Saturday, November 14, 2009

10 Thoughts (from a Pens fan) about Game 18: Anaheim

[Help!  I'm trapped in Athens!  Seriously, I am in a "1 weekend a month" degree program at Ohio University and had to miss the Anaheim game.  Rather than wait to watch the Columbus Blue Jackets win 3-2 in a shootout on the DVR and then post 10 Thoughts, I thought it would be fun to have a friend offer their thoughts.  In this case, the baton is passed to my Friendly Pens Fan, who was able to present a slightly less biased view than I might have.  Thanks to the Friendly Pens Fan for pitching in on a Friday night.  Enjoy, everyone!]

In Mr. Dark Blue Jacket’s absence, due to the pursuit of higher learning, I am filling in on this blog entry - 10 Thoughts about Game 18: Anaheim. I would like to thank Mr. DBJ for trusting me with his blog. I would also like to give full disclosure here - I’m a Penguins fan. But, as a resident of the city of Columbus, I fully support the Blue Jackets (as long as they aren’t playing the Pens) and hope they have a long, happy life here in Columbus. I also hope someday they bring the Stanley Cup here because kissing the Cup is on my bucket list and I have a better chance of doing that if it spends some time in this city. Anyhoo, on to my 10 Thoughts on Game 18.

1. God Bless HD - One of my complaints about watching the Blue Jackets is that not a lot of their games are broadcast in HD. Hockey is a sport meant to be watched in HD. I believe hockey may be why HD was invented. There is no excuse for Fox Sports Ohio not broadcasting all 82 Jackets games in HD. Luckily, tonight’s game is full HD! Woot!

1a. The Rockettes? Really? - One of my 10 things was going to be what a good, quality pregame show Fox Sports Ohio was putting out. Then, they went and pulled out the Rockettes. -2 to Fox Sports Ohio!

2. Let it go - The Red Wings completely dressed the Jackets down on Wednesday. I hate seeing the Wings do that. (Ok, I pretty much hate the Wings period, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog.) The Jackets had to pick themselves up tonight, forget the meltdown, and get back to playing their game. I believe they did that. They came out skating hard, passing cleanly and finishing checks. You could see Hitch’s calmness exuding from each player. Even though the Ducks struck first, the Jackets still started this game exactly the way they needed to erase the previous game.

3. El Capitan - Something Jackets fans may not know about Penguins fans is that we love Rick Nash. The guy is completely amazing. Ever since I found out that Team Canada’s top line will likely contain both Nash and Crosby, I have been counting down the days to Vancouver. I don’t care who Babcock puts on a line with them, it will be pure magic. And I can’t wait.

3a. El Capitan, Part II - Nasher scored #13 this Friday the 13th in dramatic fashion on a breakaway that was just beautiful. He made Niedermeyer look like he was skating standing still. Just sensational. I actually jumped out of my chair and cheered. Of course that may be because my Pens have scored like one goal in the last week. Sadly, I’m not exaggerating.

3b. El Capitan, Part III - Nash scores the winning shootout goal. What a game he had tonight! Although I believe he will NEVER be able to repeat that shootout move again. It’s a one and done. Jeff Rimer calls the move “blowing a tire.” Bill Davidge urges young children across the state of Ohio not to attempt to try Nasher’s move because they might get hurt. [See the game recap video at the top, at roughly 3:45.]

4. For those about to Rock - I am EXTREMELY jealous of Jackets fans for the post-goal celebration they get to enjoy. The canon fired at Nationwide when the Jackets score, combined with the AC/DC refrain, is fierce. I have to admit that when I went to the Jackets-Pens game a couple of weeks ago, I was rocking to it, even though it meant my Pens were losing. It’s that cool.

5. R.J. is OK - He’s been on fire with 9 points in the last 12 games. And he’s from the town where my favorite team resides. AND he’s a former Buckeye. +3 to Umberger - just because!

6. What are those GMs up to?? - Scott Howson joined Jeff Rimer during the 1st Intermission. He talked about topics from this weeks’ GM meeting in Toronto: trapezoids and head shots. Apparently the GMs decided there is no change needed in the trapezoid rule. They had studies completed which found there would be no reduction in injuries by changing this rule. No big surprise there. I think the topic which more hockey fans are interested in right now though is head shots. Howson pretty much just said they discussed it. He gave no real details, but did say that the “big” GM meeting is in March and indicated they might have some decisions about head shots then. Personally, I think the rules as they stand are adequate. My gripe is the inconsistency with which the NHL powers-that-be dole out punishment. All Jackets fans should be upset that Rob Scuderi was not suspended at least one game for his hit on Chimera. And all Panthers fans should be upset that Mike Richards was not suspended for multiple games for his hit on David Booth. However, to give equal time to the opposing view, I think you should take the time to read this piece from a Toronto fan who believes the NHL policy is followed faithfully. Click here for more.

7. Huselius is BA-ACK! - Goal #6, a power play goal, tied the game in the 2nd period. He also had an assist on Nash’s earlier goal. Oh and he scored in the shootout too.

8. Mind the Netminder - Garon needed to come in and give a solid goaltending performance. He did just that. In my mind, Garon is probably the best back up goalie Howson could have picked up in July. I was sorry to see him leave the Pens, but we all know how the salary cap rules the NHL these days. Garon received a much deserved standing O in the final minute of the 2nd for an unbelievable save on Getzlaf. I believe that save may have saved the game for the Jackets. It kept the score tied and gave the Jackets some momentum right at the end of the period. As Stralman put it while being interviewed at the beginning of the second intermission, “Ah that’s a great boost! That’s a great save!”

9. Giguere is an arse - I’ve been waiting for a forum to rant on this guy and tonight is the perfect opportunity since he’s starting in goal for the Ducks. What kind of guy comes out and tells the press “I would rather retire than be a backup goalie??” Has he heard of being a team player? Has he heard of keeping his mouth shut? Has he ever watched the scene in Bull Durham where Nuke gets schooled on how to talk to the press? You know what I would say to Gieguere? Go ahead - retire. No one will miss you but your own ego. Ok, I’m done ranting now.

9a. Niedermeyer is not an arse - I have to give props here to Scott Niedermeyer. Congrats on playing NHL game #1200!

10. Sudden death and a shootout - Both teams earned a point tonight, but the Jackets pick up the important extra point and win the game 3-2.

Well, I hope I have entertained you all a bit while filling in for Mr. Dark Blue Jacket. I’ve certainly had fun and watched a pretty good hockey game too. Now if you could all root a little for my Pens to get out of their horrid slump, I would be most grateful. Until next time, this is Your Friendly Pens Fan signing off.

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