Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gallos' Thoughts on Game 27: Boston

Tonight the Blue Jackets lost to the Boston Bruins 3-1 in their final game of the season against the reigning Eastern Conference champs.  The Bruins came out, and exerted their will in the first period, and bounced and deflected two goals past Curtis McElhinney.  That was enough for Boston, who won their 11th consecutive home game.

The undermanned CBJ came back out in the second period with a bit more jump in their step, but kept taking penalties that interfered with any chance of setting up a consistent offensive cycle.  Dalton Prout dropped the gloves with Lucic in the second period, and came out with at least a draw.  Good to see him stepping up, and trying to get the team rolling.

Late in the period, Seidenburg went shoulder to the head on Nick Foligno.  We'll see if it gets reviewed by Shanny.  Nick took exception, and went after him, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10 minute misconduct, so the period was ended with the CBJ on the penalty kill and no scoring in the period.

Early in the third period, CMac got victimized by a slap shot from Lucic that hit Jack Johnson's skate, went up in the air, and floated over CMac's head and into the goal.  Whaddaya gonna do?  Then Dougie Hamilton tripped Ryan Johansen, and on the ensuing power play, Joey scored on a nasty little wrist shot for his team leading 10th goal of the year.

I don't see this as a roller coaster game.  The CBJ brought reasonable energy to the game, but they are just not at the same level as the Bruins.  The Bruins had no players out with injury.  The CBJ have significant injuries, not that a healthy roster would have brought them to that level.  The better team won tonight.

I think in the last Bruins game I commented that I thought Ryan Murray found the game pretty 'rich', or in other words, a difficult game.  I felt he definitely moved past that in this game, and had a pretty solid outing.  The Bruins field a lineup with a number of veterans who play the same type of game as Boone Jenner.  That made it a learning environment for the young forward.  He didn't play too bad, but it was an educational experience.    Our young guys continue to learn and develop, so that's a positive from this game.

In terms of the series, Boston takes it.  This really puts us in a hole that we need to make up somewhere else across the schedule if we want to make the playoffs.  We're in the hole with the Penguins and the Caps too, which complicates things.  So this loss hurts, but I don't think it's shocking that we couldn't handle Boston.  No wailing or gnashing of teeth.  Time to move on.

Game Haiku:
Jackets play Bruins
A bounce, a tip, an air ball
Is all Boston needs

Next up, the Stamko-less 'Bolts at Nationwide on Tuesday.


See How This Works People? Game 26: Oilers

Tonight the Columbus Blue Jackets cancelled out a horrific loss on the last road trip by prevailing against the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 in regulation.  This would be a 3 point game in the KHL.  Just saying.  If you read my previous post <yawn> you would know that's how this year operates.  It doesn't really matter how bad you are on the road, so long as you cancel them out at home.  Now, this game does not completely cancel out our 7-0 loss on the road to Edmonton.  The difference could mean home ice advantage in any Stanley Cup final between the two teams this year.  However, for the moment I feel I can let go of that concern, and concentrate on wins and losses.  We won one, they won one.  Split.  .500 winning percentage in this series.  Cross it off the list, move on.

Of bigger concern is the game against the Bruins tomorrow, in Boston. We are upside down in that series, and need a road win badly for damage control purposes.  This isn't a trap game, should be no problem getting up for the Bruins.  However, they are a formidable team.  That f*****g Lucic is a load, especially in the last couple of minutes of a game.  (Note to Grandma: f*****g stand for farthing, a small British monetary denomination.  It means I don't give a brass farthing about that f*****g Lucic, but he keeps beating us!)  In terms of accomplishment for our young team, it would be a significant accomplishment if they could pull off a road win against Boston.  If they can't, so be it.  Everyone else gets to try as well.  But a win would help to cancel the negatives of 2 losses against the Bruins so far.  So it's  really important game.

Joey.  Ahhh, Joey.  Nice game buddy.  Ryan Johansen's first goal was a beauty.  He found some space in the hard areas, looked around and thought 'nobody's checking me', took his time and roofed a beauty.  A water bottle buster, from the edge of the crease.  No chance for Bryzgolov, and the goal broke his shut out streak.  Damn I'm glad we don't have to play Edmonton any more.  With some goal tending, they could be formidable at some point later in this season.  It should be fun to watch from afar. <fist pump>  I love the Eastern Conference.

Taking the lead to the second period on Johansen's snipe, Edmonton got frustrated with the herky-jerky nature of the Blue Jackets game (remember what happened when we tried to skate with them?), and started taking penalties.  Power play goals by Anisimov and Foligno helped break the game open, and Skille got loose for a beauty of a snipe to complete the second period scoring.

The Jackets ended up giving up 2 goals in the third period defending the lead.  Nashville, we are not.  But the last few minutes was spent with the CBJ buzzing around an empty net, but no empty net goal was produced.

Nice crowd tonight, though quiet.  A rookie crowd, with lots of kids.  We need to do better, but there's this roller coaster thing....

Anyway, Johansen, Jenner and Murry played relatively well, in spite of a rookie mistake by the latter on the power play.  But no harm, no foul.  A good team win, with the whole team winning battles all night long.  Good stuff.

