Thursday, December 22, 2011

DBJ's 4 thoughts on Game 34: Nashville

Nashville 6 - Columbus 5
9-21-4, 5th in Central Division, 15th in Western Conference
The Columbus Blue Jackets lost, 6-5, to the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena tonight.

1. You can't discuss the magnitude of the disappointment over this loss without celebrating the incredible first period.  After a scoreless first 12 minutes, Carrie Underwood's beau scored on Curtis Sanford and unwittingly opened the Columbus floodgates.  Jeff Carter dropped a first period hat trick on the Preds in just over 3 minutes of play.  A natural hat trick was interrupted by a choice Ryan Johansen goal.  The CBJ skated off the ice at the end of the period with a 4-1 lead.  That 8 minute span may have been the best such period of time in a hockey game I can ever remember seeing.  I'm not kidding - it was THAT good.

2.  Then there's the rest of the game.  Johansen got his second goal in the second period (He had only 9:19 of total ice time on the evening...wouldn't want to ride the hot hand, that would only make sense...), but Nashville dropped three on Sanford to draw closer...5-4 at the end of the period.  It's like the Blue Jackets actually thought they were good after the first period, a grave mistake considering this nightmare of a season, and Nashville took advantage of the CBJ self-congratulatory attitude.  Meanwhile, stomach knots were tightening across CBJ Village...with this squad, there's zero confidence that they can protect a lead.  They had to keep attacking, and Nashville wouldn't let them.

3. The third period was...well, expected.  The CBJ held (reasonably) firm for the first 16-ish minutes, then Nashville tied it up on a power play goal - one of six scored between the two teams tonight.  The Jackets didn't respond, leading me to say to Mrs. DBJ, "They're playing for overtime.  This can't end well."  Then, Martin Erat took a sweet outlet pass and blasted past a stunned/sluggish/lackadaisical James Wisniewski, Jeff Carter and Derek Dorsett (along with a trailing Fedor Tyutin) to score on a breakaway goal with less than 10 seconds left.  The collapse was complete.

4. Curtis Sanford played a...pedestrian-to-poor game (seeing 38 shots on goal and only stopping 32 of them, an .842 save percentage), apparently aggravating his back late-ish in the third - something like less than 10 minutes left in the game.  Coach Scott Arniel chose to stick with Sanford rather than replace him with a cold Steve Mason (who curiously looked like he was counting the lights in the arena ceiling when the camera cut to him during the game).  I'm not going to hang Arniel on the decision - Mason has not been great, and Arniel has faith in Sanford - but I'm not sure there was a good choice to make.

That's all I have to give tonight.  I want to make thought number 5 a rant about the epic mess that is today's Columbus Blue Jackets hockey.  About how the Captain just doesn't play like he gives a damn and how that attitude trickles down to the rest of the team.  About how Derrick Brassard keeps screwing up his career with every chance that he is given.  About how the Blue Jackets are hyping the World Junior Championships almost as a way to distract their fans from what they see at the NHL level.  About how an AHL goaltender isn't going to win a game for this team by himself.  About how replacing the entire hockey operations group - management, coaches and roster - with an expansion team sounds like a preferable alternative to what we have right here, right now.

But I won't, because it's the Christmas season.  God bless us, everyone.  Especially the fans who are sticking with this embarrassment of a team.


  1. It is amazing to me that we are this bad yet their is at least two other teams that are as bad as us if not worse. You would think teams are playing for Gretzky in the draft next year. Also things i would like to see... Take the C away from Nash, Scott and Howson gone, Mr.Mcconnell to come back from the dead and smack some sense into his son.

  2. Whats incredible, is that we are not just losing games. We are throwing them away. Its not that we are completely talentless and getting blown out every game. Generally, we have the lead in the game or are outplaying the other team for long stretches and we just hand it over. I think that reflects more of a character issue than anything. How is Arniel not gone? I don't know . . . I don't see much accountability on any level.

  3. I somehow managed to only watch the good part of the game (from the first goal on the major penalty through the end of the first period).

    Thoughts about Trotz's indictment of Carter? "He got his three goals and that was enough."

  4. Arniel must feel a certain sense of quiet satisfaction in knowing that he kept Nash's TOI to 17:04. Right on the money. Of course if he had spent a little more on a crucial PK or two, who knows what could have happened?

    You can't blame the coach for the last goal, he had 3 guys out there who COULD have defended instead of just looking surprised. But you can blame him for not having them ready for the situation, and some of the line up decisions.

    Happy holidays!

  5. I've got tickets to Calgary and Washington games next week. Seriously thinking of leaving them at Will-Call for Elvis Presley and John Lennon.

    In the history of the team, this has got to be the worst nightmare ever.

    "This is a fragile team right now." Bull****!!!!!

    "Good thing that we have a few days off, we can sure use a break to recover from this"

  6. I have really tried to look at this year's failure in a fair and logical way and it is obvious that there is almost a perfect storm of conditions that have contributed to the debacle that is the Jackets. You've got to start the fix somewhere and it's past time to bid adieu to Arniel. His injury excuses (except goaltending injuries) are over. His misuse of talent is well documented in his line combinations and his lack of confidence in his young players is casting a pall over the organization. Youthful talent and enthusiasm could push and revitalize some vets who are just going through the motions. A take-no-prisoners firebrand voice is needed behind the bench. Someone with a pulse who Howson will listen to about needed players for a different system is in order. This is a place to START...


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