Sunday, March 10, 2013

DBJ's six-pack for Game 25: Detroit

Columbus 3 - Detroit 0
9-12-4, 14th in Western Conference,
6th overall draft pick (and 15th & 16th!)
The Columbus Blue Jackets, wearing road whites for some odd reason, hosted the Detroit Red Wings in a matinee at Nationwide Arena and, after resurfacing the ice with the Wings in the second period, locked the game down in the third en route to a 3-0 shutout win in regulation.

Because that's what
friends are for.
Permit a little in-house business first, folks.  I took a week off to work on my Irish suntan (mission accomplished), and co-conspirator Morgan and DBJ blog alums Greg and Alison combined to deliver four awesome - and unique to each of their great personalities - six-packs in my absence.  I am eternally grateful to these three as my life has been "just a tad" crazy since the simultaneous arrival of my 2nd and 3rd offspring.  It was time badly needed on my end, and my friends did much more than just keep the lights on here at the blog.  Share a six-pack, you three, and make it some good stuff!

Now, today's game.  Take a moment to marvel at this...


I'm glad that circumstance forbade me from blogging this recap immediately after the game because it took a little while to sink in.  And I think I can best characterize this plastering of the Red Wings as nothing other than an Enema Game.  You know, one of those games where all the vitriol and bad juju is expelled...leaving you with a combined feeling of exhilaration and relief.

Think about it: In the 12 seasons of CBJ hockey, the team had NEVER won a season series over the Red Wings.  That ended today.  And it wasn't just that it happened, though.  It was HOW it happened.  This was a rout.  It didn't start that way, but it sure ended up as a rout.

A rout.  A rout of the Detroit Red Wings.  Damn.  Is it the End of Days?

We can go back and forth about how the Red Wings are a shadow of their Stanley Cup-accumulating selves of years past (They are), but that's not important today.  For as I find myself reminding all the fans of Jared Boll specific players on the Blue Jackets roster, it's not about the name on the back.  It's about the logo on the front.  And the boys with the Ohio flag draped over the star sent the boys with the winged wheel home with their tails between their legs.

Enough of the emoting, let's get on with the distribution of beverages.  And while I don't profess to have the extensive beer knowledge of, say, Greg or Morgan, I'll try to keep pace with special beers for today's special people.  My friends raised the six-pack bar, I tell ya!

The Six Beers of the Apocalypse?
1. A Molson tall-boy gets split by tonight's scorers: Cam Atkinson, Jack Johnson and Nick Foligno.  Atkinson and Foligno executed the classic shot from close range to perfection, and Johnson proved that when a defenseman chucks one in from the point...sometimes it scores a goal!  No complaints on either of the goals, but I hope that those three share their sips with their set-up men (Matt Calvert, Derick Brassard and Ryan Johansen, respectively).

Of course, a discussion of scoring can't pass up a mention that the Red Wings did not score a goal.  Schadenfreude, baby.

With 30 saves and a little goal support,
Bob notched the first shutout of his NHL career.
2. A pint of Baltika goes to Sergei Bobrovsky, who earned his first-ever NHL shutout on 30 saves.  He played a very solid game, making the saves when he needed to (obviously).

Yet simply saying, "Bob was great" doesn't go nearly far enough.  Y'see, I noticed when I got back that the CBJ were playing at the fourth-best clip in the NHL while I was in sometimes-sunnier climes.  The part that I couldn't understand was "How?"  Watching today's game, I think I have a better idea: Team defense.

It appears to me that head coach Todd Richards and his staff have given up on any Scott Arniel fever dreams of the "Insane Clown Posse" offensive scheme where the everything plus the kitchen sink was thrown into the offensive zone on the premise that the team was gonna score goals, darnit (except when they didn't). That scheme often left just a solitary defender back to help make Steve Mason look feckless in the face of an overwhelming opposition rush.  Richards' plan is almost the exact opposite: He throws three and four players back into defensive coverage as soon as the bad guys cross their own blue line.  Passing lanes are scrambled.  Scoring lanes are stuffed up.  The pressure on Bob is minimal.  The CBJ score a goal or two, lock down the defensive zone and leave with another razor-tight win.  It ain't pretty, but the results are what they are.

So let's be honest with ourselves.  Bob had a good game, but the scheme was designed to make sure he had a good game.

Snoop Dogg sez to drink up, Monster...
because you won't be seeing the ice again for a while.
3. If we're talking goaltenders, we can't help but slide a Blast by Colt 45 to Detroit's netminder of the day, Jonas Gustavsson.  That's right, we're offering fruit punch with 12% alcohol from one of America's great crap beer makers to The Monster, whose play was a monstrosity tonight.  Only seeing 24 shots is either a testament to Detroit's defense not being outright terrible or the Blue Jackets' ongoing offensive weakness...doesn't matter.  He still let three of 'em through.