Game haiku:
Edmonton rolls in
but a CBJ hockey night
Jackets even score

A fun night of hockey in Columbus tonight.  Met some fun Oilers fan.  Made a date for a cup final in three years.  Hmmm....


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Interpreting Results in the 2013-14 Season

First and foremost, we here at the Dark Blue Jacket would like to wish you and yours a great Thanksgiving Holiday season.  We appreciate your readership as we walk down the road through another NHL hockey season with our beloved CBJ.

Like family, we reserve the right to criticize our team when we feel they don't meet our expectations.  And, these last few games have provided plenty of fodder for criticism, as well as some profoundly satisfying moments.  In the previous post, the Dark Blue Jacket raised some issues related to the relative stability at the coaching position at this juncture, which brought fast and thoughtful response from some of our readers.  Good stuff folks, thank you!

What I wanted to do tonight was to share with you some thoughts I have had about how this season is turning out.  With a team that is likely to be a bubble team in the NHL, we need to ensure that we are at least a .500 team, and then try to make a few runs that will put us into a playoff position.  This remains doable for this team.  The 2013-14 season was always going to be about surviving the first half of the season to see what would happen with the addition of Nathan Horton.  So far we are hanging in there at this task, benefiting from below par play from our fellow Metro Division opponents.  This won't last, but it has served to keep us in touch with a play off spot.

You see, one thing about this year, is that we play a home and away with all the western conference teams.  If you split all of those home and away games, you have a solid foundation for a .500 season.  Win a few of them, and you do your self some favors.  Lose a few of them, and you dig yourself some holes.

Earlier this year, the CBJ went 4-5 in a 9 game home stand.  Not so good.  But then they went on the road, and actually finished up 3-2, before losing to Nashville last night.  So what did they accomplish?  Well the CBJ lost disappointing games to Ottawa and Calgary at home already this year.  On the road trip, we canceled out those home losses with road wins.  We are .500 on those games.  Also on the road trip, we lost a pretty brutal game to Vancouver.  But low and behold we had already beat them at home.  Vancouver cancelled out.  We did lay another beating on Toronto, so we are ahead in that series.  Pittsburgh, not so much, but the two series cancel out.  We are behind the 8 ball with Boston, but we are up on the Islanders.  Likewise we are down with the Capitals, which puts us in a hole.  We have more games against them that we cannot afford to lose.
So we have laid some ground work we need to make up to cancel out other losses in this early season.  Edmonton comes to town tomorrow.  Obviously, we badly need to cancel out the egg we laid up there.  We now have to win a road game against Nashville later in the season to cancel last night's loss.  But viewing the season as a whole, the CBJ have managed to stay even on a lot of fronts, in spite of injuries and a lot of subpar play.

It is quite possible that this is all going to fall apart going forward.  I don't think it is a reasonable expectation that the rest of the Metro will continue to play the way they have.  I think you can look for a Division wide elevation of play.  The CBJ are going to have to match that in order to hang with the pack.

The situation is less than ideal, but so is the news on the injury front.  So long as the CBJ can maintain their manic pace, and balance the curb stompings (DBJ's term) with the eggs they lay, they will hang in there.  Then at some point in the season they will need to make a move.  But they are staying close enough for that to remain possible, and that is all we need to get out of this early season.  The youth are learning valuable lessons.  Hopefully they can use those lessons going forward.


So DBJ hijacked the recap for CBJ Game 25 to talk about matters

Nashville 4 - Columbus 0
The Columbus Blue Jackets lost on home ice to the Nashville Predators, 4-0.  The Preds scored at 9:58 of the 1st period and - in classic Nashville style - ran the clock out on the CBJ for the balance of the game.

Bless your heart, Barry Trotz.  Only you could sit on a lead for 50 minutes of game play and get away with it.

Here's the game haiku:

Trotz' Rule to Live By
CBJ can't score a goal
All Preds need is one

OK, that's out of the way.  Now let's talk about things of substance.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

CBJ Luck

On the evening when:

- The NHL TV rights in Canada dramatically shifted, leaving former stalwart TSN out in the cold and MAKING DOUG MACLEAN ONE OF THE MOST VISIBLE ANALYSTS IN THE SPORT in a $5+ billion, 12-year deal that effectively gives Rogers SportsNet control of NHL television programming across Canada, and

- 10 former NHL players brought a potentially devastating suit against the NHL over the long-simmering concussion/head trauma issue and the league's obligations to its players....

...the Columbus Blue Jackets curb-stomped the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Center of the Hockey Universe.

Of course they did.  On a night when nobody of influence was paying attention to the actual games being played.

That, my friends, is the encapsulation of CBJ Luck, wrapped up with a bow in one evening.


Class action lawsuit over head trauma filed against the NHL by former players

I'm going to leave the opinionating out of this post due to time constraints and a need to better digest what popped right at the beginning of tonight's CBJ-Toronto game, but here's the skinny:  10 former NHL players have filed a class action lawsuit against the NHL in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.  They apparently allege the following:
The 47-page complaint is linked here in PDF form.

