Thursday, February 27, 2014

So DBJ watched CBJ Game 59: New Jersey

New Jersey 5 - Columbus 2
In their first game back after a three-ish week Olympic break, the Columbus Blue Jackets fell flat on their faces coming out of the gate.  The CBJ gave up three straight goals to start the game (including two power play goals, indicative of the penalty problems that accompanied the unforgivable defensive lapses) and spent the rest of the game trying to get back into it against one of the best defensive teams in the NHL.  Didn't happen, and the Devils won, 5-3.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Oh well.

That tweet went out right after the United States lost to Canada in the men's ice hockey semi-finals in Sochi Winter Olympics.

Permit me to come clean. I really, really, really don't like the idea of professional athletes in the Olympics.  I totally understand why it happened, what with the six TOTAL medals coming out of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics and the Steinbrenner Commission's ensuing "Just WIN, baby" report that led to The Dream Team in Barcelona in 1992 and the IIHF (slowly) following suit with NHL players in 2002's Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.  It's gone on from there and, I presume, won't stop even though the owners are increasingly incensed that they can't make a buck off of the Olympics beyond tie-in events like the forthcoming Stadium Series game at Soldier Field between the Blackhawks and Penguins (which I understand from this link also ties in with Hockey Weekend Across America - who knew?).

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2018 Winter Olympics or 2016 World Cup of Hockey?

American hero?
A funny thing happened on the way to the Rbar on Saturday morning.  With DKM Hockey T-shirts in tow, I arrived at the Front Street entrance of the Rbar at 7:30am - and was met by a bouncer who said the Rbar was at capacity.  The bar was on "one-and-one" status which meant if one person left the bar, one person could enter.  The RBar was PACKED with people watching the USA vs Soviet Union Russia hockey game.  I was a little bit baffled by the crowd size, given my attendance to previous viewing parties.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Glass Bangers: Olympic version, 1.0

When last I left this space it was late at night, and the Olympic break had begun.  The Jackets had completed the three game road trip through death valley recording 3 points with a win, a loss, and an overtime loss against the Ducks, Sharks, and Kings respectively.  Unfortunately Philly came out of this trip with 4 points, as well as winning their last two home games against Colorado and Calgary.  That leaves the CBJ out of the playoff picture for now, and looking in.  I am not really sure how I feel about that, and have been unable to string together some coherent thought on the issue.  I'd much rather be in, but sitting one point out of a wild card slot we are definitely in the conversation.  I suppose it will be easier to get rolling after the break if we are chasing something, so maybe in the long run I'll feel better about this position.  The good news is that we control our own destiny.  Win and we're in.  If you were going to put together a 19-5-5 run like last year, now would be a good time to do it.  Which would a be a real trick since there are only 24 games remaining.  But you know what I mean.  Hopefully they can find a sense of urgency early.  But, it is going to be fun, that's for sure.  Lots of cheers and tears left in this season.  I'm looking forward to it.

In keeping with the random nature of a Glass Bangers post, I'd like to talk about Doug MacLean.  Why?  Well because it's random, first of all.  Second, the John Davidson interview post that the DBJ put up reminded me of this issue.  They talked about JD's role in building the brand and all that.  Well anyway, I have a buddy that lives down in Vinton County.  Smart guy, been to a few games with me, knows where I am at with this team.  Here's a funny thing.  When I mention Doug MacLean, he knows who I am talking about.  So I asked him if he knew JD.  No, he didn't.  Why you ask?  He's only an hour and a half away?  He's tuned into the CBJ, he would listen if he had a chance.  The people in Athens are even closer, but they are in the same boat.  Why?  Because that is Penguins territory.  They have all the people in southeast Ohio tuned into the West Virginia TV stations.  So when JD says 'C'mon down to the Arena folks!' these Ohioans don't see it.  But Time Warner and Fox are big sponsors.  Ain't it time somebody does sumpin'?!?

Which brings me to Gaborik.  What a shame that he couldn't play in the Olympics.  It leaves him in a 'now what' situation, along with the organization.  With only 3 or 4 days to the trade deadline after the Olympic break, Gaborik would need to score at a hat trick per game pace to bring anything worth a darn in trade.  And to me, there is no sense in trading him for a sixth round pick.  You paid 2 first round picks and a player for him.  There is no way you are going to get that kind of return with his injury history what it is.  So I say we keep him.  According to the boys over on Cannon Fodder, he has tripped a clause in the CBA which makes him eligible for an incentive contract next year.  And, this is the type of player you might trade for at the deadline.  So keep him, and see if he pots 10 or so goals down the stretch.  That might be pretty valuable.  Plus he puts pressure on the lineup from the top, so that everyone is motivated to perform.  So sign him to a one or two year incentive contract so he can prove to the league he can still play.  That will allow him to get what he wants out of free agency, and by that time we'll have number one picks banging on the door looking for ice time.  I don't think we have a lot to lose at this point.

How about that Japanese ladies hockey team.  The scored their first goal in the Olympic tournament in 16 years.  Remind me to re-calibrate how I feel about a good effort in a loss.  Whew.  Good for them.

