Thursday, August 29, 2013

The drumbeat starts: Is it October yet?

From our friends at FOX Sports Ohio, your dose of pre-season preview programming:


Columbus, OH – Columbus Blue Jackets fans don’t have to wait until Opening Night to enjoy Blue Jackets hockey. As the team gears up for what will be an exciting 2013-14 season, FOX Sports Ohio is helping fans get ready too by featuring special Blue Jackets programming throughout the month of September in a “Countdown to Face Off.”

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cannonfest IV: Jarmification

Jarmo Kekalainen was a welcome addition
to Cannonfest IV
There's something a little bit sad about a hockey fan in August.  Yeah, it's summer.  The weather is stunningly wonderful.  There are lots of things to do, including unwelcome chores such as mowing the grass.  But hockey runs in our blood, simmering below the regular season churn, and the full born blood boil of the playoffs, or the run thereto.  Thus was Cannonfest born, out of the excess energy of the angst and the hope, an oasis of hockey in the midst of the desert of August.

Such it was today, as hundreds of hockey fans gathered for the fourth edition of Cannonfest, held at Buffalo Wild Wings on Bethel Road.  This venue offered more space then the more intimate gatherings at BW3 in Grandview, which was badly needed given the size of today's crowd.

One of the best parts of today was the sense of community.  With the DKM podcast humming in the background, fans got to re-connect with good friends and colleagues oft seen during the season.  Videos from many sources were shown, with the highlight being this year's offerings from Tom Larrow, (@Skraut), the best fan videos in North America.  Skraut brought us a tribute to George Matthews, which yours truly really liked, as well as a reflection on who our heros were this past year.  Matt, over at the Cannon has an awesome recap of the evening including the videos.  But the best part of the day was when Rick announced that Jarmo Kekalainen was in attendance.  The fans really responded to his commitment and willingness to be there, and rewarded him with a standing O and a throaty Jackets cheer.  I think its fair to say Jarmo was surprised (in a good way) by the number of fans and the intensity of the event.
DKM insanity proceeds apace.
Personally, this was a highly fulfilling event.  Having Jarmo there was a big adrenaline kick.  The size of the crowd was awesome.  The video was great all night, along with Morgan's hauntingly plaintive mourning of Vinny Prospal's situation.  And I spent a lot of time fussing about fancy stats with my Buddy Bill.  Crazy stuff, @zekebud getting in my head with that.

And for those that were unable to attend, here are photos of the event over on the Union Blue.

While our own Dark Blue Jacket played an undeniable role in helping to get Cannonfest rolling, it must be emphasized that the folks over at Full Mental Jackets and the Cannon put together this year's addition, and deserve undiluted credit for putting together an awesome event.  Thank you!!

Read the re-caps.  See what folks have to say.  And plan to be there next year!  Cannonfest IV was the best ever, and the trajectory is upwards!!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I'll skip the "Little Brother" blog pieces

The Metropolitan Division: Trendy, provocative, cutting edge.  The Blue Jackets join the ranks of the formidable Metro Division of the Eastern Conference for the 2013-2014 NHL season.  The CBJ fan base and bloggers are eager to prove the Jackets worth as the team makes a long awaited transition to the Eastern Conference.  Many Blue Jackets bloggers are proud to stand up for their team, oft maligned by cruel hockey jokes, and start a little chirping to the Metro division fans and bloggers.  As the self proclaimed King of Snark, I approach this first season in the East with a healthy dose of humility.

Remember the last time we ran our mouths about
how awesome we were?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hey Jody!! We got this Cannonfest thing....

Hi Jody!  I know you've got this new gig, being an ambassador to the fans, relating to everyone, promoting the team.  I think this is a great fit for you, and I wanted to help give you a good start. It turns out that over at the Cannon and Full Mental Jackets our industrious colleagues have organized a gathering of fans!!  How convenient!!  What an opportunity for you to get your new job rolling!  Blast some tweets, meet some fans, it will be a great time!  All of this during the absolute doldrums of the hockey year, August.

So anyway Jody, the gig goes down on Sunday, at the Buffalo Wild Wings on Bethel Road, starting at 2:00 PM.  Yeah, I know you have a family and a honey do list.  We all do.  But we're all sneaking away to do some hockey immersion in August.  Who knows, you play your cards right, you might even get some air time on the DKM hockey podcast, which may, or may not, be a resume builder for you.

The other cool thing I wanted to remind you about Jody, is that since you are retired, you no longer are on that training diet.  So the wings and beer are not off limits any more!  If you make it, I promise to buy you the adult beverage of your choice.