Monday, November 25, 2013

So DBJ can't quite believe what he saw in CBJ game 24: Toronto

Columbus 6 - Toronto 0
The Columbus Blue Jackets ended their five-game Canadian swing with a blast of old-fashioned, Columbus cannon-fire.  They took it to the host Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-0, at the Air Canada Centre in the Center of the Hockey Universe.

Tonight's recap is a little out of sorts because I'm pinch-hitting for one of my compadres.  I didn't sit and watch the game all that closely.  Instead, I did many of the regular fatherly chores - wash some dishes, put some of the kids to bed, switch out the laundry.  You know, the stuff you do when the game is on in the background and you occasionally look up to check what is going on.

I ended up looking up a lot tonight...and had absolutely no idea what was going on.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

So DBJ watched portions of CBJ Game 23: Vancouver

Vancouver 6 - Columbus 2
The Columbus Blue Jackets' Western Death March Road Trip continued with the Vancouver Canucks pasting the Columbus Blue Jackets, 6-2, at Rogers Arena.

I fell asleep before the first intermission and awoke with about 10 minutes left in the third.  It was a 10PM start -- so shoot me.

Point is, the 'nucks apparently dropped three goals in really short order on the Blue Jackets in the second period, and the CBJ retreated to Their Happy Place.  It was over.

Your haiku:

Calvert's goal for naught
Nuckle-heads destroy poor Bob
Brick by Brick, baby!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Back in the Saddle, Game 22: Calgary

The boys deserve some cold ones tonight
Hee, hee.  Look what I found!  Thanks for the graphic DBJ!!  Shrugging off the annual debacle in Edmonton last night, the Columbus Blue Jackets came back to prevail over the Calgary Flames 2-1 in overtime.  This is a big win for the Jackets.  All four of the Jackets on the ice, Anisimov, Atkinson, Savard and Nikitin all got a crack at the winner, but after 3 or so blocks, Nikki 6 buried the game winner.

The CBJ played a very good first 40 minutes.  They took a lead in the first period off a nice shot by Nick Foligno.  The played a good all around game.  Calgary came out hard in the third period, and were able to connect on a stretch pass and score the tying goal.  I thought the Calgary pressure at that time might swing the game, but the Jackets hung in there, and slowly regained the upper hand in the game.  The Jackets controlled the last couple of minutes of the game, and really controlled the overtime, finally scoring the winner.

Columbus is 2-1 on the 3 road games so far on this trip.  Very acceptable.

Anisimov seemed more engaged tonight, moving up in the lineup to play for the injured Dubinsky.  Matt Calvert may return in the next game.  Love what I am seeing from Johansen.  Same from Murray.  Every time someone gets pressured it seems they throw a crappy pass at Murray, and low and behold, the puck gets settled, and a nice pass up the ice is the final result.  Nikitin had the best all round game he's had this year.  It was a good, workman-like, Jackets win.

On the second night of a back to back, I'm keeping my shift short.

Game Haiku:
Nikki 6 wins game
Good effort in Saddledome
On to Vancouver


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's Like Deja Vu All Over Again, Game 21: Edmonton

Sorry Sir, we're out of ammo!
I love that old Yogi Berra quote.  I wondered if it was going to be one of 'those' Edmonton games this evening.  Yup.  Sure was.  The Jackets got waxed, losing 7-0 to a motivated Edmonton squad.  Same old sad song I've heard these many years.  I think the TV announcers said we were 5-19 in Edmonton over the years.  That means Brad Marchant and Trevor Letowski were losing these kind of games in Edmonton all these years.  Yeah, and Nasher too.  It's part of our history.

This is just the way it was last year.  A CBJ team that was rolling came into Edmonton, and Atkinson, Anisimov, and Calvert scored like 3 goals against Edmonton but we still lost by 3.  The next night we beat a floundering Calgary squad, and got rolling again.  This is what happens in this game, year after year.

Edmonton fans, congratulations.  Your boys had it tonight.  Way to break that 6 game home losing streak tonight.  Good luck on that going forward.  You see, we won't be coming back to help you resurrect this momentum later on this season, we're in the Eastern Conference now.  However, we'll see you boys in Nationwide Arena on November 29 to see if you can duplicate the feat of playing Oilers hockey.

Because we sure played Oilers hockey tonight.  And tonight, I'd say Edmonton is about 7 goals better than the Jackets at Oilers hockey over a 60 minute time frame.  At one point in the second period the teams were literally skating laps.  I thought it looked like an ice rink.  I hate to break it to you folks, but if we try to skate with Edmonton, we don't do it as good as they do.  Seventh (7th) goal is after Derek McKenzie, whom I love, tries to race Edmonton back up the ice.  He falls down because he loses this race (naturally), the puck goes the other way, and they score.  The Jackets players tried to play like they were as skilled as Edmonton, instead of a defensive hockey club that can shut down their high flyers.

Just to clarify, Edmonton fans, Blue Jackets hockey is awkward, jerky, slow progression up the ice, fueled by poor (but getting better, except for tonight) passing.  Not smoothly skating laps like we were tonight.

Blue Jackets fans, good news.  Number one, we need to do better at Calgary tomorrow.  Everyone knows that. No shock.  We lost to Calgary opening night.  We need this game back.  We evened up the Ottawa game by winning on Sunday. We lost at home, but we won on the road, canceling the game out.  We need to cancel out that other Calgary game tomorrow.  Edmonton gets to see if they can do it later in November.  That's a home game we need to win (note to self, play Blue Jackets hockey!)

