The CBJ had a pleasant 4-3 victory on Friday night in the Buckeye capital against the notorious feisty Preds, followed by a 3-1 set back in the Music City. It told a much different story line to the listeners and a few of us that had a chance to watch the games.
Purposely both teams field a stronger contingent of pros in the home version of the NHL preseason game to entertain their fans… much like what Robin Williams says in his depiction of how golf was created… as the flag is set forth to give a little hope to the golfer… the home lineup is loaded and cocked and ready to go with seasoned veterans with years of experience and the road team is dotted with only a few regulars and a couple of pugilists that are auditioning for a job at the NHL level.
The Friday night contest was a spirited affair with the emotions high and the excitement of the fans dominating the first period of play. Right from the drop of the puck, Jon Mirasty and Josh Gratton went toe to toe and showed respect for one another after the punch fest was complete. The game began to take shape of a true hockey game after the fact, as the CBJ fired 25 shots on Dan Ellis. Walking away with a 4-3 victory, (the score was closer to the eventual outcome than the style of play exhibited the skill of newly transformed play by the CBJ… do the Harlem Globetrotters ring a bell?) as the first two lines of Nash-Brassard-Huselius and Modin-Umberger-Voracek sanded away some rough edges off their artillery and showed the future is now for this hockey team. So impressive was the initial showing of the CBJ that Brent Peterson, Associate Coach of the Preds was very complimentary in what he observed. He felt we have the ability to fight for the final playoff spot in the West.
The Saturday Night live version of the series was comedic at times. A first period performance left the CBJ searching for a “what just happened” stare, as they were outshot 15-2 and trailed 1-0. The second period was one for the ages. The CBJ outshot the Preds 19-0… yes… 19-0 but still trailed the game 1-0 as the 24 square feet was filled by 6-foot-5 Pekka Rinne, the 25-year-old back up for the Preds.
The third period settled down a little bit and Nashville put the game out of reach as they capitalized on a 2-for-8 performance on the PP. The lowly offense of the CBJ went 0-for-7. Freddie Norrena played another stellar game coming up big again in the first period to keep the game close. He has been spectacular in his three appearances so far.
Grant Clitsome was again one of the bright spots on the ice tonight, as he demonstrated the ease of his transition game from the defensive end to the offensive zone. He does it with heady and calming moves and passes, highlighted by his agility on all four edges. It will be interesting to follow this 23-year-old’s development at the pro level.
Jon Mirasty played a monster 1:02 and had a toe to toe, stand up, drag out, slugfest with Triston Grant – wow – both boys landing inside shots to the pumpkin and never once did a knee buckle. The entertainment value was strengthened after that minute and a half jersey jostle.
But the games are over and as it appears, the preseason of the preseason is over. One will see the chemistry class begin starting Monday when the over hyped Hawks come into town. The Buffalo Sabres slice into the ice at NWA on Thursday, the Wild on Friday, and then the CBJ venture across the border to the ACC and invade the Toronto Maple Leafs for a little revenge from the War of 1812.
*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 preseason action through his blog, especially when the Blue Jackets kick off the season October 10 @ Dallas.