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Blue Jackets' Surprising Start

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Blue Jackets' Surprising Start

Unread postby skatingtripods » Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:27 pm

Any other hockey fans really surprised with this Columbus team? They have tons of talent on that team, and some journeymen who really bring it every night. Guys like Nash, Brule, Zherdev, etc. are starting to develop a little bit and the journeymen like Malhotra, Chimera, and Fedorov are really helping these kids along.

I'm still not sold on their defense. Jan Hejda isn't really my idea of a solid 4th/5th defenseman. I watched Hainsey grow up in the Montreal organization when Hamilton would come in and he always had the tools, he was just extremely irresponsible with the puck. Klesla still isn't a first round pick, but he looks better. Foote's still solid, but aging quickly.

Leclaire's been awesome. He's finally looking like a former first rounder. I'm really surprised that it's taken him this long to develop.

I'm pleasantly surprised with the team so far. I think that they have a long way to go though in a tough Western Conference. I can't see them as a playoff team yet, but if the kids keep developing and Hitchcock, who has been a real turning point for this team, has them on the right track. He's +.500 as their coach.

Just as long as they keep playing 60 minutes a night like they did against SJ the other night, they should be fine.
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Re: Blue Jackets' Surprising Start

Unread postby buckeyehoppy » Mon Oct 29, 2007 11:01 pm

Skating Tripods wrote:Any other hockey fans really surprised with this Columbus team? They have tons of talent on that team, and some journeymen who really bring it every night. Guys like Nash, Brule, Zherdev, etc. are starting to develop a little bit and the journeymen like Malhotra, Chimera, and Fedorov are really helping these kids along.

I'm still not sold on their defense. Jan Hejda isn't really my idea of a solid 4th/5th defenseman. I watched Hainsey grow up in the Montreal organization when Hamilton would come in and he always had the tools, he was just extremely irresponsible with the puck. Klesla still isn't a first round pick, but he looks better. Foote's still solid, but aging quickly.

Leclaire's been awesome. He's finally looking like a former first rounder. I'm really surprised that it's taken him this long to develop.

I'm pleasantly surprised with the team so far. I think that they have a long way to go though in a tough Western Conference. I can't see them as a playoff team yet, but if the kids keep developing and Hitchcock, who has been a real turning point for this team, has them on the right track. He's +.500 as their coach.

Just as long as they keep playing 60 minutes a night like they did against SJ the other night, they should be fine.


One thing is for sure...if Hitch can lead the Jackets to the playoffs, he is the Coach of the Year, period.

Leclaire is developing into quite a netminder, but let's see how he reacts against the Dead Wings of the world. The truest test of improvement for the Jackets will be how they play their division.

St. Louis should be improved and Chicago seems like they are, but Detroit is still the gold standard in the division. Nashville took a huge step back, losing Vokoun and Kariya. Look for the Preds to finish last in this division because every other team looks to have skated past them.

I won't agree with you on Klesla. The team plays its best when he is on the ice. Not many of the Jackets have historically done well with the +/-, but Rusty has held his own in some years and is poised to have a break through season. He is also a defensive defender in a league where too many Ds are bending over backwards to rip one-timers and be glory boys.
Cleveland: Where the Tower is Terminal and the Lake is (e)Erie- Alex Bevan
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Re: Blue Jackets' Surprising Start

Unread postby skatingtripods » Tue Oct 30, 2007 4:19 pm

buckeyehoppy wrote:I won't agree with you on Klesla. The team plays its best when he is on the ice. Not many of the Jackets have historically done well with the +/-, but Rusty has held his own in some years and is poised to have a break through season. He is also a defensive defender in a league where too many Ds are bending over backwards to rip one-timers and be glory boys.


+/- is more of a team stat than anything else. Klesla's transition game is subpar. He plays pretty well in his own end, but never has been able to generate offense from his defense. That's the mark of a truly good defenseman.

I love defensive defensemen as much as anybody. Nothing excites me more than a guy who will stay at home and do his job. That said, though, guys like Klesla can be a dime a dozen. Carolina, for example, has a plethora of those guys. I want my defensemen to generate offense by making a good first pass on the breakout and being able to to create in the neutral zone. Klesla does neither of those things well.

Columbus is overachieving on defense right now. Hejda and Tollefson are dead weight on any other team. Hainsey's become a solid NHL player. Foote's a good veteran and this Russell kid has played well. They still need to get a Keith Carney style defenseman around the deadline if they're still in it. They've got some forward depth that can be dealt.

The perfect addition to the Jackets would be Jay McKee. He's nearing the end of his contract in St. Louis and is very affordable. He's a solid veteran who, if healthy, blocks a lot of shots and lots some good ice time. He's not the most gifted puckhandler, but he'll bang it up the boards and play in the neutral zone as most good vets will. He'd just have to stay healthy.
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