Coumbus All-Star Candidates

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Ohio Jones, Mar 6, 2006.

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  1. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    The Columbus Blue Jackets enter the All-Star "break" coming off a record-setting 18-game win streak. That incredible run of games has taken what looked to be a vastly-underperforming .500 hockey club to the top of the western conference standings, and boosted the chances of several All-Star hopefuls in the process.

    C/LW Vyacheslav Kozlov
    Tied for 9th in the league (tied for 5th in the Western Conference) in scoring with 53 points, despite playing on the team's second line, Kozlov has been dynamite since being acquired from Toronto two games into the season. On a team that prides itself on generating a balanced offence, he has been a consistent contributor and offensive leader, no matter who he has been paired with. He has played on and off at LW this season, and at that position his 53 points is second in the HFNHL behind only Ilya Kovalchuk.

    C Mike Modano
    Just two points behind Kozlov with 51 (6th in the West), Mike Modano has centered the top line since coming to the Jackets from Ottawa, where he had been centering players like Markus Naslund, Jaromir Jagr and Jarome Iginla. In Columbus, with regular linemates Mark Bell and Jeremy Roenick, he has faced the toughest checking the league has to offer, and has still produced at over a point-per-game pace, and helped lead his line to the best +/- on the team.

    The fact that the Jackets boast two such high-scoring forwards who never play on the same line attests as much to their individual dominance as to the team's balanced attack.

    D Adrian Aucoin
    Aucoin has been the blueline anchor for the Jackets this season. For team balance, Aucoin had his minutes curtailed over last season from over 30 minutesd down to 22, and yet has still managed to be tied for 5th in the HFNHL in both goals scored and total points for a defenceman (4th and 3rd in the West, respectively). He is also the quarterback for what continues to be the league's best powerplay (currently 22.5%).

    G Martin Brodeur
    Based on the first 20 games of the season, nobody would have been put Brodeur's name forward for consideration, least of all him, as he showed some difficulties adjusting to the new rules and equipment. However, of late he has put those troubles behind him and surged forward to his rightful place among the HFNHL's goaltending elite, with the league's 5th best GAA, 4th-best save% (both 3rd in the West) and boasts the West's best record.

    Coach Mike Babcock
    Babcock may not be a natural for this consideration, given that he is leading a talented and deep team, but some consideration must be given to the coach for being able to keep his players focused and motivated during an 18-game winning streak.

    GM Doug Emerson
    In addition to having put the core elements of the conference's best team in place over the last three years, Emerson deserves some consideration for pulling the trigger on four deals that have helped them elevate their game to this level. Prior to the start of the year, Emerson parlayed a series of three seperate deals into Modano, who has been huge for the Jackets and lived up to every penny of his salary. Next he brought in defensive stalwart Bob Boughner from Detroit. Then came Kozlov, who has duelled Modano all season for top dog status and been instrumental to the Jackets' second line being a consistent offensive threat. Finally he brought in Mattias Norstrom, who has been huge defensively, produced a surprising number of points, and given the Jackets as good a top-6 as can be found in the league. If pundits don't want to give the coach credit for leading such a talented squad to the top of the heap, then they should give the GM credit for bringing that talent together.
     
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