1. A bit of a surreal game. The Kings, who have been having a decent run to start the season, looked lifeless (I was unaware that they were ending a long road trip). The Jackets, who have also been having a decent run to start the season, looked...OK, but not like the Jackets that we quickly have come to adore.
1a. Regardless, the Columbus Blue Jackets won, 4-1. That alone speaks volumes about how far the team has come under Hitchcock and Howson.
2. Mason stops 27 of 28 with a slightly more porous defense. I actually liked that Mase got a workout. He appears to still have that magical "it" that great goalies have.
3. Rick Nash is still working on his television camera presence. Mrs. DBJ watched the game (and postgame) with me, and she saw John Michael's interview of the Captain and commented, "Someone's been training him in public speaking, don't you think?"
3a. Further proof of the increasing GQ sophistication of Nash is his shaven face and haircut. Teddy bear cute, I tell you...
4. Oh, Rick still plays a wicked game of hockey - all aspects. I particularly enjoyed his serving as decoy for Jason Chimera's goal. Imagine that 900 lb. gorilla coming toward you...WITHOUT the puck! What would you do as a goalie?
5. Class move by the Blue Jackets to put Ryan Salmons' jersey behind the bench on Hockey Fights Cancer night.
6. Jake Voracek got a goal - FINALLY. I have so enjoyed him this season, barrelling down the wing with the puck time after time, ready to dish the puck off and....the other liners don't follow closely enough. So he cycles, takes an awkward shot, etc. The goal, an empty netter at that, was a little gift from the hockey karma gods for his tireless effort.
7. Marc Methot and Matthieu Roy have really stepped up in the absence of Jan Hejda and Mike Commodore. Almost makes it look like Hitch and Howson knew what they were doing!
8. 15,000+ at the game. Not great. Apparently the upper bowl was full-ish. The lower bowl, the expensive seats, weren't so much. Does scheduling a home game on the same day as an Ohio State football game (an away game, granted) impact it? What of the economy? Other factors? I just don't sense the apathy in the community...it's probably the economy, which is just sad as the Jackets finally are worthy of the incredible support that Columbus has shown it over the lean (team performance-wise) years.
9. Sammy Pahlson has been a great pickup. That third line is just awesome.
10. Lastly, Raffi Torres scored. After that happened, I honestly figured that the Jackets were going to win. I don't believe that they've ever lost a game where he scored. Sure, it's probably coincidence...but Raffi's streak is getting long, isn't it?
Next game: The second West Coast road trip kicks off Tuesday night in Calgary. I just love watching games in Calgary. The whole arena experience up there, from the flames in the scoreboard to the frothing-at-the-mouth fan base, is just awesome. Here's hoping the Jackets channel the excitement and do us proud!