That's one of the things about this new schedule format. A lot of teams you play twice.  If something bad happens early, you try to cancel it out to remain .500.  Than you hope to take advantage of a few games along the way.  It's still early season chess.  But need to win tomorrow against an improved Calgary team.  It was easier last year.

Another thought I had was about how next year will be.  I'm pretty sure that Wennberg and Dano will be down at the AHL in Springfield.  In the face of the injuries, Chaput and Collins have come up.  This is important developmentally for them Chaput and Collins.  They'll go back down to the AHL better for the experience.  The haven't been bad, but they haven't really contributed on the offensive side much.  I wonder how different that situation is next year.

Anyway, one of those nights.  Now for some haiku.  Whoo boy!

Jackets wrister wide!
Edmonton rebound, skate, score!
Deja Vu once more

Another bad night in Edmonton, one of many.  Forget it and move on.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

So DBJ thinks he watched CBJ game 20: Ottawa

Columbus 4 - Ottawa 1
The Columbus Blue Jackets opened their week-plus Canadian road trip this afternoon with a 4-1 win against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre.

Yes, I watched a lot of this game.  No, I didn't watch all of it.  Reason being, I got caught flat-footed by the matinee start.  I had it in my mind that the game started at 7, and it started at 1.  Go figure.

Then there's the illness factor.  I've had a cold for a few days, and an evening at the arena didn't help things one bit.  So I've been a little loopy since Friday night.  That Canadiens game was on Friday, right?  And didn't today's game start at 7?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

So DBJ was at CBJ Game 19: Montreal

Montreal 3 - Columbus 2 (Shootout)
The Blue Jackets wrapped up their final home game for the next ten-plus days with a shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens, 3-2, at Nationwide Arena in front of an announced crowd of 11,562 (about 20-25% of whom were wearing Habs gear).

Long story short about the game: I sensed backsliding going on.  It's one thing to get a standings point in an overtime loss against the Bruins - a team that could just as well win the Stanley Cup this season - but it's another altogether to lose to a de facto .500 team in the Canadiens.  The team didn't have nearly as much focus and drive as they did last night.  In fact, this improbable CBJ scoring play pretty much encapsulates the night on the ice:

Nikita Nikitin flops like a seal on the ice, the puck dribbles around and Artem Anisimov - who's been a ghost for most of the season - gets the goal.  And wouldn't you know, Nikitin gets the assist.  Epic.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gallos' Musings about the 18th Game: Boston Bruins

No rant tonight folks.  Sorry.  The game hinged on a Cam Atkinson vs Milan Lucic match-up.  Lucic won it.  This is not a shock.  I love Cam, don't get me wrong, but I bet on Lucic in that match-up.  Cam tried to make a play, and I celebrate that. Heck, Anisimov ended up on the fourth line tonight cause he didn't take a shot from the high slot with no one in front of him and a clear shot at the goal but passed to a covered Gaborik on the wing instead which was really dumb, shoot the puck Arty!  So I understand where Cam was coming from.  The boys played well tonight, but lost to the Boston Bruins 3-2 in Overtime.  It is a typical Boston finish.  It's what they do, and it's why they are a good team.  If you want to beat them, you need to rise above this, but we join a long list of other teams that they have done this to, so give credit where it is due.

OK.  We are last in the Metro.  I figure I should be upset about that, but I'm not.  With the exception of the Rangers game, I have seen them beaten by good teams.  Not to dis the Rangers, its just we didn't play that game, and neither did they.  We made the Bruins play their game.  We played our game pretty effectively.  The Bruins game consists of sticking the dagger in your heart late, and they played that to a 'T'.  The Bruins play a very mature game, the CBJ's game is growing.  That said, we took them out of their game several times with hard offensive pressure,tonight in a good effort, but in the end....meh.  It's what it is right now.

This was a rich game for Ryan Murray.  Not that he didn't play well enough, but he was getting stretched.  Cool to watch him handling that.  Hey folks, there will be days when it don't work for him, but by and large he's already one of our best defensemen.  If he stays healthy, he may be a special player.  If so, there is nothing to do but enjoy his growth process at this point.  Some days it won't work.  That's what growth is.  So far though, he seems to avoid it not working.

Same with Johansen.  You can see these guys growing, day by day.  It is fun to watch.

I felt that the team got a big lift by the return of Nick Foligno.  He played well tonight, scoring a goal.  By the time the second period rolled around, Todd Richards was taking advantage of the flexibility having Foligno gave him.  During that period he ultimately had Umberger and Anisimov on Boll's line, because other people were outplaying them.  Funny how their play picked up as the game went on.

As I wandered past her between periods, sighing that the CBJ were in last in the Metro, Mrs. Gallos observed 'That's when they do some of their best work'.  She's got a point.  This season won't end early on these guys this year, and reinforcements are on the way.  Jenner, Calvert, and Horton are all moving on to the near term horizon.  Chipping away point by point at this juncture doesn't bury us.

So win at home tomorrow, eh?

