Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Having my Cake and Eating it Two

Totally awesome cartoon by Nate Beeler in today's
Columbus Dispatch kinda says it all!
Here we sit, on April 2 (hence the two in the title) and the Columbus Blue Jackets are sitting one point out of playoff position, having been leapfrogged by the Blues while the CBJ were idle.  For the second time in franchise history (hence the two in the title) the CBJ are part of the playoff conversation in April.  There is a healthy assist from the truncated schedule in there, but the reality is some hot goal tending and a team that has pulled itself out of the cellar by their skate laces deserve a healthy helping of credit.  And it is being noticed locally, as is evidenced by the cartoon by Nate Beeler at the right that appeared in today's Columbus Dispatch in the op ed page.  Subscribe now to get this awesome content! (hopefully that satisfies the lawyers)

Having watched the CBJ squander many an opportunity to engage the local casual fan in past years, it is really refreshing to see how this team has established a home ice advantage down at Nationwide arena.  In the past we have often seen the CBJ lose in these important home stands, or fail to show up when the big crowd is on hand.  This is a credit to the hydra like leadership of the team, and the will of the players who seem to keep on chugging no matter the situation.  There's also that thing about a hot goal tender, as evidenced by Sergei Bobrovsky  being named the third star of the month of March by the NHL.

But where do we go from here?  The Blues have a couple of games in hand, and they have loaded up at the deadline by picking up Bouwmeester from Calgary.  They are in 'full on win now' mode.  We are probably going to have to pick someone else to leap frog to stay in play off contention.  Nashville has games in hand, but also has to play Chicago four times down the stretch.  Detroit has seven of their remaining 12 games on the road.  The CBJ are in a similar situation, with only 4 home games remaining, and 8 on the road.  For the CBJ to make the playoffs, it will be a tall order, and they will have to do it on the road.

So for me, in my opinion, our CBJ are going to fade late, and are unlikely to make the playoffs.  Which means of course that we get a shot at the lottery for the number one pick, which is pretty cool.  This does nothing to diminish the pride and satisfaction that I have for what this team has accomplished.  And, of course, based on what they have accomplished so far, maybe it is unwise to count them out.  Some of these western conference teams had better focus on putting the CBJ away soon, because if you let them hang around, there is no telling what this group can accomplish.

As of Thursday, our next game, the level of intensity of play is going to take a quantum leap as the post trade deadline period begins.  At the bottom of the incredibly tight western conference, this signifies the start of playoff mode. The CBJ have to match or exceed that elevation in the level of play.  Honestly, I think they have that in them, if they can find a way to do it.  These few days off come at a good time.  I think our defense is going to need to elevate itself, the power play needs to get on track, and the forwards will be bolstered by the eventual return of Dubinsky and Foligno.  And of course the goal tending, both Bobrovsky and Mason will need to remain white hot.  It can be done.

So as this final phase of the 2012-13 season comes to a close, I am going to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride, while taking every opportunity to cheer the CBJ for what they have done.  Because I am having my cake, and eating it two!

GO JACKETS!!

2 comments:

  1. Totally agree that CBJ have the deck stacked against them and have thought that since I first saw the brutal roadtrip right at the end of the year. But also agree that they've got a shot. Heck, talent may win cups, but it sure doesn't guarantee a good team (see 2011-2012 CBJ, 2012-2013 Flames, Avalanche, Flyers, etc). I'm shocked when I look at some of the bad teams' rosters how much talent they have compared to us. It's guys like Dubi, Artie, Test Tube (congrats on the deal!), DMac, Dorse, etc, etc, that make sure you have pride and compete every year!

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  2. It has been a fun team to watch grow and become, right in front of us. If there is a hockey god( Jobu, are you listening?) it might grant this team the reward of the playoffs and a win in said playoffs. For the effort put forth and the lack of a superstar, they have already accomplished more than anyone might have thought possible. AND IT AIN'T OVER YET,and anything is possible. Go Jackets

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