Friday, February 22, 2013

DBJ's six-pack for game 17: Detroit

Columbus 3 - Detroit 2
29th in NHL - 2nd overall draft pick (lottery notwithstanding)
After a couple days rest in between the Pacific Division and Central Division portions of their six-game road trip, the Columbus traveled up to Detroit tonight for game four of six.  The Blue Jackets gave up two early goals, settled down and came back to win, 3-2, with roughly 25 seconds left in regulation.

Both the Blue Jackets and Red Wings pale in comparison to their 2008-09 incarnations, but there was an undeniable intensity and excitement to the game that rekindled memories of the 2009 first-round playoff series between the two teams.  However, the Blue Jackets won this time.

We're going to whip through the six-pack pretty quickly, because there's a much larger issue that needs to be addressed tonight.

Put the coffee away -
We're back on Eastern Time!
1. Taking care of our own first, let's crack one open for longtime Dark Blue Jacket blog compadre Gallos, who surfaced today after being out for a while with a lower body injury.  So glad to hear from you again, my friend, and I hope you're feeling better soon!

2. R.J. Umberger got a first period goal, a rather greasy one from close range that seemed to settle the team down after the shaky start.  Give that man a cold one.

3. Derek Dorsett, that nasty little crease monkey, snuck in between the Wings' Jimmeh Howard and about three Red Wings to snatch Derrick Brassard's feeder and score his second of the season.  Toss him a can...but don't hit his nose - he had a gauze up it all night long!!

4. Vinny Prospal scored the game winner in the last minute of the game with a nifty backhand shot that I could only dream of making.  With that goal, his sixth, the team's elder statesman snatched the team lead in goals scored away from Mark Letestu.  For that exciting finish, I'll pull a mug from the freezer and pour it myself.

5. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 18 of 20 (Detroit only had 20 shots all game long?  Jeesh - that's terrible.  Fire the coach!) en route to the win.  A little shaky what else is new?...Bob settled down and displayed some impressive command of the situation.  This one's for you, Bob.

[MORNING UPDATE: I appreciate the comment below suggesting that Bob stopped 28 of 30 and verified with a non-Blue Jackets source that this was indeed the case.  That said, I'm not editing the above - incorrect - statistic because 1) I read what I read from the CBJ-provided box score last night and am interested in quality control and 2) Changing the numbers would render my "Fire the coach" link irrelevant and I just find the whole discussion over Mike Babcock's job security so ridiculously funny that I can't bring myself to do so.  But again, thanks for the correction.]

6. In case you hadn't heard, this was the first game that new general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen was able to witness in person; visa issues held him up.  The team put their best feet forward and served up a win.  We don't have Finnish beer here at DBJ, so please enjoy this fine domestic brew, Jarmo.

NOW LET'S GET SERIOUS:  At risk of being a buzzkill, I have to bring up that the game was marred by a very, very scary injury to Artem Anisimov in the second period:

Anisimov, lifeless on the ice for way too long, was carefully removed from the ice on a stretcher with his head, neck and back immobilized.  According to coach Todd Richards in his postgame media scrum, Anisimov will be held overnight in a Detroit hospital and then transported back to Columbus to see team doctors.

If memory serves correct, this was not an icing-related chase for the puck.  It was simply players chasing down the puck in the hopes of making plays.  To that end, I think it fair to categorize it as a freak injury (as the video above suggests).  That said, I can't help but think that the injury is related to the breakneck speed of the game combined with the impressive body armor worn by the players - which makes them feel near-invulnerable when they really aren't.

I'm just one fan (and readily admit it has something to do with being a father of a young boy), but I'd be just as happy to see a slightly slower yet much safer game played by guys who think twice before trying to be superman.

My thoughts and prayers are with Artem Anisimov tonight.

WHILE WE'RE AT IT: Blue Jackets public relations was in overdrive on the Anisimov injury with the curious assertion that Anisimov never lost consciousness.  Really?  How did they know this for fact?

Seriously, I want to know how the Jackets said they verified it.  Would this have been from a conversation with team doctors?  Or some other manner?  For I have to tell you, the only people I saw moving or talking for quite some time after Anisimov went down were the attending medical professionals.  I only saw the game on television, but he sure looked knocked out to me.

LET'S CONTINUE DOWN THIS RABBIT HOLE: If it was team medical personnel who provided this nugget of news, how does that jive with the fact that  the coach said he didn't consult the medical staff when it was widely believed that James Wisniewski had a concussion earlier in the season?  Do we only talk to the doctors when it works to our advantage?

"No, no! There are no concussed players!
Now, please, go back to enjoying NHL hockey"
The Blue Jackets aren't the only team seemingly playing fast and loose with the concussion/head injury issue. In fact, the New York Rangers are doing their best to squash any discussion of an injury to former Blue Jacket Rick Nash.  Among the speculation of Nash's ailment is (surprise!) a possible concussion.

This is a whole lot of speculation on my part, but the lack of transparency on the part of the NHL and its teams forces my hand.  Let's be clear here: Head injuries are downright serious matters.  Brains don't heal like ankles or knees.

That said, I have to believe that the way to handle these injuries is not to bury one's head in the sand or try to make the issue go away by refusing to talk about it.

WERE THE BLUE JACKETS OUTWORKED?  Nope, not in the least.  They battled back from 0-2 in admirable fashion.

NEXT UP: Saturday night, 8PM EST in St. Louis against the Blues.  I'd say that this has all the makings of an interesting rivalry game, but I did that already and had it blow up in my face.  So let's just call it "another game."


  1. Detroit had 30 shots on goal. Bob saved 28

  2. "I'd be just as happy to see a slightly slower yet much safer game played by guys who think twice before trying to be superman."

    This itself is impossible, unless you find a way for humans to physically not be able to skate as fast. What do you suggest? Less padding, so they know their bodies will physically take more of a beating? This was nothing more than a routine play that went abnormally, and terribly wrong. Anisimov lost his edge and was just in a bad spot, there is no way to stop this, and no way it could have been stopped.

    1. People wiser about hockey than I have suggested the exact same thing with the same rationale. I appreciate that lawyers, etc. will never let the body armor arms race slow down, but less armor would likely result in a more cautious game.


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