As I was walking up to my seat tonight, it struck me that this was the first Jackets game I’d gone to since the 9-1 fiasco against Detroit. That seems like ages ago, but between the long road trip and my having had the flu last week, I can’t think of any other Jackets game I would have attended. Surely, I thought, after that realization, tonight has to be better than that.
It was just a pathetic performance by the Jackets tonight. They came out sloppy and never tightened it up. Bad turnovers, blind passes, lazy offsides…you name it, we saw it tonight. Mercifully, another small weeknight crowd, so the damage to Columbus’ collective psyche may have been limited.
And like rain on your wedding day, or ten-thousand spoons, when all you need is a knife, isn’t it ironic that the Jackets outshot the Leafs? Even that’s deceiving, though, as the Jackets spent much of the night playing on the perimeters. Many of those shots on goal were from fairly impossible angles. And even when they did get some quality chances, Joey MacDonald managed to look like last year’s Steve Mason. While Steve Mason looked like this year’s Steve Mason. Which isn’t entirely fair. While Mason wasn’t super sharp (and nor was Mathieu Garon, who replaced him after Toronto scored four times), the defense was lax. So many times when Toronto had the puck in the Jackets’ end they seemed to have all the time and space in the world to move the puck around.
Phil Kessel made himself look worth all the picks Toronto traded for him, scoring twice. And adding a fight with Kris Russell late in the third, which may have been the sole entertaining part of this game for me. Jason Blake also scored two goals for Toronto.
Columbus scored a couple late goals to make the score look more flattering, but don’t be fooled if you didn’t see the game. It was just ugly.
I’m going to the OSU-Michigan hockey game tomorrow. Hope the Buckeyes put on a more credible performance than the Jackets did tonight. Then Saturday Columbus fans finally get a crack at Adam Foote (unless he suddenly comes down with the swine flu). Hoping for better from that game. It’s gotta get better, right?