So I'm going to stop the insanity. No more "10 Thoughts". Now, I'm just going to offer my take on the game. If it takes 10 words, I'll offer 10. If it takes 1,000, I'll offer 1,000. No more artificial constraints. Hope you like this new approach.]
Problem was, the Wild of 2009-2010 are not the Wild of years past. New coach Todd Richards has the Boys in Cream (and I HATE cream on hockey jerseys) playing a more uptempo game, enduring a painful early-season transition from longtime coach Jacques Lemaire's plodding, defensive approach to start approaching .500 hockey in January. (Actually, the Wild are now 25-23-4.)
Mason then slept through an Eric "I almost killed Jason Chimera but am really a good guy - really, I am" Belanger's shot in the 2nd period, and it was over. Sure, Rick Nash and Antoine Vermette both got the puck past Backstrom in the final minute of the game. I will never criticize players who fight up to the end, so good on them. Shame they couldn't put it together faster.
But all that doesn't matter. What matters is that Derek Boogaard played. The Boogey Man is arguably the finest enforcer in the NHL. His fights are legendary. And, strangely, Richards even had him playing hockey - positioning Boogey in the CBJ crease (and not doing anything meaningful - I mean, it's not like he's a hockey player...).
In the 2nd period, though, we finally had a reason to watch this game. Jared Boll fought Derek Boogaard.
Boll isn't a particularly good fighter. He's certainly not an enforcer. His fights tend to make me recall great circus clown acts that I have seen. But to take on the Boogey Man, on Boogey's home ice...that takes guts.
So, for that, I'll lift a glass. It almost made the game worthwhile.
And the Jackets fall to 20-25-9, having gone 5-5-0 over the last ten, and holding 49 points in the standings. That makes the Jackets the 4th worst team in the NHL. Hope the scouts are doing their legwork; it's shaping up to be another great pick.
POSTSCRIPT: If you haven't noticed, I've been eagerly waiting for Rick Nash to show a little spunk. His "I lead by my example on the ice" shtick clearly hasn't instilled a sense of fire in the team. He's the captain; he needs to get the team moving. Whatever it takes.
He dropped the gloves last night, too. He took on Nick Schultz - whoever that is, it's just great to see that Nash has the passion.