|Washington 4 - Columbus 2|
10-23-5, 5th in Central Division, 15th in Western Conference
1. CREATIVITY IN DEFEAT - Whereas the last collapse was a last second implosion, this one took the entire third period to develop. The CBJ had a 2-0 lead going into the second intermission and gave up FOUR goals in the third period to not only lose, but lose big. As they say, this was a team loss. The entire team. Coaches and players.
2. NOT EXACTLY RISING TO THE MOMENT - Of course, this meltdown had to happen in front of a sell-out crowd and even Mayor Coleman. Why is it that the Blue Jackets lay some of their biggest eggs in front of their biggest crowds on their highest profile nights?
2a. WAY TO GO, YOUR HONOR - One of the benefits of having a hockey-illiterate mayor is that he stiffs one of the sports best-marketed stars (Alexander Ovechkin) on a handshake following the ceremonial opening faceoff. Tacky, yes. Funny, yes.
3. DBJ's UNABASHED POSITIVE COMMENT - In fairness, the first two periods showed a Blue Jackets team that looked remarkably strong. I was a bit surprised - they fought for the puck, protected the goal and really pushed the puck up the ice. In fact, I thought that the pendulum actually was swinging away from the more recent faux-Hitch Hockey scheme back to the - ummm, fast break? - scheme that Arniel supposedly was hired to implement. It was fun to watch and getting strong results (The Dispatch's Portzline tweeted something to the extent of, "This was the CBJ we were supposed to get in 2011-12"), and I was hoping that the Blue Jackets could keep it going for the final twenty minutes.
4. SAY WHAT? - One of the things about coach Scott Arniel for which I've developed a grudging respect is his ability to maintain a degree of dignity and grace under what must be incredible pressure. I won't get into his culpability in the Blue Jackets' performance but instead want to emphasize that he's been calm, reasonably thoughtful and - while he's often delivered the hockey cliches with the best of them - answers the questions put forth. That's not to be expected of every coach, especially under circumstances like the Blue Jackets over the past 12-plus months.
Then there's tonight's post-game press conference. In what ended up being the final question of the presser, Lori Schmidt of 97.1 The Fan asked Arniel about the team's rough 4-on-4 play. Seeing as the Blue Jackets have been outscored 8-1 in 4-on-4 this season, it was a reasonable question. Here's the exchange: