Monday, December 27, 2010

A CBJ Fan's Prayer Answered (Sort Of)...

Ask the hockey gods, as I did earlier, and ye shall receive.

I could have lived with fewer bounces for Minnesota… but I did specify I didn’t necessarily need a blowout.

Two points is two points. Who am I to be picky?

For the next couple days at least, Jackets fans can be happy with a win and maybe the team can cash in on some momentum going into games with the unspectacular-but-unpredictable Toronto Maple Leafs, and a possible showdown with former Jackets netminder Pascal Leclaire to close out 2010.

There would be no better way to close out 2010 than with three straight wins. Yeah, I know… duh.

However, as this past month has proven, you can’t take a damn thing for granted. I seem to recall the last two times I assumed the Jackets would roll over a lousy Leafs team, the good guys lost. So I’m not saying a damn thing.

Since their insane 14-6-0 start, the Jackets are 4-9-3. They currently stand in 12th place, with 39 points in 36 games. Take their current rate of performance and stretch it over 82 games, they would finish at 89 points. That would be good for about 6th or 7th in the Eastern conference. In the West, it’s good for a foursome teeing off at 8:15 a.m. on April 13th, running some errands, picking up some beers and watching first round games at home.

But hit midpoint on January 7 after the Ducks game with seven or eight more points. Jackets fans might be able to feel kinda good again.

So… on to feeling good!

After giving up an early goal, recently-ousted starter Steve Mason started showing the flashes of brilliance he has shown occasionally this year (and showed a lot in his rookie season), and allowed the Jackets a chance to get back in the game with a Derick Brassard goal in the second. A goal with :02 left in the second period threatened to shift it back to Minnesota.

But Steve Mason bounced back, keeping the Jackets in it long enough for Fedor Tyutin and Andrew Murray to get goals :41 seconds apart toward the midpoint of the third. He even had a little more left after Cal Clutterbuck knotted the score with 8:22 remaining. After that, he stopped everything all the way through overtime, save one miscue in the shootout, which didn’t matter after Rick Nash, Kyle Wilson and Kristian Huselius all cashed in against Jose Theodore. Nasher also added two assists to become the Jackets’ all-time assists leader.

All that, and apparently more than 14,400 people showed up for a Monday night game. The numbers tend to be a little over, but even 80% of that is damn good for a Monday.

We’ll take it, baby. An exciting hockey game, and a lot of witnesses.

Oh... and two points. We really needed that.

Wrandom Wristers
  • Monday's game marked the first victory in the new third sweater. Let the "Third Jersey Jinx" talk end now. Please? (I just got mine for Christmas... woohoo!)
  • Someone tweeted about the demise of Boomer. Not sure, because I've kinda been out of the loop the last few days, so I'm not sure. I'll be honest... I wouldn't miss him. Sure was an interesting conversation topic at Thanksgiving dinner after the jersey unveiling, but that's another post.
  • I still can't say or write "Cal Clutterbuck" without thinking he sounds like a Harry Potter character.

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A CBJ Fan's Prayer (Sort Of)...

Are you there, hockey gods? It's me, Martin.

The Blue Jackets are on Versus tonight, which would somewhat resemble national television if it was a real sports network.

However, this is one of those rare occasions the Jackets get to be on The Sidney Channel, so....

Anyway, the team has become derailed of late, and our former number-one goaltender is getting his first start since getting chased in three of his previous four starts. The offense is stalled, and things are pretty much is disarray.

Actually, "hot mess" is probably a better way of putting it. Lindsey Lohan has it together more.

Anyway, I'm not asking for a blowout, but a few bounces going Columbus' way, and a hell of a game that people will talk about would be really nice. Just something to get the guys' confidence back and get them thinking they can play hockey again (and to stop all the "third jersey jinx" talk, while we're at it).

Basically, anything that makes Versus' ComCastic, craptastic coverage a little more tolerable.

Thanks for your time.

Go Jackets.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Some Truths About the Blue Jackets (this week)

The Columbus Blue Jackets were not in trouble. Yet.

Truth #1: Obviously, dropping two straight to Detroit and scraping out of a home game with just one point against Nashville after losing a lead in the third-period is not an ideal situation.

Truth #2: It has been a little over a year since the Mother (and Grandmother, and Crazy Aunt Locked in the Basement) Of All Team Collapses the CBJ suffered in the November and December of last season.

Truth #3: This month’s schedule is not easy. There is a lot of Western Conference action ahead, including a Western Canada Road Trip, and the Blue Jackets need to play a hell of a lot better to keep pace.

All these truths were apparent, but none was a reason for anyone in Columbus to panic.

This, however, was before the Jackets got trounced 5-0 by the Buffalo Sabres last night. Surely, the Sabres are better than their record would indicate. So is Ryan Miller. Obviously, the Sabres have not played well in front of him this year as a whole. The problem is, neither did the Blue Jackets last night, managing a paltry 19 shots. You can’t put up such a small number of shots against a guy like Ryan Miller and get goals. He may be just a win above .500 this year, but we all know he wasn’t the starting goaltender for Team USA last year for no reason. The guy was just a few more stops away from a Gold Medal, before Sidney Crosby spoiled the party in OT, bathed in the adoration of his countrymen, then raised his hands for more, as if his countrymen and the Sidney Channel (NBC) weren’t giving him enough love.

Speaking of Disney Crosby, His Royal Smugness and the Pittsburgh Penguins on the schedule for tonight in Nationwide Arena.

How will the Jackets react against a team that demands an “A Game” from all who oppose them?

I don’t know, but after losing four straight, the Blue Jackets had better come out of this game with something positive, in order for fans to avoid a very sad and sick feeling of déjà vu.

No, this isn’t last year. No, there is no need for anyone to panic.

However, the Blue Jackets have to prove it.

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