Jackets 2, Wild 1

Jackets get the season off to a good start. Not the most stylish win ever, but it’s always a good thing to get two points right off the bat.

The FSOH broadcast opened with the news that Rusty Klesla had signed a contract extension, and my immediate reaction was kinda “WTF?” So of course Klesla scored the winning goal to prove me an idiot of the highest caliber. Klesla has developed into a serviceable NHL defenseman, but his apparent career peak is so far below what was expected early on — he was named the best player outside the NHL by The Hockey News way back when. As always, I compare him to Chris Phillips in Ottawa. Came in as a high draft pick, lots of expectations, took forever to develop and struggled with injuries, is ultimately a decent player but nowhere near those expectations, and is consistently undervalued by fans as a result (Phillips has been trade bait in the eyes of Senators fans for a decade). But also like Phillips, who always was one of the few Senators to elevate his play in the post-season, Rusty did look pretty good against Detroit in the playoffs. He was one of the few Jackets who stepped up his play prior to Game 4. And that’s worth something. Worth a four year extension? Still not so sure, but it is what it is.

Jackets head out on a three-game western road swing next week. Incidentally, I head out on a western road swing myself, but not to the same cities they’re going to. Look for some college hockey posts from a random Midwestern city next weekend…

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