Did you know that Stroh's made
ice cream to get through prohibition?
(The More You Know!)
4. Speaking of the Monstrosity, you can't help but pass along a well-meaning Detroit beer, a can of Strohs, to Detroit's head coach, Mike Babcock.  The guy couldn't win for trying.  His goalie was so terrible in the second period that he was forced to call a timeout to regroup (A timeout!  Against the Blue Jackets!  The indignity!).  Truth be told, the timeout did stop the bleeding.  His team didn't have anything inside them to swing the game back in their favor, though.

Worse yet (and reason to give him a six-pack of his own to drown his sorrow), BABCOCK'S LOBBYING THE OFFICIALS DIDN'T GET HIM ANYWHERE.  Seriously, how long has it been since the Red Wings couldn't bully the refs into getting at least a makeup call?  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Might as well fire the coach...

When your poster child sits in the sin bin,
you'd better start looking for The High Life...
5. A very prim and proper special delivery of Miller High Life (thanks, @MasonAnimation) goes out to the late Marie Evelyn Moreton, best known to hockey fans as Lady Byng.  The grand Lady surely cringed as a four-time winner of the NHL's sportsmanship award bearing her name, Pavel Datsyuk, took a penalty.

I'm not kidding.  PAVEL DATSYUK TOOK A PENALTY.

HE SAT IN THE PENALTY BOX.

I don't care that it was a delay of game call for chucking a puck over the glass.

DATSYUK TOOK A PENALTY.

That's it.  Armegeddon is upon us.  I'm emptying my checking account tomorrow and moving into the hills.

6. How can I overlook perhaps the penultimate sign of the apocalypse: Vinny Prospal pointing to the heavens on Justin Abdelkader and reminding the "Nowhere close to what the Red Wings used to be" forward that the Blue Jackets were up 3-0?

That's right.  Prospal went scoreboard.  My heart is a-flutter.

Many thanks to @Wiccy for posting this GIF on her Tumblr page.  It is so full of awesome.
10 minute misconduct?  Who cares?  Give Vinny the "C" right now.  

<deep breaths>

OK, let's wrap this up.  There's no way that anyone in their mind can say that the CBJ were outworked this afternoon, so let's put that silly notion to rest right now.

NEXT UP: Sunday afternoon at 5 (That's 4 o'clock for those of you who forget to change your clocks) in Detroit for a rematch against today's foe.

I must admit just a little trepidation over this game.  For I vividly recall March 7, 2009, when the Blue Jackets dropped a gaudy eight goals on the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.  Babcock used the memory of that game like a riding crop with his team for the rest of the season and through the first round of the playoffs - when the Wings cleaned the Blue Jackets' clock in their only playoff appearance ever.

Again, let's be clear: The Wings are not the same team that they were in 2009.  A win on Sunday would go a long way in assuaging those fears.  Still, Babcock is one shrewd character.  I wouldn't put it past him to do it again...especially as I understand that Jimmy Howard is going to be in goal.

5 comments:

  1. I'll get right to the point. I like winning as much as the next man, but let's not screw up our draft position with these wins. We're no where near a cup contender so the best thing we can do tank the season and get the first pick so we can load up on blue bloods.

    PS I truly believe we are on the right track finally after all these years, so it's time to get rid of that irritating gimmick-the cannon. I hate that thing!!!

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  2. With all due respect to those that would like to see the CBJ lose games to improve their draft stock, I believe it is far more important for the young players on this team to learn how to win, and that is exactly what they are doing right before our eyes. Let JD and Jarmo worry about the draft. Let's worry about winning. Besides, it's more fun.

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  3. Greg, I understand your point and I'm in full concurrence with you...sort of, but there is a reality to the NHL. Pittsburgh, Edmonton, Tampa, Chicago all have all star players because they finished last on the league. I don't like or enjoy watching a losing team either, but we have been doing that for pretty much all twelve years of our existence. One more bad year, to get the first pick is all I'm asking.

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  4. I'd rather have the winning a bit. We are too far back to make the playoffs, but if this team sees a brighter future they'll be happier here, work harder in the offseason and do a better job of bringing up the kids.

    Flagger X

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  5. Jacket fan . . . You do realize that if we finish last there is a 75 percent chance we don't get the first pick, right. If we put in a good season, give players more of a reason to stay here/come here in FA, and build an identity/learn to win (whatever you want to call it) its far better than hoping your number two pick pans out. Especially since we have three first founders we could maybe trade up. Throwing a rookie into a shit situation isn't gonna do anybody any good.

    ReplyDelete