Game haiku:
Cam versus Lucic
The game is on his stick, shot!
Block, rebound, goal, game.

Beat the Habs tomorrow!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Night on Friday

It was bound to happen.  Seriously, this should be neat.  Please tune in and let us know what you think!


Blue Jackets night

COLUMBUS, OH -- FOX Sports Ohio is excited to announce the Columbus Blue Jackets game telecast this Friday, November 15th will be Night. When the Jackets host the Montreal Canadiens at Nationwide Arena this Friday, FOX Sports Ohio's broadcast will highlight's Jackets coverage and reporting team.

Tune in to Blue Jackets Live pregame show at 6:30pm, where co-hosts Dan Kamal and Brian Giesenschlag will introduce the writers behind's CBJ coverage, Rick Gethin, Alison Lukan, and Tom Fellrath.

Viewers can visit to "Ask the Experts" and submit questions for FOX Sports Ohio broadcasters Bill Davidge, Jeff Rimer, and Kamal. After the puck drops at 7:00pm, questions will be answered live during the game.

Throughout the game, viewers can also interact with the team on Twitter using the hashtag #FSOCBJ.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

So DBJ watched CBJ Game 17: Washington

Washington 4 - Columbus 3 (OT)
The Columbus Blue Jackets looked to continue their post-slump rebound in Washington DC's Chinatown and did a falling to the host Washington Capitals, 4-3, in overtime.

I swear, I don't get this club.  When I think that they looked OK, the postgame interviews use words like "disappointing" and "embarrassing".  When I think they looked like Ice Capades, they talk about how hard they worked.  Guess I still have a lot to learn about this sport, even as I've been following the team for six or seven years now.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the CBJ are now tied for last place in the Metropolitan Division.  That would put anyone in a bad mood.

Anyway, here's my quickie take.  The first period was more or less played tightly.  It loosened up in the second with the perfect yin-yang of exchanged goals.  First, Mark Letestu and Brandon Dubinsky had this absolute beauty:

I love that goal.  Letestu flips it up onto the glass behind Holtby.  Dubinsky grabs it and pulls it around to the front of the net.  He rides through the crease, forcing Holtby to commit and then gently deposits it behind Holtby for the shortie.  Gorgeous work, from setup through completion.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Morgan's thoughts on Game 16: CBJ vs that other metro NYC team

Blue Jackets - 5 ; The team that thought Mike Milbury wasn't
the worst GM in the history of hockey - 2.

The Blue Jackets played host to the New York Islanders at Nationwide Arena tonight.  The Jackets were nestled in the thralls of a 5 game losing streak.  Coaches were dropping gloves, fans were crying for Prospal, leaders dropped subtweets.  It was a very awkward two days since Columbus played the New York Blue Jackets and a 5-2 win against the wandering Islanders is exactly what the Jackets needed to make twitter bearable once again.  #Vinning

It was also military appreciation night at Nationwide Arena.  This was a special night for me as I was at the game with my dad, a purple heart recipient who still struggles to talk about his military service decades removed from action.  This country wastes a lot of time trying to make amends for it's shortcomings of the past.  Military appreciation night is one of the things this country does right.  For my dad, his time in the service and intelligence community was the ugly parts of a Rambo movie and an Ian Fleming novel mixed together.  Special Nights like this help him heal a little bit.  When he returned home from hell 40 years ago, he was not welcomed with yellow ribbons or hugs on the runaway.  He was spit on and slapped across the face in airports.  Nights like tonight are not only for the brave men and women currently in service for this country, they are also 'wink and nod' apologies to those who served in the armed forces when it was less than popular to do so.  Thanks Dad for all you did and all you've taught me.  Wow, that got heavy... let's get back to Blue Jackets hockey.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

DBJ thought he watched CBJ Game 15: New York Rangers

New York Rangers 4 - Columbus 2
The Columbus Blue Jackets slide hit five games tonight as they lost to the New York Rangers, 4-2, in regulation.  They're now 5-10-0, with 10 standings points.  That's one more standings point than the NHL laughingstock Philadelphia Flyers.

Hey Jarmo! You Didn't Re-Sign Our Top Scorer!! Game 15: Rangers

Seriously Jarmo.  You didn't re-sign Prospal, even though he was our top scorer.  So this one's on you brother.  As a season ticket holder, I am so pissed off I can't even see straight.  You brought in Gaborik.  He's yours.  Three (3) shots in 2 games, 36 minutes of ice time.  He's being paid star money.  That's not star production.  DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!! Karlsson took 7 in one game on Tuesday, and he's a doggone defenseman!.  Richie!  You control the ice time.  How bout some nachos for some of these guys.  Benching the Wookie (Prout) so Johnson can't clear Callaghan out of the crease on the PK doesn't seem right.

Dan Hinote.  Yeah, you.  I'm talking to you.  Keith Acton had the PK last year and it was great.  What's your role?  Is this your program?  It's not getting it done.  If you don't have veins popping out of your forehead when they practice the PK, you won't be long in this league.  The same players are bad on the PK this year that were good on the PK last year.  That's on you.  If it doesn't make you stay up at night, it should start now.  This team's keeping me up, as a fan, for all the wrong reasons.

