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.
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?
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":
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!)