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Winged Wheels Hit Road to NWA

by Bill Davidge / Columbus Blue Jackets

When things are not going too well, why not try something that worked before.  The CBJ are aware the last time the two teams got together, post All Star break the Detroit lineup was one of a different animal.  There was no Pavel Datsyuk or Nicklas Lidstrom on the ice at NWA due to the fact that they did not venture to Montreal for the All Star festivities.  Both were suspended by the NHL and unable to participate.  It also left a vacancy in the lineup that could not be filled by a non roistered player because they were $40,000.00 from the cap limit….the hole remained vacant as the CBJ (on behalf of a 3rd career hat trick Captain Rick Nash) beat the Wings 3-2 in OT.


What can the CBJ expect from the Wings?  The Wings are back and starting to roll.  Mike Babcock has re-joined the deadly duo of Datsyuk and Zetterberg once again. They are 5-0 in the last five going into the home tilt with Minnesota Thursday night. They had a 5 game winless streak but that is history.  They are now averaging 5 goals a game in the past 5…they have 4... 20+ goals scorers and 10…30+ point scorers that are the most in the NHL.  They are proud that they have Zetterberg tied up for the next 12 years but will now have the challenge with signing other FA’s like Hossa and Franzen…..PS…the Mule “Franzen” is out of the lineup for the next few weeks.


Goaltending is an issue with the Wings, but certainly not with GM Ken Holland or Mike Babcock.  Little is said about the inconsistencies of their #1 Chris Osgood.  He is sporting an 88% save percentage, far from the .906 lifetime number.  The 15 year veteran has been a gamer for the Wings and that is the take on his play at this time.  They feel he will pick up his game as the season moves. …..good luck!!


The CBJ have some decisions to be made with Steve Mason ready to climb back into the nets again.  It has always been said that one cannot lose the position because of injury…but my gosh…how do you argue what young Dan LaCosta has accomplished in his absence?  Two games…1st star of the game each night and a couple of big wins….it may just be good enough to have him re-allocated back to Syracuse.  Wade Dubliewicz is back to feeling better as well.  Decisions will have to be made.  Those decisions may be a little easier to make with Rusty Klesla going on the IR with a separated shoulder.  This is a nice problem to have at this time of the year as the CBJ have gone 5 deep in the goaltending position. It has once again shown the depth of this organization with another draft pick stepping up and playing well when needed.


As always the game will be a dandy.  The CBJ are trailing the season series 2-1 and look to continue the home dominance of late...  The home crowd will be a key factor in this game as well ….fill it up for the 124th time in franchise history!!!  With the home record of 17-9-1 and 12-4 in the last 16 games, it is great to have the local yokels screaming and getting behind their team in blue!!


Stay tuned!!!


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