Friday, December 4, 2009

10 Thoughts about Game 28: Toronto

1. The Columbus Blue Jackets welcomed the Toronto Maple Leafs to Nationwide Arena for only the third time ever.  This obviously was a huge honor, as the Jackets rolled out the red carpet right to the CBJ goal.  The Leafs took advantage of this generosity to thump the Jackets, 6-3.

1a. Here are the highlights:

1c. I can't even call this a performance of the "40 Minute Men." They didn't come close to competing for that much time.

2. As forgettable as this game was to most Blue Jackets fans, it was big for yours truly as it represented my first pilgrimage to Nationwide of the season. (The arrival of the Dark Blue Onesie has curtailed my social schedule...) I enjoyed the company of a couple friends from my old work, and together we endured one really lousy game - from the perspective of a CBJ fan.

3. Seeing the game live reinforces a couple things that you don't pick up on television...things that make seeing an NHL game in person a truly enjoyable experience regardless of the score.

3a. The NHL is one FAST game. Transitions are split-second, rushes fly down the ice.

3b. When players get checked into the boards, there's some force behind those hits.

3c. The speed of pucks on slapshots is just incredible.

4. The Jackets turnovers were at epidemic levels tonight. It was as if there was a rule that the CBJ was only allowed to carry 1 of every 2 or 3 pucks into the offensive zone. There were a couple moments where the Jackets simply left the puck at the offensive blue line. What's up with that?

5. The Jackets defense, especially in front of the goal, was mystifying and might warrant another "Object Lesson in Poor Defensive Strategy". I've noticed a number of teams this year who play simple, solid defense that collapses to the crease and supports the goaltender. The Jackets don't do that. I'm not sure what they are doing out there, but they sure as heck don't do that.

5a.  Steve Mason doesn't appear to be the Steve Mason of last year, but he's not getting anything close to the level of help that he got last year.  The problem, my friends, does not lie in goal.

6. The undeniable highlight of the night was the 3rd period's Kris Russell-Phil Kessel fight, which I will refer to as the "smurf battle":

7. About the Leafs:

7a. Phil Kessel. He's really good. Not so good as a pugilist, but a really good hockey player.

7b. Mike Komisarek is one large hombre.

7c. The Leafs' 3rd string goaltender was made to look like an all-star by the Jackets. I doubt he's that good.

7d. The Leafs Nation travels well. Lots of Leafs fans throughout the arena. They're a boisterous bunch, too...with good reason tonight.

8. With about 7:30 left in the 3rd, I and a few hundred people around Section 106 saw Rick Nash take a shot that appeared to fly in and out of the goal so fast that no goal was called. We all celebrated, the Leafs fans shook their heads in disbelief....and nothing. They just kept playing.  Were we all blind?

9. Note to CBJ management: If you know that you're not going to sell the arena out, don't tape hot pink flyers to the backs of every seat in the arena. It really shows how many seats are empty. (And there were a LOT of empty seats, sadly.)

10. I didn't miss the Fox Sports Ohio guys. Not one bit.

NEXT UP: S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y ... NIGHT against the Avalanche at Nationwide.  As I type, disgraced former CBJ captain Adam Foote has not been able to trump up either injury or illness, so it looks like he'll make his first appearance on the ice in Columbus since engineering his escape from the Blue Jackets.  Can't wait!  (And it looks like I'll be there for that game, too!! w00t!)


  1. I could have sworn that the Nash shot in the 3rd was a goal, also. I sit almost exactly on the goal line up in the press box, so it's a decent vantage point to see a puck cross the goal line. It looked like it went in and rebounded back out just as fast.

    Sorry your first game this season had to be such a clunker. Better luck on Saturday.

  2. I also thought it was a goal from Nash. I sit in row C of sec 105 and had a really good view. Regrettably, I didnt DVR the game, but I was shocked it wasnt turned over on review. Anybody see the video to give me some perspective?

    other than that, the most disappointing CBJ game ive been to in years.


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