As we are in the air over the flat lands of the USA, and on our way to the Rocky Mountains in Denver, some questions arise about our squad and the answers will be shortly coming our way. We are going into hostile territory as the Avalanche is coming home after a 3-0 set back in Calgary last night. Former CBJ Curtis Glencross scored the GWG early in the 3rd period to solidify the win….but one cannot worry about the Avs, as we have enough on our plate at this time of writing, as we make the 2 hour 50 minute flight toward the fading sun.
The # 1 Question…the Centerman?
Will the Rick Nash as a “center experiment” prove to be a success in Denver? The concept for success is a true possibility, as he will be teamed with Chimera and Huselius on the top line. Rick wants the puck and now he can go get it starting in our own zone. The downside is that he has not played center since he was 9-years-old, but do not under estimate his ability to adapt. He will be asked to defend deep in his zone against the Hejduk’s, Sakic’s, and the Stastny’s.
It is a difficult stage to entertain the opposition in the Pepsi Center, as the Avs have outscored the CBJ 105-45 life time. Last year they won 27 home games, the second most in franchise history.
With Nikita Filatov going to Syracuse to work on part of his “learning curve” as a future possible center and professional player, it would not be surprising to eventually see him back in Columbus….as a possible hole filler if the chemistry experiment does not pan out. Good luck to both parties involved in the crusty challenge.
What is the long term diagnosis for starting goaltender Pascal Leclaire?... which in effect has a great deal to do with the overall play of Freddie Norrena. Pazzy, as everyone knows, is getting his ankle evaluated in Cleveland today and let us hope the news will be one of positive for the team and the organization. Freddie has been stellar in relief, showing the calming nature needed as a back up, but his role as a starter has not been up to par. We have had one game this year won by our goaltending….that is it after 9 games played… and that was against the Canucks in a 4-2 victory. This position is one of top priority if the CBJ are to improve on the 3-6 start, because without a competent starter, it makes the task at hand a real challenge….no matter how many goals the team scores.
Question #3 …the PP production?
It is a must to get the power play back up and rolling again. Starting the year off with six quick ones in four games, the production has gone 0-17 since then. It has dried up for now, but the prediction is one of positive. It will have a correlation to the production of Nash and Huselius which is waiting to explode at anytime.
Question #4…the Complete Game?
All involved are still anxiously awaiting the full 60 minute tilt. There have been so many flashes of 45-50 minutes of hockey, especially the last two contests against Minny and Anaheim, let us hope this road game allows the team to get closer to the anticipated end result .
So people, stay tuned….. this one game road trip can be referred to as “a work in progress”, but there will be more positives ahead as the CBJ play 5 of their next 6 at home in the confines of NWA.
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blog - "Davidge Dishes". The Columbus Blue Jackets radio color analyst will try to keep you updated on all the season action through his blog, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.