The men's Olympic tournament starts soon.  Sorry, but I just don't identify with this US team.  There is no connection for me, and a number of the players I loathe for good reason.  I'm having a hard time turning that off.  It won't be that hard if they are playing Canada.  But when they are playing Russia, I don't know....  Maybe having the league back out of the Olympics is a good thing after this one.  That way I could go back to unabashed adoration of the USA team.

Cable was out on Sunday, someone took out a pole.  Son of a gun if the USA didn't win at Lake Placid again.  Seems like that movie always ends the same way!!

Ride the cold folks, and stay warm.  March will come in like a lion, with Blue Jackets games galore in a stretch run to the playoffs!!


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Channel 10 interview with John Davidson

Presented on-air tonight, here's the extended version (thanks to Rob Kunz for making the world aware):
Davidson clearly is in his element as the to keep himself at 10,000 feet where he excelled as a TV commentator. Truth be told, this interview makes me think that interviewing Jarmo Kekalainen would be more insightful. Davidson's fun, but there's a level of granularity that I crave and Davidson can't/won't deliver. But don't let that comment deter from my appreciation for the interview. Davidson's a "team president" and carries himself as such.

Kudos to Beau Bishop for the interview, and to Channel 10 for doing its duty as a sports journalism center and giving the Blue Jackets the in-depth look that a major league franchise deserves.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Game 58: San Jose; Not Quite What You Wanted

That was a son-in-law game.  Not quite what you wanted.  <old golf joke>.  The San Jose Sharks prevailed tonight over the Columbus Blue Jackets in a hard fought 3-2 game.  San Jose came out flying against a tired team, and tallied 2 goals in the first period that they clearly won.  The heroes in this story showed great resolve; Ryan Johansen quickly scored a goal in the second.  Unfortunately, several penalties prevented the Jackets from capitalizing further, in spite of increasing offensive pressure from the penalty kill.  Matt Calvert, I'm talkin' to you.  In the third period the Sharks applied maximum pressure for a long shift and finally scored a very greasy goal on the equipment littered ice.  What can you say?  It was a good greasy goal.  So was Boone Jenner's first one which was waved off, but that's a different story.  Jenner got it back in the third period when Johansen made a sick between the legs feed to Horton, who corralled the puck enough to allow Jenner to one-time it in.  But that left the Jackets trailing 3-2, and San Jose kept the pedal down and prevailed.  San Jose definitely earned the win with hard work.  The Jackets worked hard, never gave up, but still came out short.  It was a fun game to watch.

As a fan, I am content.  No six pack tonight.  I really want to think about this.  

Youngsters play strong game,
Blue Jackets first goal achieved
Future play, our fate


Friday, February 7, 2014

Game 56: LA Kings Jackets win sorta

The Columbus Blue Jackets prevail in the season series against LA, taking 3 of a total of 5 points in their two game series.  In a good road game, in which LA gave our young players their first taste of real playoff hockey, the kids were resilient.  The game score was a 2-1 OT loss to the Kings  The Jackets came out steaming, drew a penalty, and surprised Jonathan Quick on the power play to go up 1-0.  In a duplication of the game late last year, the Jackets were unable to solve Quick again (Prout got the goal last year).  To the plus side, the Jackets took the Kings to OT before they yielded to LA's pressure.

The CBJ only got one goal in the period they dominated, the first.  LA got their goon on to get themselves motivated, then played like a team 1 year removed from a cup run.  They kept turning up the pressure, and eventually got a couple of goals through.  But I see this as a development game from for our young players.  Experience makes a difference, and now they know what playoff intensity looks like.  This is a level they have to be able to rise to consistently, to do so is a part of a continuing development of this team.  I do feel this was a good game by the CBJ, a very strong effort.  They need to translate those kinds of efforts into wins down the stretch to make the playoffs.  Easy to say....

Another rich game tomorrow night against the Sharks.
1. My first CBJ beer for tonight goes to James Wisniewski.  This was a gut it out game for Wiz, getting his foot into his boot a few minutes before the game.  Blocks two shots in succession on the same foot in a late power play.  Then he keeps skating.  Good work tonight Wiz.

2.  My second CBJ beer goes to Bobrovsky, of course.  To get there you need your goal tender to be tough, and Bob really battled hard in the second period to keep a 1-0 lead coming into the third period.  In a repeat of last years game, the Kings were able to ratchet up enough pressure to score a 4 on 4 goal, as they forced Bob to break positional discipline.  Muzzin made a nice play after a good feed by Kopitar to beat Bob in the 5 hole, and the game was tied.  Again, in OT, Bob gets beat in a 4 on 4, but he played a very, very stout game, and milked a single early goal into a point.   Nice work on the road Bob.

3.  My third CBJ beer goes to Ryan Johansen's continuing development.  I think tonight Joey's first real taste of playoff intensity as 'the man', and he got knocked off his game a few times in the third period.  Once I saw him with this ?WTF? expression from a really physical, borderline dirty, play by a Kings defensemen, but as the play continued he got his butt back down the ice into the defensive zone where he made a play.  So now he knows what to expect, and he gets a chance to process that information and perhaps respond differently next time.  Good stuff.