The Rangers came in here and played a fraction of the game that they played against the Penguins last night.  Callaghan doesn't interfere with the goal tender, but does the best Tomas Holmstrom imitation I've seen this year, and the Rangers come away with a power play goal.  Letestu puts an unfortunate own goal past Bob, and that's all they need.

I loved Ryan Murray's goal after the Letestu own goal.  I swear he put it through the pipe.  When this kid gets pissed, he shoots the puck HARD.  That made me feel good.  He's still a rookie, and makes mistakes, which I can forgive.  He's got all the right stuff.  Go Murray, go.  As a snarky, grumpy old man, I totally appreciate what you are doing.  Let it flow kid, and don't pay attention to any of that crap above.  That's reserved for the veterans, who are not performing at your level.  Jack Johnson. <cough>

Grandma, you owe me big for this not being an expletive laced rant.  But ground rules are ground rules.  But you owe me adult beverages, and I mean plural.  Because I am pissed off about this game.  If last night's Rangers would have come in here I would have said they earned the game.  We let them skate by with a fraction, a win, and a dramatically lessened playoff opportunity in a mediocre Metro Division.

Jarmo, this one's on you.  You tried to fix something that wasn't broke at the trade deadline.  We nearly succeeded in spite of that last year.  But what you bought to fix the problem is even worse.  It's on you from here brother.  Fix it or wear it.  I'll be watching.  Because I'm an STH, and I damn well care.

I think the players do to.  I think they care, and I think they try.  Well, maybe except Gaborik, who should be playing in the slot, but wants to play on the boards.  We had Dorsett to play on the boards.  We don't need Gaborik on the boards, because he routinely loses those battles.  We don't need him in the crease.  That's Boone's job when he returns.  The slot should be his territory, and when he is there, he passes instead of shooting.  So fix it Jarmo.

Rant complete.  Carry on.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dubinsky's interviews tell the story

Gallos ably summarizes last night's interpretative hockey-ish performance by the Columbus Blue Jackets, and I pretty much agree with everything he says, so I won't belabor his points.

Instead, I'm going to focus on something that really caught my eye: Brandon Dubinsky's post-game interview on FOX Sports Ohio's "Blue Jackets Live Postgame".  Dubinsky appears to be widely acknowledged as the team's de facto captain, so I take his comments very seriously and appreciate that FSO makes a point of including him in the postgame interviews.  Not only is he an articulate, quotable guy, but his position within the locker room gives me a bit of a barometer sense as to the roster itself.

Brandon Dubinsky's interviews have proven to be "the tell"
as to where the Blue Jackets' collective head is at this season.
If you didn't know, I'm married to a lawyer - one who spends most of her time in litigation matters.  (Litigation, for those who don't know, is the art of actually trying a case, in a courtroom, in front of a judge and.sometimes a jury.)  She's rather good at her craft.  One of the things she's done over the years is develop an insight into human behavior in interview situations.  Whether a potential juror getting screened as to their fitness to sit on a jury or whether a witness on the stand, she looks for cues and hints from voice, body language and eye movement as to what the person is really thinking when they're saying something.  As in, "He's saying that he firmly believes the defendant was in the wrong but can't stop looking at his shoes.  Either he's scared, shy or lying through his teeth."  That type of stuff.  It's a fascinating field of study, one that often makes me think she's looking deep into my soul when I'm sugar-coating how a rough day was.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gallos' Stifles a Rant on Game 14: Otttawa Senators

Three goals in three games.  Not enough to get it done kids.  Tonight the Columbus Blue Jackets fell to the Ottawa Senators, 4-1, the final margin being augmented by an empty net goal.  Simply put, when the Ottawa Senators snipers shot, they went top shelf corner.  When the CBJ snipers, and I use this term very loosely, shot, they either put it on the glass, in the netting and out of play, or in the goalie's chest.  Marion Gaborik was a non-entity tonight.  Two lousy shots in 19 minutes of ice time, the one beautiful chance he had, he put the goalie down, then held the puck for so long the defenseman recovered and blocked his shot on an empty net.  Pick up the phone Jarmo.  This isn't working. And for God's sake get Cam Atkinson off of his line right now! He's ruining the kid's game.  Cam played a north/south game last year on a bum ankle.  This year he's a confirmed east/west man.  I can't believe the stats say he had 3 shots.   I am here to say right now that the Cam at left wing experiment is a failure.  Pull the plug.

Oh, wait.  I'm stifling the rant.  Sorry.  <cough>

It's early in the year.  Lot's of games to played yet.  Sure we're squandering a home stand, and the team we face next, the Rangers, had a horrific start on a 9 game road trip, but has more points than we do.  No big deal.  Not time to hit the panic button yet.  He said through gritted teeth.

And another thing!  Whoever said RJ was any good at right wing?!  Theoretically, he can play center and right wing, if you are willing to tolerate abysmal, sub standard play.  If you want any production out of Umberger, you better play him at left wing.  So can we flip RJ and Cam, like, now?!

