BANG THE GLASS PROUDLY
First, why the name "Glass Bangers"? It stems out of last night's "5 Thoughts" game recap, where I shared that some of our friends from Canada apparently are offended at the fact that some Blue Jackets fans bang on the glass during the games. One of the comments from that post confirms that the glass banging became a topic of scornful conversation amongst Canucks fans as well. While I won't say that I haven't noticed it both in the arena and on TV, I have not found such behavior offensive in the least. Just comes with the territory in Columbus.
But it's now out there, and the challenge is how to respond to it. I say that if it annoys the visiting players and their fans, we should embrace the glass banging. Same goes for the cannon. If Nationwide Arena isn't going to be a particularly intimidating place to play a game right now, let's at least make it annoying to the point of distraction for the other team. The "intimidating" will come when the team strings a few games together and the community comes around. (Whether that's this season or down the road, I'm not going to speculate.)
Celebrate your inner glass banger. You paid for your ticket, pound away.
THIRTY-TWO GOOD MINUTES
I know that Kristian Huselius means well, and surely has been rehabbing as best he can. But good golly, he's played a whopping 32:24 this season over two games. (Using Derick Brassard math, that works out to roughly $146,000 per minute played for the man with the $4.75 million cap hit. Or $2.375 million per shot taken - he's only had two this season.)
Is the poor man snake-bit or what? I found it telling that Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson openly wondered if Juice was rushed back from his rehab and, in the process, injured himself again. Who was pushing so hard to get Huselius back onto the ice? Yup, Scott Arniel. Whoops.
CBJ AND FSO STICKING TOGETHER
Columbus Business First, the CBJ's Larry Hoepfner says the new deal will "take us well towards the end of this decade."
I speculated (a tad early, I learned) that the CBJ might want to test alternative avenues, but nothing substantial materialized. Simply put, FSO is the only credible game in town when it comes to regional cable sports in Central Ohio. That is not to say that FSO is a poor choice, however - not in the least.
First, they've ramped up their high-definition broadcasts considerably in recent years, something that cannot be said of every regional broadcaster around the NHL. In fact, every single game they touch this season will be in HD. They will have broadcast 79 of the 82 Blue Jackets 2011-12 regular season games - leaving 2 to NBC Sports Network and losing only a single game (November's Colorado game) to the silly NHL national blackout window.
Beyond that, they have a pretty strong announcing crew. This past summer, SB Nation gave the team of Rimer and Davidge four out of five stars, and I concur. Watch enough Center Ice or GameCenter Live, and you'd agree with me. Columbus is fortunate to have the booth team that it has. Beyond that, the MUCH-improved Ray Crawford clearly has done his homework on the team, and Dave Maetzold adds both a terrific feature reporter role as well as capable away game studio foil for Crawford. I won't lie and say I don't miss (Notre Dame alum) John Michael already, but I'm willing to give Natalie Taylor time as she figures this "Columbus hockey thing" (my term) out. I mean, if we're still supposed to be patient with the Blue Jackets' roster, why not give Taylor more than three games before passing judgement?
HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED...OR FIRED?
I know at least a few people want Arniel fired for a host of shortcomings - many of which are actually his responsibility. I've been frustrated beyond belief myself and would shed no tears if the team decided to make a change behind the bench. But I think the many analysts on NHL Home Ice are right: The window to make a coaching change in the hopes of affecting the outcome of this season has come and gone. The Blue Jackets are what they are, and we fans are going to have to live with it through the rest of the season.
As such, I think that Scott Arniel being fired before the end of the season to be highly, highly unlikely. Which buys him all sorts of time to try to figure out how to get his roster to play consistently good hockey...and secure his job going forward. Just a hunch.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Pascal Leclaire "is currently an unrestricted free agent."
ONE NICE PHOTO
I've got a little stash of photos which I've taken at a couple practices through training camp and the regular season. Why not use this space to share them?
|Blue Jackets backup goaltender Mark Dekanich and CBJ goaltending coach Ian Clark|
take a breather toward the end of practice on November 2, 2011.