Thursday night's game with the Blue Jackets was NOT one for the ages, but we got two standings points, so I guess it's okay.
For a number of reasons, the arena was damn near empty. The weather was really cruddy. Freezing rain, ice accumulations of up to a half inch. People don't like to go out in stuff like that. Also, the game wasn't part of the very popular "24 game pack", so most likely the only folks there were full season ticket holders. It's been a month since I've been to a game, so I'm getting really anxious. I had the night off, and I could have traded my unused tickets to an earlier game for that, but I wasn't about to go out in that nasty weather. Besides, I've got the Devils coming to town on Saturday. Finally! An Eastern Conference opponent. We've just played seven in a row versus the West, and I'm looking forward to seeing visiting players I'm more familiar with.
So... About the game. A big snoozefest. And speaking of household names, the Jackets were without Rick Nash AND Adam Foote. Sure, they have future hall of famer Sergei "I was almost a Hurricane" Fedorov, but he's a shadow of what he used to be. I think the year off, as he so eloquently stated in his second intermission interview, killed him.
Clearly the best Jacket last night was (it pains me to say this, knowing that Jes will get a rise out of it) Jaroslav Balaštík. He was all over the place. Our announcer must have called his name a hundred times.
No scoring in the first, but the Canes killed a full two minutes of five-on-three. I don't know whether this speaks about the Canes' killing or the Jackets' futility on PP, but they didn't even get a shot off with a full two minutes of five-on-three.
While the Canes were enjoying their own full two minutes of five-on-three, there was finally a goal at 6:33 of the second. Cory Stillman unleashed a slapshot that was somehow tipped by Brindy from close in. Brindy got the goal, with helpers from Stillman and Whitney. The second goal was a thing of beauty. Brindy had to do a nifty move while laying on his stomach to keep the puck in the zone. AWard corralled it and got it to Williams, who found Brindy behind the net for a backhand beauty at 9:24 of the second. That was all the scoring we would need, but Columbus made it interesting by getting a breakaway goal from Michael Rupp at 1:20 of the third. The scoresheet says that Rupp created a takeaway, but by my estimation, Cory Stillman committed a giveaway in neutral ice, setting up the easy goal.
There's really nothing to say about this game. It was boring. For the second straight game, though, Team Canada hopeful Eric Staal was held without a point. We need to get that back on track.
Andrew Hutchinson has been playing as a fourth line forward and power play point man. He had no points last night, but is still well along the way to the eight needed for a hot dog with cheese.
Due to the solid play in net of Martin Gerber, rookie goaltender Cam Ward has been sent to Lowell for a conditioning stint. He will start for them Friday at Bridgeport (Islanders affiliate), Saturday versus Manchester (Kings), and Sunday afternoon versus Hartford. I'll keep an eye on Wardo and post it all here.
As an aside, for all you hardcore Canes/Whalers fans.... the Hartford Wolfpack are having a little "Ron Francis night" of their own on January 6. They'll honor Francis, Ulf Samuelsson and Kevin Dineen, all of whom had great careers playing in the shopping mall.
4 years ago