Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Columbus Bluejackets Hockey

Go Jackets Go Things couldn't have gotten much worse for the Columbus Blue Jackets as they broke for the Christmas holiday.
Stuck in a six-game losing skid, they had a record of 9-25-1, had scored a league-worst 72 goals and were on pace to become the weakest offensive team in NHL history.
"There were a lot of nights I went home and I said to myself, 'Where did I go wrong here?'" general manager Doug MacLean said Wednesday.
Whether it was a holiday miracle or a team finally hitting its stride, over the 50 games since Christmas the Blue Jackets have played the best hockey of their five years of existence (23-15-2).
Heading into back-to-back games with the Detroit Red Wings on Friday and Saturday, they have won a franchise-best six games in a row.
"At Christmas time we talked and said we just wanted to get respectability for the franchise," forward Trevor Letowski said. "We wanted to be a team that's thought of with respect, one that's tough to come in and play against. That's what we're starting to establish."
"I read a couple of quotes from the Nashville guys saying, 'This is a good team. They're playing hard. They're playing as a unit. They're playing within their system,'" forward Trevor Letowski said. "Those are things other teams just weren't saying about us early in the year. That means a lot for the franchise."
Foote, a mainstay on Colorado's two Stanley Cup champions, has been a rock on the blue line. Fedorov's numbers (8 goals, 28 assists) don't reflect his contributions. He's steadied the top line while helping to develop fellow Russian Zherdev, who has blossomed into one of the games best young players.
The streak is nothing more than a milepost, said Denis, who points out that great teams don't pat themselves on the back for winning a few in a row.
"It's a lot more fun coming to practice," Denis said. "But at the same time, this is what we're going to have to do on a more consistent basis next year to get to where we want to be."
Coach Gerard Gallant, whose job was in jeopardy early in the season, said the Blue Jackets have turned a corner.
"You look around the room and the guys are confident," he said. "They've always known they had a good team. It was just that early in the season with all the injuries things didn't go well and we got behind the eight ball.


Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate that the jackets couldn't pull out a win at the Joe to extend their streak to 7 wins, but there were definitely some positives to keep us going. Nash finally got his first career hat trick after 200+ games. We came back from 3 goals down at Detroit to send it to a shootout for the second time in about a month. The only difference is that Balastik didn't give us the advantage in the shootout like he usually does by burying the first shot! We were still able to steal a point and keep our point streak alive. It should also make for a great game tonight.

It's too bad that the beginning of the season went so poorly. I think the team is definitely showing that they have the talent to play with any team in the league. And that excites me for next season. The pieces look like they're finally falling into place, and I hope they can keep it going.

Dale said...

Yes the injuries really hurt them in the beginning of the season