So Jody, congratulations on your new position with the CBJ.  Come on out and celebrate the occasion with a couple of hundred die hard hockey fans!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Going back to where it began - Jody Shelley

First off, let me start by saying that I am glad Jody Shelley has returned to the Columbus Blue Jackets.  I have often gushed over the Tampa Bay Lightning’s incorporation of ex-player Chris Dingman into their broadcasts.  He offers insight, credibility, and a certain adorableness to the team and its broadcast crew.   So I applaud the Blue Jackets for making a player, who still considers Columbus home, part of its team once again - and putting them in a role where they will be sucessful.  Having someone with NHL experience on your broadcast staff goes a long way, too. 

Again, thanks Philly

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Metro Musings

Money Problems for the Devil Wrenches
Over on Puck Daddy, the only place where anything is really going on in the summer, they are saying that the NHL is poised to take over control of our new division rivals, the New Jersey Devils.  Like with the whole Kovalchuk to the KHL thing, its good to see a powerful division opponent harming itself from within.  On the other hand, the Coyotes ownership problems didn't seem to affect the team Dave Tippett was putting on the ice, and they played rather well through the whole ordeal.

I expect pretty much the same from the Devils really.  The players will still be motivated, and the fans will still be there (I'm lookin' at you Wyshynski), so they will probably end up turning in a decent season.  Like the CBJ, one wonders where the scoring will come from in New Jersey.  In fact, when I look at things in the new Metro Division and try to figure out where the CBJ will land, I reflect that we will probably be playing a similar style to the Devils.  If we can do that, we will occasionally find some success over the years.  And, we'll probably finish lower than we want in some years.  That's the way of it.

I am really looking forward to this season.  I think this whole Metropolitan Division thing is exciting, and I'm looking forward to these games.  There's a lot of history in these franchises that we will be part of now, and that is one of the fun things.  Sigh.  August is worse than the damn lockout.  But, Cannonfest looms, thank God, and there will be some relief for the hockey starved.

Also over on Puck Daddy, our colleagues over on the Cannon take a shot at the League of Nations project for the CBJ.  Well done lads.  Last year we did the Puck Daddy project.  A word of advice for you young folks out there, if the CBJ finish last in the league, its a good time to respectfully decline.  Every insecure teenager on the planet will be lining up to bash you.  Otherwise, its a good thing.

In general, I like August.  When else can you ride your motorcycle in the rain and still be warm?  But I hate the lack of hockey, and I can't wait for training camp to open.  However, always remember:

Sunday, August 18, 2013
Buffalo Wild Wings -Bethel Road
2 PM
(okay seriously, probably 1:00 if history is any guide and you want a good table, but that's not the official start time, so don't pay any attention to me)

Remember.  Cannonfest is about hockey fans helping hockey fans cope with August.  It takes a Village to raise a hockey fan.  It's your community duty to be there.  Of course the wings and beer are a nice compensation for doing your duty.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Flogging the Prospal horse

I know, I's all but certain that Vinny Prospal isn't coming back for the Columbus Blue Jackets next year.  I've made my opinion clear in suggesting that this is a big mistake on the part of the team's management.

What I can't get over is how, even at the most random of times, I see the reasons for which I want Prospal back reiterated by the strangest of people.

Like Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks when talking about why he will never get rid of his cornerstone, 35-year-old Dirk Nowitzki:
When you turn your team upside down and try to figure out what the culture of the team is, you take the greatest risk a team can take.  Dirk sets the tone for our team.  He works as hard, if not harder than anyone.  He helps our younger players understand what he expects and what they need to do to excel. On the court he is selfless.  He would rather not have to score a point if we would win the game any way.  He would rather pass the ball and let anyone else score than be forced to take the shot. Until its the time of the game where we need a point. Then he is ready to step up as often as we need it. But he knows, that his impact on a game is far more important than any averages or what appears in the box score. That mindset. That selflessness. His work ethic is something I want to be in place long after he has retired.
Substitute "Vinny" for "Dirk," and you get my point.

The Blue Jackets that I have known (since roughly 2006) have never had a player like that until Vinny Prospal came to town.   Not only did Vinny play that role for the CBJ, he did it under perhaps the absolute worst of circumstances.  He wasn't leading a championship team, a perennial, he was helping pull an epically terrible team out of the cellar.  And you know what?  With a little help, he did it.  As the 2013 season wore on, the CBJ turned from a bunch of losers into a team that could reasonably be expected to win.  How long has it been since we could say that?

I hope they know what they're doing down on Nationwide Boulevard.