So with that, I'm going to offer a most valuable player for the first 20 games...and a runner up. If you've seen my past MVP's (like this one, or this one), you know that I don't pick the obvious choices. I don't think this round is any different. So let's get on with it...
DBJ's First Quarter MVP: Cody Bass
November 5, 2011 - The hapless Blue Jackets limp into the City of Brotherly Love and proceed to get destroyed in the first period, with the Flyers dropping four unanswered goals on the CBJ in just over seventeen minutes of play. It could be argued that the Boys in Union Blue gave up out of the gate.
And while I'm no advocate for fighting in hockey - it's really more of a circus sideshow than a contributing factor to game play - Cody Bass tried to use a little pugilism to change the dynamic of the game. Even more important is what Bass did starting at :30 in this video clip...
Better yet, focus in on the sequence starting at 1:00...watch Bass literally chewing out his teammates, trying to get them to wake out of their slumber (stupor?), going as far as to shove Aaron Johnson on the bench.
Now, I won't suggest that pushing captain Rick Nash's buddy around is a wise career move in Columbus - but it could also be argued that the return of Jared Boll made Bass expendable. But I will suggest that no single action by a Columbus Blue Jacket to that point this season displayed the level of passion and intensity that Bass showed while getting escorted off the ice in Philadelphia (and yes, I have seen Vinny Prospal score, not to mention R. J. Umberger and Antoine Vermette getting off their epic schneids).
What has baffled me - and other fans - has been the lack of passion on this team. It's one thing to go out there, give your all and come up short. Fans can appreciate effort. When the Blue Jackets take the ice, get pounded like punching bags and then give the blank stares that follow Bass' tirade at 1:07...I have a hard time supporting that.
At least an AHL scrub provided the necessary counterpoint. For that, Cody Bass is my first quarter MVP.
[NOTE: I started writing this post about two weeks ago, on the 18th of November, and got waylaid by Thanksgiving travel. Then we had the slow recovery from the disastrous start. I was on the fence over whether this post was still relevant but have come to the conclusion that an injection of the tougher attitude displayed by Bass was a significant contributing factor in the team's improvement. Thus, it posts.]
[UPDATE: In a delicious irony, Bass - who had been placed on waivers a while back - was sent down to Springfield about an hour and a half after this post finally found its way to the blog.]
Runner-Up: Derek Dawley
|Derek Dawley: Putting life back into the old barn since 2011|
Who's Derek Dawley? Is he a scrub? A prospect? One of those new guys that Scott Howson traded for?
No, he's the new Director of Game Operations/Event Development for the Columbus Blue Jackets...what we affectionately call "Game Ops". He's in charge of making sure that we, the paying fans at Nationwide Arena, have a good time regardless of of what happens on the ice.
Considering how this season started, he arrived not a moment too soon. While the team's performance, especially early on, has been atrocious (and now just is frustrating), Dawley and his crew have at least made the Blue Jackets experience enjoyable. And he started with a bang on opening night:
So long ago. Sigh. Anyhoo...
From his Twitter-linked CBJ DJ taking in-game requests to the improved use of game replays (at the expense of movie clips that I never could hear well), Dawley has injected a "big-time" atmosphere into Columbus Blue Jackets games. He and his team are making games fun despite the incredible frustration that we feel as fans...and that's saying something.