moved to the second line after the Flames' shutout loss in game 1. His line has tallied 6 goals and 7 assists for a whopping 13 points in 3 games, along with a shiny combined +18. Gaustad himself has been a two-way force.

It's an especially galling turn of events for the Blue Jackets, who nearly had a deal in place with the Oilers for Gaustad just hours prior to the deadline.

"There's a reason we wanted him," grimaced Jackets GM Doug Emerson, "and you're seeing it now: the guy's a warrior.

"But we have our fair share of players like that, too, and they're not about to roll over."

The Blue Jackets' Captain, Olli Jokinen, concurred with his GM's assessment as he headed off the ice at this mornings practice - where, it was suggested, the Blue Jackets worked on their breakouts and power play.

"We're going to give the Flames everything they can handle tonight," the big Finn opined. "If they want a win, they'll have to earn it. You'll see: later tonight, we'll be headed back to Calgary for a game 6."

One wonders where that confidence comes from, given that the Flames have consistently outshot the Jackets, while Backstrom has been every bit as efficient in net for Calgary as Dwayne Roloson was for Columbus in the first round.

"You'll see," Jokinen said simply.

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05-11-2010, 08:42 PM
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Good Luck Doug! Great article! It's become a real cat and mouse of line juggling and system setups... I'm sure this one won't be over tonight.

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05-11-2010, 09:27 PM
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Good Luck Doug! Great article! It's become a real cat and mouse of line juggling and system setups... I'm sure this one won't be over tonight.
... said the cat to the mouse.

I can honestly say I have no idea what's going to happen, but if I were a betting man, I would be putting my two bits down on Calgary.

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05-11-2010, 10:10 PM
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Go Flames Go!

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05-12-2010, 02:11 AM
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I would be putting my two bits down on Calgary.
HaHa. Where do I go to claim my winnings for losing?

Actually even though I lost I can tell you it's pretty great fun it is to go head to head with a great GM like Doug, matching lines, trying combo's of players, setting coaching strategies, trying to outwit your opponent. Nice win Doug! Game 6 coming up... even though the Flames are up by a game I still feel like its anyones series....let the fun continue

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05-12-2010, 05:24 AM
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HaHa. Where do I go to claim my winnings for losing?

Actually even though I lost I can tell you it's pretty great fun it is to go head to head with a great GM like Doug, matching lines, trying combo's of players, setting coaching strategies, trying to outwit your opponent. Nice win Doug! Game 6 coming up... even though the Flames are up by a game I still feel like its anyones series....let the fun continue
Likewise, Matthew - let's hope I can pull a Montreal (NHL) and make it even more exciting by taking it to a Game 7! (Hooray for playoff gates!)

Although I'd feel a little more accomplished if the trailing team in every other series - all of whom were also down 3-1 heading into Game 5 - hadn't won to force a Game 6. Weird.

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05-12-2010, 09:46 AM
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Although I'd feel a little more accomplished if the trailing team in every other series - all of whom were also down 3-1 heading into Game 5 - hadn't won to force a Game 6. Weird.
It was a very strange trend indeed. I wonder if at least 1 of the 4 teams that was down 3-1 can complete the comeback or if the sim is just toying with emotions.

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05-12-2010, 09:51 AM
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It was a very strange trend indeed. I wonder if at least 1 of the 4 teams that was down 3-1 can complete the comeback or if the sim is just toying with emotions.
Well no offense to Sean K, but I'm pulling for the Stars to come back. I don't know if they have the firepower to do that against the stacked Canucks, but I believe that would bump my 1st round draft pick up one spot if they can pull it off. Maybe Toews can pull off some more big game magic

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05-12-2010, 09:52 AM
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It was a very strange trend indeed. I wonder if at least 1 of the 4 teams that was down 3-1 can complete the comeback or if the sim is just toying with emotions.
I'd like to think it's not just the sim being mean-spirited and toying with emotions, but rather that it's simply the sim's way of injecting extra playoff revenue into the league. Much more socially satisfying perspective.

The ability to switch around the strategy sliders has added an extra element to these playoff match-ups I think, as does chemistry. It gives the feel of being able to direct the sim, rather than simply being left to its fluctuations entirely.

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05-12-2010, 01:14 PM
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The ability to switch around the strategy sliders has added an extra element to these playoff match-ups I think, as does chemistry. It gives the feel of being able to direct the sim, rather than simply being left to its fluctuations entirely.
Or so it wants you to believe...

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05-13-2010, 05:31 AM
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It was a very strange trend indeed. I wonder if at least 1 of the 4 teams that was down 3-1 can complete the comeback or if the sim is just toying with emotions.
We're part of the way there, with both Eastern Conference Series getting pushed to a game 7.

