Tonight the Columbus Blue Jackets exploded for 2 goals late in the third period to tie, and ultimately beat, the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in an important Metropolitan Division tilt. This was a game of counter punching, and the CBJ took their fair share of them. But in the second half of the third period, Jack Skille took what was termed as a bad penalty by the broadcast team. I think that penalty was a turning point in the game, as Skille blew up Tuomo Ruutu who had just hit Tyutin from behind, and hurt him. Other than the fact that it was purely and completely interference, Skille laid a perfectly clean hit on Ruutu and knocked him on his a**. That penalty kill, for a penalty taken to police some liberties taken with a teammate, gave the CBJ the momentum they rode to the win. Mike McKenna made some key saves down the stretch, and the CBJ get two huge points.
|Back by popular demand...|
For tonight, I thought I would acquiesce to a reader comment and do a 6 pack for tonight. We'll invoke democratic processes later in the dead zone over the break.
1. My first, cold frosty, CBJ six pack beer goes to all of us involved in following, supporting, cheering for, managing, playing for and coaching the Columbus Blue Jackets. Merry Christmas to us!! The CBJ sit at the Christmas Break firmly entrenched in the playoff race. If you had asked Jarmo and JD on October 1st if they could live with amazing injuries, but still being in the race at Christmas they would have knocked you down in their rush to take the offer. A total credit to the players, who have laid some real ostrich eggs, but have always responded with good play to those bad games.
2. My next, silky smooth, Sam Adams Christmas Lager goes to passing, which the CBJ showed in abundance. It was the passing of a team that has been to the wars, and seen a lot of things, but they knew where their team mate would be. Atkinson, Foligno, and Anisimov all made passes that were a thing of beauty, all of which lead to goals. At this point in the season, everyone has established who passes and who shoots. Earlier they tried to make another pretty pass. At this stage of the year, they are content to take the pretty pass and put in on net. Funny how those make goals.
4. My next CBJ beer, a sweet, smooth Scottish from Barley's, goes to Mike McKenna.who backstopped the CBJ to this win in lieu of Curtis McElhinney whose back tightened up before the morning skate. McKenna picked up his first win in a CBJ sweater, and once again did a pretty solid job when getting called on in short order. Realistically, the goal tending since Bobrovski went down is pretty much all you could have hoped for. When the team in front of it was laying an egg, the goal tending didn't look too good. When the team played well, it's been good enough to keep them in the game.
5. My next CBJ beer, a nice raucous tall boy from the R-Bar, goes to Corey Tropp, who scored the second goal with a 'time to go to the net' crash, that resulted in a rebound goal. He has really been coming hard, and his play is going to a new level. This is looking like a nice acquisition by Jarmo that puts a lot of pressure on our role players to produce. Which is having great results. Nice job tonight Corey, and congratulations on your first goal with the CBJ.
6. My sixth and last beer, a nice big, expensive Arena Tallboy, goes to Ryan Johansen for taking that next step. Dang. When he got that puck from Foligno, you just knew he was going to score. The thing that is interesting is to watch how confident he is when talking to the press after the game. Joey is taking it to another level as we watch, and what a fine Christmas present that is! Well done Ryan, well done indeed.
The CBJ come into the 3 day Christmas break on a bit of a roll despite laying an egg in Philly. They are 6-3-1, assured of a winning record in December, and firmly entrenched in the playoff race. Nathan Horton and Sergei Bobrovsky will be rejoining the line up over the next two weeks. Organizational depth has been tested, and is proving sound. That is totally a credit to Brad Larsen, and the job he is doing in promoting a winning culture in Springfield. Thanks to all the players and coaches doing such a great job in Springfield.
More importantly I wish a happy holiday to the coaches and players of the Columbus Blue Jackets. They have proved hard working and pugnacious so far this year. That is a credit to their character. Thanks for a fun early season. The pace ratchets up from here.
And finally, to close, all of us here at the Dark Blue Jacket would like to wish you all a happy, prosperous, and enjoyable Christmas Holiday. I won't say peaceful, because some of the gang here have young children.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!