If we made a list of good things about this season, would it be enough to ease the pain of another year deep in the second division? No. How many of the current roster players are going to be on this roster when the team makes the second season again? Depends on how many Tom Gilberts get traded. Will they beat Columbus to the promised land of the playoffs?
I’ve decided this week will be devoted to Craig Patrick (shown in the Oakland Seals uniform, so that’s the San Jose connection) and the Columbus Blue Jackets. CBJ is under new management even if Scott Howson still has the title–and Howson may not be in that job much longer. Craig Patrick’s hiring in early December meant that ownership (John P McConnell) was going with a new plan. Patrick represents the third stanza in management history for the Jackets, the first two playing like a funeral dirge. The Oilers play the Jackets later in the week, and I want to have a long look at the two teams and where they are heading.
Patrick is familiar with the Oilers current strategy–hell, he and others perfected it in Pittsburgh in the early part of the decade during which the club drafted elite level talents that would eventually bless Pittsburgh with a third Stanley. He also helped with the other two Pittsburgh Stanley’s, specifically a deal that brought Ron Francis from the Whalers, another one that gave the Steel City Joey Mullen for a load of hay and of course he was lucky at the draft when Jagr’s name was called.
Patrick’s record isn’t perfect, but it’s a huge upgrade from Howson. As hockey empire builders go, this is kind of David v Goliath when we compare Patrick to Tambellini. We know Columbus will be offloading their best player (Rick Nash) and there are rumors the club will also deal their #1 overall pick. One of the reasons is probably the presence of Nail Yakupov at the top of the player charts–the Jackets have had enough of the hammer and sickle for a lifetime.
Comparing the two teams as they sit idling in the driveway:
- GP: Columbus 69; Oilers 68
- GF: Columbus 161; Oilers 180 (average 187)
- PPGF: Columbus 41; Oilers 50 (average 40)
- PPGA: Columbus 53; Oilers 44 (average 40)
- GA: Columbus 223; Oilers 206 (average 187)
- SP: Columbus .901; Oilers .909
- GAA per game: Columbus 3.16; Oilers 2.96
- GF per game: Columbus 2.29; Oilers 2.59
Oilers PP is number one in terms of percentage in the league, Blue Jackets are at 25th; PK has the Oilers 17th and the Jackets 30th. Edmonton has 116 5×5 goals for and Columbus has 104. I would think both teams know well their weaknesses, now all that’s left is to solve them.
Patrick versus Tambellini. What say you?