Let's hope we can repeat the pattern in the West tonight!

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05-13-2010, 11:46 PM
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Well, the Stars did their part in taking the Canucks to a game 7, but I dropped the ball as Matthew's Flames finished off my Blue Jackets in Game 6 to earn a spot in the Western Conference final.

Congratulations Matthew on a hard-fought, very strategic series! One line juggle too many proved to be the death of me, as - finally - Jarome Iginla woke up (apparently putting Berglund on the wing seems to have been the magic elixir) and got 4 points in the decisive 5-1 drubbing. For once, the Blue Jackets heavily out-shot the Flames -- by a 2-1 margin, no less -- but it was all for naught.

And yes, Gaustad got another point.

So the Blue Jackets head for the golf course, while the GM and coaching staff take stock and start to prepare for next season, when Columbus will look to defend their Central Division title in what will no doubt be another close race.

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05-14-2010, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Ohio Jones View Post
Well, the Stars did their part in taking the Canucks to a game 7, but I dropped the ball as Matthew's Flames finished off my Blue Jackets in Game 6 to earn a spot in the Western Conference final.

Congratulations Matthew on a hard-fought, very strategic series! One line juggle too many proved to be the death of me, as - finally - Jarome Iginla woke up (apparently putting Berglund on the wing seems to have been the magic elixir) and got 4 points in the decisive 5-1 drubbing. For once, the Blue Jackets heavily out-shot the Flames -- by a 2-1 margin, no less -- but it was all for naught.

And yes, Gaustad got another point.

So the Blue Jackets head for the golf course, while the GM and coaching staff take stock and start to prepare for next season, when Columbus will look to defend their Central Division title in what will no doubt be another close race.
Congrats on a very good season, Doug. And of course, congrats to Matt and the Flames!

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05-14-2010, 08:24 AM
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Way to go Matt!

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05-14-2010, 09:42 AM
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Congratulations Matthew on a hard-fought, very strategic series!
Thank you Doug. And congratulations of your very strong season as well...

Very surprised at the result of the series, and last nights game especially. Seems my big guns finally showed up when it mattered - Iginla (who only scored points with Berglund on his opposite wing this series) - and most importantly Backstrom. There is no way to downplay the importance of all these home games on removing the Flames from any future financials worries so I'm pretty relieved that I will have another two at the Dome.

Thanks Dryden & Sean...

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05-14-2010, 10:19 AM
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Thank you Doug. And congratulations of your very strong season as well...

Very surprised at the result of the series, and last nights game especially. Seems my big guns finally showed up when it mattered - Iginla (who only scored points with Berglund on his opposite wing this series) - and most importantly Backstrom. There is no way to downplay the importance of all these home games on removing the Flames from any future financials worries so I'm pretty relieved that I will have another two at the Dome.

Thanks Dryden & Sean...
Congrats Matt, glad to see you getting some more revenue. As somebody who had to help you try to make deals to remain competitive while at the same time cut cost, I know you are extremely relieved. Hopefully next year my Hurricanes can get some playoff revenues.

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05-14-2010, 10:24 AM
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Cogratulation Matt and Doug for hard fought playoff series. Matt, you may want to increase the revenue meter so you can max out on ticket sales. I am hitting $1.6M the last few games with increase meter.

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05-14-2010, 10:35 AM
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Cogratulation Matt and Doug for hard fought playoff series. Matt, you may want to increase the revenue meter so you can max out on ticket sales. I am hitting $1.6M the last few games with increase meter.
I assume you mean increasing his ticket sales and not changing the revenue meter for the whole sim?

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05-14-2010, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by islanders View Post
Cogratulation Matt and Doug for hard fought playoff series. Matt, you may want to increase the revenue meter so you can max out on ticket sales. I am hitting $1.6M the last few games with increase meter.
Yeah, I've been bumping it up almost every game. Game 4 at home I didnt sell out, dropped prices a buck and sold out. No doubt I'll continue to up them as long as the sim keeps the attendance up.

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05-14-2010, 10:49 AM
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I assume you mean increasing his ticket sales and not changing the revenue meter for the whole sim?
Yes, what I have noticed is that attendance increases with each series win.

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05-14-2010, 10:50 AM
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Yeah, I've been bumping it up almost every game. Game 4 at home I didnt sell out, dropped prices a buck and sold out. No doubt I'll continue to up them as long as the sim keeps the attendance up.
Remember, you don't want to sell out but keep it high enough to maximize your revenue.

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