GAMES 21-30 (4-4-2, 9-17-4)
Games 19-22 resulted in seven standings points in four games. Of course, this happened while I was taking a Thanksgiving break, so I had to ask the obvious question: "What in the world have you done with my crappy hockey team?" It ended up that the question wasn't all that important, seeing as the team only got seven standings points in the next thirteen games. Once again, you gotta beat good teams to be a good team.
The Buffalo game found Vinny Prospal playing in his 1,000th NHL tilt, and Greg May took a moment to celebrate.
The Jackets were getting deep into a mini-goalie controversy as Curtis Sanford had all but taken the reins away from the (again) underperforming Steve Mason, and Alison tried to sort it out.
Scott Howson offered a public defense of Scott Arniel, choosing to blame Arniel's poor performance on injuries and Wiz's suspension. Clearly, Howson didn't have a Scott Arniel Lineup Bingo card...because even we fans could see that Arniel was grab-bagging big time.
All the while, I had this lingering feeling that the Blue Jackets got passed in the rebuilding process by the Oilers. Hindsight showed that Edmonton faded down the stretch (whereas the CBJ had a season-long fade), but the point remains that the Oilers have more of the personnel they want to play the system that they want to play than the CBJ have for their desired system (which I still presume is up-tempo, offense-heavy).
Gallos offered up a rather profound commentary on Mike Commodore, Derick Brassard and Scott Arniel's legendary doghouse.
The NHL worked out a realignment plan that didn't move Columbus to the East but would have saved the CBJ a lot of money, which we fans are supposed to care about.
Our Hockey Operations White Knight, Craig Patrick, arrived on the scene. Patrick's hire was lauded for the credibility boost it brought to the Hockey Operations department. Henceforth, anything good related to CBJ personnel moves would be credited to Patrick and anything negative would be attributed to Scott Howson.
Cody Bass (The Guy Who Made Rick Nash's BFF Uncomfortable And Never Was Heard From Again) and new CBJ Game Operations guru Derek Dawley won my first quarter MVP awards. In fact, let's look once again at Bass' Big Push (starting at :55 of the video) on Aaron Johnson:
The Boston game brought a morning skate and Q&A with season ticket holders that I was lucky enough to take in. I offered a recap and immediately followed that up with a more detailed discussion of how I finally was able to pop the "identity" question at Scott Howson...and how his answer just didn't inspire confidence. For what it's worth, I still don't know what type of team Howson is trying to build.
Steve Mason played some lights-out hockey in the Game 30 game with Vancouver. The kid was tantalizing at points this season...and downright abysmal in way too many others.
In case you were keeping track, Kristian Huselius got his 32 minutes of playing time this season during this stretch - in games 27 and 28. Yow.