I do not like to be the person to downplay a very positive thing, but I have found that I single out players or coaches even in victory. There are a couple things that I want to get out there and I would really like your (the fans) opinions on them as well.
Some Negatives After a BIG Positive
1. Ken Hitchcock and his “play em’ if they are hot” attitude. Yes, playing a line a shift after they have scored can sometimes work, but doing it every time seems like overkill. Not only does that wear out the line a bit more in the middle of the game, it makes three other lines go cold. Until the Jackets have a number one center, I personally do not think there is a single line that stands out from the rest, unless you want to assume that any line Rick Nash plays on is the number one and should get the most playing time. I think at this point of the season, and from what we have seen when the top guys are out, there are three capable lines that need equal time on the ice.
This attitude also extends to goaltenders. He absolutely wore out Mason over the last couple months, and while mono was the real culprit, playing any goaltender in that many games can only lead to trouble. I think Wade has not really found his bearings yet, but he has been a savior in New York, and I think he can be a savior in Columbus if given the right opportunity.
2. Modin.. I know a lot of people like him for his ‘veteran presence’ and ‘leadership’ qualities, but I want to straighten something out right now. He is lazy on the ice, makes big mistakes with the puck on the powerplay, and has a very hard time getting the puck to the net when the team needs the puck on/in the net. Frankly, the team is better off with a young player like Jakub on the powerplay if not for his effort alone. Modin is sluggish with the puck, and a shadow of his former self. If ever a player that the team could do without, it is Modin, and he is in my opinion, the last player from the old Jackets era (the team we do not like to take about) that needs to be removed.
3. Backman. Yes, he scored the winner last night. No, he did not deserve it. The puck was floating in the crease, and he took advantage of a great shot by Umberger, and capitalized on a bad defensive effort and basically swatted in the winner. This does not alleviate his lazy defensive play, and horrible inability to get the puck on net during offensive possession. The Jackets offense needs to know that when they play the puck back to the point, the shot will be accurate, and through traffic, and Backman will never be able to provide that for him.
So I have ranted, and I have come to a conclusion that points 2 and 3 and what will really set this team apart. As much as it may hurt the Jackets in terms of cap space and value of the dollar, Backman and Modin need to have limited roles for the rest of the season, and guys like Methot and Filatov need to get their opportunities with the big club.
Carry the Flag!