Thursday, December 8, 2011

DBJ's 5 Thoughts on Game 28: Nashville

Nashville 4 - Columbus 3 (overtime)
8-16-4, 5th in Central Division, 15th in Western Conference
Fresh off a .500 road trip, the Columbus Blue Jackets owned the Nashville Predators for 58 minutes and 24 second before collapsing.  The Blue Jackets eventually lost in overtime, 4-3, at Nationwide Arena.

While the outcome of the game was terrible, I had a great time during that first 58-plus minutes and will focus the majority of my attention on that.  I'll save the most pertinent thought regarding the outcome for last.

1. A Rocking Good Time (for 58 and a half minutes) - If you ever get an invite from Greg May to join him at a Blue Jackets game, drop whatever you are doing and run - don't walk - to Nationwide Arena.  Once again, Greg and I had an uproariously good time.  From our outstanding vantage point on the game, directly behind the glass on the attacking side in section 109, we had a terrible vantage point of half the game (the half played at the other side).  We more than made up for it on our end, joining the fun-loving crowd around us in expressing our deep admiration for the Nashville Predators.  (And those guys behind us were expressing their deep admiration for the CBJ Ice Girls, but that's a discussion that won't be held online.)  Point is, Greg has an awesome sense of humor and perspective on the game.  I have not laughed that hard in a long, long time.

1a.  Messin' with Sasquatch - It started in warmups, where the Preds were taking shots into the net directly in front of us.  As the team filed off to the locker room, only a couple Preds were left...including this Yeti-like character named Brian McGratton.  Seriously, he was something like 7 feet tall and furry.  And he couldn't hit an empty net if he tried.  Anyway, we decided to play a little with him.  Greg made a box out of his fingers and pressed 'em against the glass.  "Shoot here," we goaded him on.  McGratton saw us screwing with him, a la the "Messin' With Sasquatch" commercials ("Want a ride?" <drives away> "Sohhhh-reee....").  And wouldn't you know...

Do you see the water spray arching around "He hit here"?  Dang, that was close.

2.  The Problem Drinker - The object our affection for two-thirds of the night was, of course, Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.  If you're new to the blog, you need to know that Greg is the instigator architect of the "Drinks on Goal" statistic.  Last season, we took his archival work and expanded upon it in our evaluation of Steve Mason and then-Blackhawks netminder Marty Turco.  So given the opportunity to get up close and personal with Rinne, we took full advantage.

And boy, is Rinne a drinker.  Dude must have a hollow leg. If there's a whistle called, he's flipping around and grabbing that bottle.  Take this brief video, multiply it by 50 or 60, and you have Rinne's night in goal:

Don't think that Greg and I didn't have fun with this.  Every time Rinne drank, looking back at the glass, we drank too.  And gave Rinne big thumbs up.  Or raised our cups/cans.  

Rinne stopped looking at us by the middle of the first period.  

We didn't let up, though, continuing our honoring of this human sponge...and got one impressive scowl from him right before the end of the game.  Almost made the loss worthwhile.  Almost. 

The boys share a drink with Pekka Rinne.

2a. Temperance Rules in Columbus -  In contrast, Curtis Sanford is cut from a desert cloth.  The man is a cactus.  Didn't drink a drop during the second period when he was in front of us.  We think that Sanford could be a strong candidate for a revival of HBO's "Big Love."

3. This One is for Alison - Derek Dorsett was a house tonight. That man is all motor.  We also coined a new hockey term, the Derek Dorsett Hat Trick.  To get that prize, you need to get a goal, win a fight and be caught on camera saying "F*** you" to the other team's players.  Yup, Double D got all three.  

4. One Weird Goal - We literally had front row seats for the odd first goal by Jeff Carter.  In fact, it came so fast that next to no one noticed Carter scored a goal.  After the puck popped back out of the net, Greg leaned over to me and said, "I think that was a goal."  

So they continued play for a couple of minutes, then called a whistle.  The ref went over to Rinne and said something.  Then Ryan Suter went over to talk to Rinne.  Then Suter and Rinne started looking at the net and Rinne's back.  Then Suter started plotting the trajectory of the "magic bullet" that took out JFK in Dallas with his stick.  Greg observed, "I think they're talking about whether that was a goal."  

Upon which point both of us started nodding approvingly and expressing our agreement that yes, it was a goal.  

The War Room in Toronto agreed with us.  Go figure.  It was a goal.

5. And Now the Stuff I've Been Trying to Avoid - The collapse of the last 90 seconds of regulation was inexcusable.  This is a team that is incapable of closing out anything...a period, a game...doesn't matter.  They knew Nashville was going to bring an extra attacker and still couldn't stop the Preds.  Remember, this is Nashville that we're talking about...a team that can't play offense.  Yet they dropped two goals in on the CBJ in the space of roughly 90 seconds.  Terrible coaching, terrible execution.  

5a. So Much Goodwill Squandered - After 58 minutes and 30 seconds of a very enjoyable evening at Nationwide Arena, the 13,852 announced fans were punched in the gut by their home team and went home feeling the pain.  The Blue Jackets can't keep doing this to their fans.  


  1. Finish your thought DBJ.
    "The Blue Jackets can't keep doing this to their fans."
    Sure they can, they have been breaking our hearts for 11 years now. There is no indication that they can't or won't continue in the same vein indefinitely.

    "The Blue Jackets can't keep doing this to their fans, if they want to continue playing professional hockey in this city to anything more than an empty arena."
    Now that is an accurate statement.

  2. We laughed. We cried. And then I read this and I laughed and cried again.

  3. Greg, you neglected to mention that you continued the post-game mirth with a buddy...

    Thanks again, my friend!


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