Friday, March 15, 2013

DBJ's six-pack for game 28: Chicago

Chicago 2 - Columbus 1 (Shootout)
10-12-6, 12th in the Western Conference, 22nd in the NHL
9th overall draft pick (plus 13th & 20th!)
With NHL realignment approved earlier today, the Columbus Blue Jackets closed out their final Central Division series with the Chicago Blackhawks by giving the fans a spirited overtime game, falling to the visitors, 2-1, in the shootout.

That's nine straight games with at least one standings point, a team record.  Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that such a streak would come from this crew?  Hats off to Todd Richards and the coaching staff for getting this roster to buy in, and to the players for putting their personal glory on the back-burner in favor of winning as a team.

I had the pleasure of taking in the game live, which always offers a unique perspective on the game.  This time, however, I had the Dark Blue Kiddo in tow...and taking a toddler to an evening hockey game is a whole different experience.

Despite being at the arena tonight,
I only caught about half of the game.
Does that mean I give out a 3-pack?

1. First, the legitimate game beverages: Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 39 of 40.  I still maintain that the team defensive scheme takes most of the heat off of the goaltender in the Columbus Blue Jackets system, but there's no denying that Bob had his share of action tonight.  Chicago has incredible shooting talent, from Toews to Kane to Hossa...and apparently Johnny Oduya, who got the only puck past Bob in regulation.  I gather that Bob was especially strong in the last minutes of regulation and overtime, but the Kiddo needed to bail out before the third period bailed out, so I wouldn't know.  Still, Bob had a great game in the time I did see.

[UPDATE: Ah, this is what I missed...]

2. I'll give my second beverage to Matt Calvert, only because he got into a fight and left without injuring himself.  Seriously, he never should have dropped the gloves - I don't matter what the other guy said/did, Calvert can actually play hockey pretty well.  Losing him would have been a setback that the Blue Jackets just don't need.

3. Jack Johnson scored a power play goal, so we'll let him have one of those Yuenglings that was jumping around the ice in the second intermission.  You have to hand it to the Blue Jackets: They had a terrible time getting the puck past Corey Crawford, so when they got one of only two power plays all night, they capitalized.

4. Now, for the game experience.  The fourth beer gets shared by the two guys from Chicago who were in town for work and sat behind me.  Nice guys, complimentary of Nationwide Arena and chuckling at the Arch City Army taunts.  They were amazed at the Columbus team defense...certainly didn't expect the Blackhawks to get stymied by the Blue Jackets as they did.  "Jeez, those Columbus guys are so fast getting back on defense!" was the refrain of the night.  Doesn't take a genius to see what Columbus is doing to keep the point streak alive.

5. The next beer goes to the mythical driver of the Chicago Blackhawks bandwagon - you know, the guy who helped fill something like a third of the attendance tonight. Seriously, there were a LOT of red sweaters in the house.  And they were everywhere, at least in the 200 level.  Lines pouring out of the bathrooms, lines at the concessions (so bad, in fact, that DBK and I missed half the second period waiting to buy some popcorn)...pretty much everywhere except the Blue Line merchandise kiosks.  And I was pretty much surrounded by Blackhawks fans in my section.  At least the Arch City Army kept it interesting.

6. The last beer goes to the guy who decided to build a parking garage across from Nationwide Arena.  For the Dark Blue Kiddo wanted to park in the garage...and park on the roof - P6 for the uninitiated.  So we did, one of three vehicles to do so tonight.  He thought that was the coolest thing.  So between the new toy zamboni, the parking garage and Dancing Kevin ("that man who dances funny with words on his belly"), the Kiddo had a full night.  Even if it only had me watching a period and a half of actual hockey.

WERE THE BLUE JACKETS OUTWORKED?  Nope.  For the better part of the evening - at least the part that I saw - the Blue Jackets frustrated the dickens out of the Blackhawks.  The CBJ dictated the pace of play and never let the Blackhawks take off like they clearly wanted to do after four days off.

NEXT UP: Saturday night, 7PM, Phoenix Coyotes.  With realignment to the Eastern Conference now official, I find myself not lamenting the loss of games against teams like this.  Yeah, the Eastern teams have me excited.

1 comment:

  1. I WAS PSYCHED watching that one.

    Fantastic. I couldn't help but curse a few times that the Jackets didn't pull it off in the SO, but having said that, what a great, great game.

    "Jazz Hands" Kane is a pain in the membrane.

    Tied now against the Wild. 10 minutes to go.

    Great stuff.

    Joe in Vancouver