Martin Brodeur... Roberto Luongo... Steve Mason... When one begins to think about the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, the three goaltenders that have a chance to represent Canada are as follows... but... tonight, it was the 21-year-old kid from Oakville, Ontario that stopped 40 of 43 shots, to secure a 5-3 win over the defending Northwest Division Champs, the Vancouver Canucks. Taking Brodeur out of the equation for the night, Mason put on a clinic of sorts against one of his idols, Roberto Luongo.
Luongo was yanked after allowing four goals on 12 shots in the home opener in Vancouver. He struggled on routine shots to allow the CBJ's to go up 4-1, before he tended to face-off calculation duty at the end of the bench in the second period. A nightmare for Vancouver, who have lost three in a row to start the season for the first time since 2001 to start the season, but a god send for the CBJ who did what they had to in an effort to gain two valuable road points.
To summarize, let us look at the three keys that were introduced on FS Ohio in the game tonight.
- Plan to make them nervous by spending the majority of time in the offensive zone... it was a great plan, but to be honest, the CBJ scored 4/5 goals on the rush. The Mason factor was the key. Let us all not kid ourselves, he was magnificent.
- Don't be the solution for the Vancouver Canucks and their current crisis of losing two in a row on the road. Stymie the home crowd momentum if possible was something that was in the minds of the coaching staff. The late goal with less than a minute to go in the first period was a key to the CBJ gaining the much need momentum to jump in front and secure the victory.
- On the road, the CBJ MUST expect MORE and a lot MORE from one's self. They also should have the same expectation from each other as they build a so-called TEAM... As an ex-coach, scout and player, it is a must that this is what makes or breaks a playoff team that can moce beyond the first round... The efforts of Raffi Torres, Rusty Klesla, Fedor Tyutin and Jan Hejda (only to name a few) stood tall and should not go unnoticed in the team category tonight.
As part of this organization for the past 10 years, it is nice to see a positive result on the road. The message has been structured in philosophy. The overall standards have been set very high. Rick Nash commented that a win on the road in the past was like a playoff game... but... today the win on the road is an expectation.
The heir to the heir was a factor tonight, and for his team to succeed in the next 80 games it is going to take more from him, but actually more from the cast of others. On the flip side, Steve Mason gives the team the confidence to win each and every night!! It is hopeful he will continue to do so!!!
Stay tuned... the fun has just begun!!!
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings." The Columbus Blue Jackets television analysts will try to keep you updated on all the season action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.