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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

News, Notes and Ruminations

News, Notes and Ruminations after Tuesday night's games...

Fans in Columbus wondering what playoff hockey looks and feels like got a taste of it Tuesday night against Boston. Steve Mason was sharp, and flashed out his glove when Phil Kessel tested the "high glove side" theory. Raffi Torres scored the game-winner, but the first star should've gone to Jiri Novotny, who ran into Tim Thomas behind the Bruins' net and broke Thomas' mask. After a delay, Thomas headed back to his crease wearing Manny Fernandez' mask, and...bada-bing! Torres scores. (Note to Manny Fernandez: Science and logic dictate that this is proof positive your mask is cursed. Change your mask, rediscover your mojo; it's that simple.)

The Blue Jackets are off to a good start in a brutal stretch of schedule, going 2-1 against Nashville, Detroit and Boston. In the next five games, Columbus plays Pittsburgh, Chicago (2x), Detroit again, and Florida. If the Jackets can take full advantage of Chicago's injuries and Detroit's goalies, they'll be in great shape heading into the homestretch...

Something...I don't know what, but something tells me neither Nashville nor Columbus would mind playing Detroit in the first round of the playoffs...But Detroit would much rather face Edmonton, Dallas or Minnesota...

Injuries aside, I like Florida's chances to make the playoffs this season. Carolina is the hotter team right now, but the 'Canes have to play New Jersey THREE times between now and the end of the regular season, and the Devils have demonstrated an uncanny ability to kill any team's momentum (except the Islanders). Florida, on the other hand, doesn't play New Jersey between now and season's end. Advantage: Panthers.

The guys at The Program make a good case for the Rangers to recall Centerman Artem Anisimov from Hartford. I must admit, I'd really like to see what a couple of shifts of a Zherdev-Anisimov-Antropov line would look like. With New York currently so deep at Center, though, I suspect the MSG faithful won't see the talented 20 year old until the Rangers bring up the kids/depth players for the playoffs.

I'll close with a note for Jay Bouwmeester: This summer, when you're weighing your options/packing your bags in preparation for departure from the hockey "backwater" of south F-L-A, think about how different your life will be in a real (read: Canadian) hockey town - you won't go anywhere without a string of reporters in your wake. Your every movement, every word, will be scrutinized for hidden meaning. The colder the winter temps, the hotter the spotlight, Mr. Bouwmeester. Are you prepared for that kind of heat?

Take me back to On Goal Analysis

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