Since we last spoke, the Jackets have won two out of two with their GREATLY diminished group of players.
There’s been some great stories out there: Filatov’s hat trick, Voracek’s playmaker (three assists), plus Mason of course.
One thing that I’m VERY curious to see is how Hitchcock reacts to Filatov’s flurry of goals. With a curious statement, I’d like to say that you should be both horrified and elated. I say that you should be horrified because, despite the current roster, Filatov played only a bit over eight minutes Friday, and just under 10 minutes Saturday.
Hitch clearly still has trust issues with him (and Voracek)—even though the line with Peca was simply dominant. I honestly don’t expect to see much of a blip in Filatov’s ice against Colorado. Maybe I’m wrong, hopefully I’m wrong.
Of course, the jubilation should come from the fact that despite the challenge of only playing a handful of shifts, Niki was able to make himself seen and felt by the opposition. Get this stat—Filatov scored a goal for every three and a third minute of ice he saw.
Filatov needs to stay in Columbus. Period. If Syracuse was in the same situation as they were last year then I might have a difference of opinion, but given that they manage to scrape together six-game losing streaks I’d rather see him stay here—provided he sees ice time.
Brass is gone for the season. We have the spot, and the chemistry between Jake and Pecca seems to be strong—why not let him stay? Additionally, and some may view this with skepticism, at least here Nik can use the stick he wants!
For those new to this issue, in the AHL all players (with three exceptions per team) are required to use the RBK sticks. Filatov’s preferred brand is the Bauer Vapor XXXX.
Syracuse gives the exceptions to the “veterans” and tells the rest to tough it out. Call me crazy, but if a pure goal scorer says, “this is the stick I need,” you say, “Here you go”.
On a different and less pleasing note, it has been reported that Rick Nash was retro-added to the IR. I wouldn’t read too much into this one. Nash was questionable for Tuesday as it was—he’ll be able to play Friday if he feels up for it.
In my eyes, why rush a return? Columbus has played really great hockey and Colorado is just as banged up—no Sakic, Stastny, or Foote. No reason for Nash to return if he’s not at 100 percent.
And—I’m whispering now—I think it’s good for our guys to play a couple games without Nash - teaches that they still have to come to play. I remember some games last season where if Nash didn’t score, nobody did. Brutal times, indeed.
And finally, Mason is getting quite a bit of attention (outside of the Columbus crowd). There’s a great write-up about him at TheHockeyNews.com. It seems that Portzline may not be as crazy as the pundits suggested when he uttered the suggestion that Mason (gasp) could win Vezina.
THN goes so far to say that he could also challenge for the Hart as well. Winning the Calder, Vezina, and Hart trophy would be a first time accomplishment for any player—the last player to win the Calder and the Vezina was Tom Barrasso back in 1984.
Keep the faith.