Nash played 20:55 of hard nosed hockey. He lead the team with the only goal at the :43 second mark of the third… with four shots on goal, (284 on the season - 7th in the NHL) and had four other shots blocked or that missed there intended target. The CBJ produced only 12 shots on goal on the evening and set a franchise record with the fewest ever. That was the 22nd time this year that Detroit has held the opposition to 20 shots or less, the most by any team in the league… that was just one reason for the lack of offense tonight.
Nash had five hits to lead the team. It was obvious the captain was involved early and often and tried to inspire others to follow. The loss of Boll (hip pointer) and Fritsche (hand surgery), two guys that normally come out with energy and passion, certainly were missed, but it was the cast of others on the frigid pond that did not follow the lead of the newly anointed captain. That fact alone drew the ire of Hitch as he proceeded to inform the media in an opening statement versus his usual opening question and answer.
Execution at this time of the year is a must. The inconsistency in a few of the season veterans in a critical contest tonight stood tall in the special teams. The PP (49 goals this year) had five cracks but managed only one shot on goal. The PK allowed Detroit their 13th 5-on-3 goal of the season, and then on the 2nd half another PP goal (74 PP goals), as the Wings went 2-for-5.
The true deficiencies of the CBJ were brought to fruition by the Wings. The inability to sustain a constant checking game as well as the inability to create much needed offense on the PP came to the fore front. It is that time of the season to ask why? It is then the time of the off-season to find a cure all.
How about Detroit? Talent in the likes of Zetterberg (7th rounder/99) with his career high 40th …more talent in the presence of Datsyuk (171st pick /98) who had a goal and a couple of assists and a career high 90 points… and my vote for the Hart Trophy, Lidstrom (3rd round/89), who has a tidy +378 since '91-'92. The key to limit their time and space could only be accomplished if a team could stay out of the box… or even be careful on your PP as Datsyuk introduced a “how do you do!” on Tarnstrom and then Norrena on a sick Datsyukian deke.
"Win out" is on the plate for the team, if postseason is in the cards.
Another side note… it was nice to visit with an old friend, Boston Bruin scout, and hockey man Bob Tindall of Toronto. Bob assisted me in the referring of several young prospects out of the junior ranks to the college scene. Back in the 70's and 80's, he was instrumental in identifying several student athletes that were given scholarships and represented Miami University. He had a personal relationship in the developing of our current GM Scott Howson through the North York Rangers Junior Organization towards the professional ranks.
A final note... it was a breathe of fresh air to have Pascal Leclaire on the post game show… from his idiosyncrasies and superstitions to his sense of humor, he cut the atmosphere of a difficult loss to really allow the fans to see the other side of a professional athlete.
By the way, has Buco de Pepo come on board yet as a sponsor?
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings". The Columbus Blue Jackets broadcasters will try to keep you update on all the behind the scenes action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets hit the road. The next road game is 3/25 @Nashville.