A couple of things I see that I really like.  While all of a sudden this year is threatening to head right into the tank, inch by inch, step by step, Ryan Johansen is turning into a dominant player.  The dude is just plain hard to stop right now.  A couple of times tonight I saw guys try to move him, and just get stuffed.  And one puck he just made a power move to the net, got a shot and a couple of whacks at the rebound.  He was a force tonight in a losing effort.  If he didn't have Roberto Duran Umberger (hands of stone) on his line, something might have happened.

The other is Ryan Murray.  The kid keeps getting better every game, and he is starting to shoot the puck with authority.  This is gonna come together for him.  Barring injury, he has a real good chance of being an excellent defenseman.  Yeah, Karlsson went wide on him, and put a laser in on McElhinney, top shelf corner. Some might call that a soft goal, I call it a heck of a shot that put Ottawa on the board.  And there was another goal on a broken play, then a man all alone in the slot that McElhinney had no chance on.  But he gets better every game.

I don't mind them getting zipped by the Pens so much.  That's a pretty good team.  Ottawa has a pretty good team too.  But it ain't getting any easier, and this is getting ready to spiral out of control, with a west coast road trip looming.  If they don't make hay while the sun shines in Nationwide over the next few games, it might get pretty gloomy on the 2013-14 season before Horton has a chance to affect it.

I'm not saying the season is over, but we are teetering on firming up a 'bad start', which must be recovered from.  It can happen.  But I wonder if it will.

Game Haiku:
Ottawa snipes goals
Jackets snipe defensive shins
Time to panic yet?

Ahhh, I'm just too frustrated after this game to think straight.  After 6 periods of scoreless hockey, and the one goal being scored on an off speed shot from his knees by RJ, I'm not seeing the firepower necessary to succeed in this league, much less the Eastern Conference.  Could be dark days ahead if they don't start scoring.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Wash, rinse, repeat.

WHAT TYPE OF COACH DID HE INHERIT One who employed a defense-first philosophy One who employed a defense-first philosophy
WHAT HE DID AFTER ARRIVING IN TOWN Tinkered with the inherited roster. Squeezed a playoff appearance out of it, but the team didn't win a playoff game. Tinkered with the inherited roster.  Came within a tiebreaker of squeezing a playoff appearance out of it.
WHAT HE DID IN THE FOLLOWING OFFSEASON Jettisoned older "role model" players.  Threw his lot in with younger, arguably more skilled players in the pursuit of a different, more aggressive, on-ice profile. Jettisoned older "role model" players. Threw his lot in with younger, arguably more skilled players in the pursuit of a different, more aggressive, on-ice profile.
WHAT HAPPENED THE FOLLOWING SEASON Roster looked lost and apathetic on the ice. Roster looked lost and apathetic on the ice.

We know how the first story ended: Scott Howson fired Ken Hitchcock, and things didn't get much better.  What will Jarmo do?

Gallos' Thoughts on Game 13: Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins shut out the Blue Jackets last night, 3-0 before a crowd that was probably half Pittsburgh fans.  In the game, the Blue Jackets accomplished part of what they wanted to do, which was keep the Penguins from tearing them up in transition.  They clogged the neutral zone, and kept the Pens transition game in check.  This however, did not prevent the Penguins from getting behind the defensive coverage a couple of times, which resulted in goals, one an own-goal, captioned by an empty netter at the end.

The Jackets' emphasis on clogging the neutral zone also stifled their own offense, and any sustained offensive pressure was usually derailed by the Jackets desire to make pretty east-west passes instead of shooting at the rookie goaltender at any opportunity.  This allowed the Pittsburgh defense to keep the puck in front of them, and sent the CBJ scurrying back to the neutral zone.  While the Pens rookie goal tender earned his first shut out, my buddy Bill remarked that a chair placed in goal would have probably fared the same.  He was not seriously tested by the Jackets.

The highlight of the night was the announcement that the All-Star Game would be coming to Columbus in January of 2015.  It will have been 3 years since the last event of this nature, which should bring a freshness to the proceedings.  I'm looking forward to it.

All in all, it would have been highly desirable to not be swept by the Pens.  On the other hand, they showed why they were the prohibitive cup favorites last year.  We are not in a race with this team, they already have the Metro won.  The rest of the Metro remains in reach.  As long as we can keep it that way until Christmas, when reinforcements arrive, we should be in OK shape for a playoff run.

Game Haiku:
The Pens gain shut out
The Jackets gain All-Star Game
The Metro is a mess


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Adam Foote's Other Legacy

Tonight, the Colorado Avalanche will retire Adam Foote's jersey, in Columbus, not so much.  In Columbus, Foote left behind a legacy of 'me first', a Captain forcing his way out of town because that meany Hitchcock was actually forcing him to take responsibility for the room.  The wife didn't like Columbus, Hitch was making them work for their money, and a budding playoff run is snuffed out in a cloud of kerosene fumes from the waiting private jet that whisked Foote back to Colorado (via Minnesota I believe).  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Morgan's thoughts on Game 12: The Pittsburgh Penguins

Fans of distinction
"You don't win many ball games scoring one run" - Joseph Albert Langworthy, Jr.

Yes, the Blue Jackets lost 4-2 to the Penguins, but the second goal came with 45 seconds left in the game when the Pens where thinking about post-game quickies between the arena and the airport.  But you get the idea planted in my head by Grandpa Joe.

