Blue Jackets Week In Review

Hopes were high as the newly invigorated Columbus Blue Jackets roster, an energized fanbase, and a sold-out opening night were aligned to kick off the season.  Then the season started, at least for most of the Blue Jackets.  Some of the players apparently haven’t noticed.  It was clear in the offseason that the onus would be on goaltender Steve Mason to be a reliable starter.  Despite two straight years of regression from his electrifying rookie season, general manager Scott Howson stuck by Mason, deciding to spend money elsewhere improving the defense and forward groups.  The pressure intensified when newly acquired backup Mark Dekanich went down with a high ankle sprain, an injury sure to keep him on the shelf for a few weeks.  Thus far Mason has not stepped-up his game.  Mason played fairly well against both Nashville and Colorado, but he never seems to make tough saves, the sort of saves a dependable number one goaltender needs to make to keep his team in close games.  To be fair, the defense has not been very good, a few of the goals have come off the sticks of undefended players or from open passing lanes that leave a goaltender struggling to cover the net.  For a fantastic insider look at one of the goals Vancouver scored and what went wrong, read this excellent analysis by blogger Justin Bourne.


Nashville 3 Columbus 2

  • The Predators are a team that have always thrived on the Blue Jackets, enjoying a lifetime record of 45-14-1-4.
  • The Blue Jackets first line of Vinny Prospal – Jeff Carter – Rick Nash was dominant, combining for both goals and all four assists.
  • Jeff Carter went 24-7 on faceoffs setting a franchise record for most faceoffs won in a single game.
  • Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne was fantastic, turning aside 32 of 34 shots, including some great saves when the game was tied.
  • Three players made their NHL debuts for the Blue Jackets: center Ryan Johansen, right wing Cam Atkinson, and defenseman David Savard.
Minnesota 4 Columbus 2
  • The Blue Jackets found themselves in a hole only 1:10 into the game when Wild center Matt Cullen scored on a breakaway.
  • The Blue Jackets were down 3-0 midway through the second period before scoring, they never got closer than a two goal differential.
  • Left wing Matt Calvert took a nasty high stick from Wild center Pierre-Marc Bouchard that knocked out teeth and caused a cut that needed stitches.  Bouchard was assessed a double-minor and was later suspended by the league for two games.
  • Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason was pulled after the second period, he was relieved by Curtis Sanford who stopped all three shots he faced in his Blue Jackets debut.
Vancouver 3 Columbus 2
  • The first time the Blue Jackets have ever been 0-3.
  • Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev was whistled for closing his hand on the puck in the crease, and the Blue jackets were awarded a penalty shot.  Left wing Maksim Mayorov took the shot, but was thwarted by goaltender Cory Schneider.
  • Right wing Cam Atkinson scored his first NHL goal.
  • The Blue Jackets entered the third period leading 2-1, but let Vancouver rally to win in regulation despite holding the Sedin twins to zero shots on goal.
  • This was the Canucks 8th straight win over Columbus.
Colorado 3 Columbus 2 (SO)
  • The Blue Jackets are 0-20 on the power play.
  • The Blue Jackets have only 9 lifetime wins against the Avalanche, their lowest win total among teams in the Western Conference.
  • The first line (Prospal-Carter-Nash) thoroughly dominated at times, they were on the ice for both goals scored.
  • Goaltender Steve Mason was very good, until the shootout, where he allowed both Avalanche players he faced to score.
  • Former Blue Jackets defenseman Jan Hejda was originally credited with the game-tying goal.  It was later changed to rookie left wing Gabriel Landeskog, with Hejda credited with the first assist.
+ The First Line – They have been nothing short of outstanding.  They have carried this team offensively.
+ Grant Clitsome – With two assists and an even rating, he has been the Jackets most productive defenseman.
+ Cam Atkinson – Yes he’s minus-4, and yes he has looked his size at times, but the kid got his first NHL goal and doesn’t look lost.
– The Power Play – In the preseason the power play looked efficient and dangerous.  In the first four games it has looked bad and… well bad.
– Steve Mason – As I mentioned previously, Mason does not deserve all of the blame, but to be perfectly honest he just hasn’t been good enough.
– Secondary Scoring – Someone please alert R.J. Umberger, Antoine Vermette, Derick Brassard, and Fedor Tyutin that the season has started.
  • Columbus Blue Jackets roster changes: Despite looking fairly good, the Blue Jackets today sent right wing Cam Atkinson to Springfield of the AHL and recalled forward Alexandre Giroux.  Giroux is a bit more experienced and is eight years older than Atkinson, also Atkinson’s contract situation allows him to be sent down without needing to clear waivers.