Final score: Columbus Blue Jackets 4, Vancouver Canucks 2
You have to lose a lot of games to lead the NHL in moral victories, and the Vancouver Canucks have claimed plenty of those. Not directly, in language, but if “if’s and but’s were candies and nuts, it’d be Christmas every day.” Better stat’s, more shots-on-goal (41-to-21). Who cares? Nothing matters if it ends in an “L”.
You know that, we know that, the team knows it and says it frequently.
Pick a Direction
So the 2018-’19 St. Louis Blues come along once a century, essentially worst to first. We’ve talked about it, it’s not happening here. So, what is happening here? No moves have been made and the patient is bleeding out. With playoff chances basically gone has the franchise turned the page to just riding it out? Save money, pay salaries that are due, plan for the future? I’m asking a lot of questions here because I’m not sure General Manager Jim Benning is allowed to make the moves one might normally expect him to make in this situation.
Trade talk is real, but what’s the point of a deal at the point of no return. Why not just wait until the trade deadline if the season is awash?
This is an emergency management situation in hockey terms.
The Other Guy From Kladno
People forget that Jakub Voracek started out a Blue Jacket. Columbus drafted him 7th overall in 2007 from the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. After three full seasons, the man who drafted Voracek, then General Manager Scott Howson, traded him to Philadelphia with a 1st-round (Sean Couturier) and a 3rd round (Nick Cousins) pick for Jeff Carter. Yeah, pretty good deal for Philly, which is an understatement. Carter lasted 39 games in Ohio before flying the coop for Stanley Cups in LA.
One decade, one month, and one day after moving to Pennsylvania, Voracek moved back, in exchange for Cam Atkinson. Voracek seems older than his 32-years-of-age, but he’s still valuable. He’s been one of the more under-rated players in the NHL over the last decade and so far this season he’s a point-a-game guy with the change of new/old scenery.
It’s a well-worn path between the two cities, by the way. Former Calder Trophy winning goaltender (2009) Steve Mason getting shipped east in 2013 from Columbus to Philly is one of a few that pops to mind.
(Jaromir Jagr is famously from Klado, Czech Republic; he owns and still plays for the pro’ team there)
Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins is uber-focused this season, and equally as motivated. He’s winning and trying to accomplish great things in the memory of his fallen countrymen and fellow goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks, who was killed at a 4th of July party in Michigan. The event was at the home of Manny Legace, the Blue Jackets goaltending coach.
“He saved not just many lives,” Merzlikins said during a memorial for Kivlenieks this summer. “He saved my son, he saved my wife, and he saved me.”
Kivlenieks died making the save of his life. Jumping up from a hot tub to block an errant firework that would have hit Merzlikins pregnant wife. It and a second firework that hit him in the chest contributed to his death.
They Said it:
Conor Garland – “We have to find a way to get a third one (goal) in there,” Garland said. “I thought we played well. I mean … our record is not very good, so, we need to start winning games, so eventually it doesn’t matter how well you play you have to find a way to win. We didn’t tonight, so yeah, it sucks.”
Tyler Motte – “I thought we played some good hockey at times, they capitalized on opportunities more than we did, but bottom line, we’ve gotta win games,” Motte said. “That’s just the bottom line.”
Head Coach Travis Green – “I felt bad for our group tonight, that was one of our better games of the year,” Green said. “We were on our game, our details were sharp, I give our group a lot of credit, they played a strong game, there gonna have to bounce back. It’s tough to lose when you play well.”
Simmer’s Vancouver Canucks 3-Stars:
3) – Bo Horvat – Five shots on goal, three blocked shots. Played almost 21-minutes.
2) – Quinn Hughes – Coach Green called it one of his best games of the year. Had four shots on goal and an assist in 24:50.
1) – Vasily Podkolzin – Top shelf snipe, his 4th goal of the year, among his three shots. Played 15:13 and his all-around game has been steadily improving. His upside development will be one of the highlights of this season.