Seems as if the crew here at Dark Blue Jacket has found a new way to drive traffic to this site - suggest that the Penguins or their fans aren't the best things to walk the face of the earth - and the Pens fans will go crazy.  Sure, being interviewed by the New York Times and being featured on Puck Daddy is a fun and rewarding piece of being part of the Dark Blue Jacket team.  But dear lord, so is snorting from laughter reading the Penguins fan's reactions to our well-adjusted and yet sometimes unpopular opinions.  Never change Penguins fans, never change.  Alas, the good times and noodle salad ended there.  The Penguins are a skilled hockey team that need little time to score...

East Hatred: Pittsburgh Penguins

They day is *FINALLY* here!!!

It's time to get our hate on for the Pittsburgh Penguins. And more importantly, their bandwagon jumping, front running fans. "We do not bandwagon jump here in Pittsburgh!" say the Pittsburgh fans currently clad head to toe in Pirates gear.

Any Pens fan can recall the 1990-91 and 91-92 seasons, and why wouldn't they? To be fair, any team's fans will remember the first time their team won a Stanley Cup. (Except for Blews fans! HAHAHAHAHA!!)  But try this, ask a Pens fan to name 3 players on those two Cup winning teams, it'll go like this...

"Mario!! Jagr!! And...and..."

It's fun, try it. Maybe you'll get lucky and you'll get a Pens fan that can remember such marginal players as Ron Francis, Bryan Trottier, Joey Mullen, or Tom Barrasso. Odds are not in your favor, though.

OK, those teams are 22 years ago, so try it with the more recent 2009 Cup winning roster. Once again, ask your Life Long Penguins Fan friend to name 3 players on the team that won the Cup just 5 seasons ago. It'll go like this...

"Crosby!! Malkin!! And...and..."

You can try and help. "Gonchar?" [blank stare]

"Guerin?" [slight squinting]

"Letang?" [You know that head-tilt thing a puppy does when confused? That.]

Jumping on the bandwagon is the easy part, but when Pens fans get off the bandwagon, oh my does it empty in a hurry. Mario retires: Bandwagon empties. Mario unretires: Bandwagon full. Mario retires again: Bandwagon empty. Pens rack up 58 points 2 seasons in a row: Bandwagon has all seats available. [Lockout] Pens benefit from fixed draft lottery to save the team: a couple people hop on board, one of which is Jim Balsillie.

There's a little something most Pens fans have forgotten about with their recent winning (and packed bandwagon). The Pens were the first target for Balsillie to purchase and move to Hamilton...and it wasn't because of the Pens winning ways at the time. They were about to be let go cheap.

Let's fast forward to this season for a little more fickleness, after dropping 3 games it was time to fire Blysma. Yup, sitting on top of the East at the time after opening the season 7-1, the Men of the Monongahela lost 3 straight games and it's time to fire the coach. Maybe it's a Pennsylvania thing?

What about the Jackets history with the Pens, their fans, and the bandwagon?

We can start way back in year 1 of our wonderful franchise and the Pens first visit on February 17, 2001. The day the schedule was announced, Jacket message boards were filled with Pens fans looking for tickets on February 17. Remember: Mario had just unretired, so the bandwagon was near maximum capacity. The game turned out to be a pretty good one, too. Mario played (something we as Jacket fans missed with Gretzky) and the Pens pulled it out in OT. Ask one of the Pens fans who attended the game - there are probably about 24,326 Pens fans who claim to have been there to see Mario in person - and they'll recall it as a blow out where the Pens just had their way with the upstart Jackets.

What Jacket fans should remember about that game: It was the NHL debut for one Jody Shelley. If you recall, the very stable and lovable Krzysztof Oliwa was shipped out of Columbus earlier that year and was returning as a member of the Penguins. Jody made his one and only appearance as a Blue Jacket that year, racking up 1:33 in ice time and 10 minutes in the box. But he most decidedly did the job he was called up to do.

More recent history will have Jackets fan recalling the debacle on Dec 4th, 2010. Just one season removed from winning the Cup, the Pens bandwagon was completely full. 87 and 71 jerseys couldn't stay on the shelves. The bandwagon pulled up in front of Nationwide arena that night and the Pens fans basically took over. Zamboni rides, chanting in the stands, and a 7-2 ass whipping made it a really painful night for the Columbus faithful. If memories of that evening don't start the bile rising in Jacket fans' throats, nothing will.

Outside of those two games there really has been very little excitement with the Pens and their fans here in Columbus. Why? Mainly because the years in between the Jackets either won the home games or the Pens had no fans because they weren't winning at the time. It was a lot harder to find a Life Long Pens Fan in 2002. It was also a lot harder to have Pens fans in the building when the Pens didn't visit between December 2002 and January 2006. (Wow, not visiting for over three years? Who do they think they are? The Maple Leafs??)

Enjoy the back-to-back games, Jackets Fan. And pray for a win on Saturday because the Pens bandwagon is full and we can't fill our own barn this season, so there will be a mess of 87 and 71 jerseys in Nationwide. If you see a Pens fan in a 58 jersey, shake his or her hand, they are probably an actual hockey fan.