4. My fourth CBJ beer goes to Jack Johnson, for assuming the role of stalwart vs the role of star.  My voice is a cry in the wilderness to the fancy stats community, alas.  I think Jack Johnson's defensive statistics over the last 15 games based on CORSI numbers differ significantly from his career mean performance by virtue of the fact that he has changed his style of play into a more defensively responsible style.  So until you produce the numbers to prove me wrong, I am right.  I love poetic license.  Nice work tonight Jack, chiming in with a power play goal to provide the goal needed to obtain a point.  This power play looked really good, and capitalized on an opportunity.  That was the only one the Kings would give them.

5.  My fifth CBJ beer goes to us, the fans.  This whole Metro playoff race is insanely fun.  I like this team, what they bring to the ice.  It is a good group, and worthy of our support.  The funny thing about this team, is that in some way, shape, or form, the return of Marian Gaborik down the stretch will push RJ Umberger down to the fourth line.  RJ, Letestu, and MacKenzie form a formidable fourth line for a stretch run.  Gaborik will need to match RJs intensity on a line with Anismov and Foligno, but there were a couple of times tonight when RJs hustle put him in a critical spot only to mishandle the puck.  Gaborik is unlikely to exhibit the same tendancies, but is not as likely to play a defensively responsible game (I feel like Hitchcock just seized control of my mind for a moment)..  But realistically, Gaborik is Gaborik and is it wise to expect that from him?  Yet that's what Gaborik needs to do on his return in order to earn a contract offer.  Why trade this guy? We already know we can win without him.  Yes we gave up assets, but we have those in the pipeline as well.  So take a risk of letting him go to free agency, integrate him to this group of players, and see if he can't mesh, yet score a bucket load of goals down the stretch.  Then you have a chance to sign him to an incentive based contract.  And as fans, you gotta love that.

6.  My sixth CBJ beer goes to us, the bloggers and the readers.  This is the 1500th post on this blog, which is a testament to our ability to go on and on about seemingly important yet not exactly precise discussions of our passion for and about the game of hockey, and specifically that of the CBJ to whom we follow.  <gasp>  It's been said that I have a bit of a problem with rambling on and on and ... but how else do you get to 1500?  Anyway, its been fun.  Which is why we do it.  Thanks for reading, and especially for taking the time to comment.  That keeps it really fun!

A development game for the CBJ tonight, in which they exhibited steady progress compared to similar conditions last year.  The Kings didn't hold anything back, yet this my be a Phyrric victory for LA, because of the potential for their Captain Dustin Brown to draw a lengthy suspension for his conduct during the game.  Could that determine the Kings fate in a competitive Western Conference playoff chase?  Or not.  The Kings like to annoy you that way.  But Johansen, Jenner and Murray have now tasted it.  These guys all have something more in their development that will allow them to find a way to respond to this type of challenge in the future.  I wonder about how this team, playing this way, matches up against the Pens?  That would tell us how much progress they have made.

Its late.   The Jackets lost, but they won the long term battle.  Instead of needing a win tomorrow against San Jose to stay in playoff position, they only need a tie.  Of course a win might put them in second place in the conference going into the Olympic break.  Meh.  That position is irrelevant.   They are in it the rest of the way at this point.  What more could one ask for?


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Game 56: Duck Hunting

That was a big one!  The Columbus Blue Jackets beat the best team in the NHL tonight, prevailing on the road against the Anaheim Ducks 4-2.  Two HUGE points on the road.  The CBJ got a goal in each of the first and the second periods and then answered a Ducks goal in the third.  With the score 3-1, the Ducks had a melt down moment, collecting a high stick, a cross check, and a delay of game penalty simultaneously.  On the ensuing 5 on 3, the CBJ finally converted to make it 4-1, and for all intents and purposes putting the game away.  That is not to say that there weren't some sphincter clenching moments down the stretch, but the CBJ finished off with the 4-2 win.

The CBJ have now matched the point total that teams making the 3 game Death Valley swing have achieved.   Anything else that they achieve on this trip is gravy.  Philly beats San Jose to set a new Death Valley standard of winning two games.  The Jackets have more work to do out West if they want to keep pace.  Fending off other Metro challengers for another night, the CBJ retain their third place playoff position spot.  Now two days off to rest, which may change that.  But a really good effort by the boys on a western road swing.
1.  Tonight's first, ice cold CBJ beer goes to Sergei Bobrovsky.  Bob was extremely sharp tonight, and made some GREAT saves to maintain the Jackets' early 1 goal lead.  Very good stuff.  In a game that was characterized by effort throughout the lineup, Bob was working very hard, never giving up.  He made an amazing second effort glove save on Winnik who couldn't believe he didn't score.  The difference between an average team and a playoff team is the goal tender making those saves that you would normally categorize as 'well, he had no chance..".  Bob is doing that now.

2. My second, ice cold, sumptuous CBJ beer goes to the Jenner, Johansen, and Horton line.  Umm.  Wow.  The first goal came on a really sick play.  Horton dishes the puck up to Jenner coming down the wing.  He keeps his feet moving on a 'give an go'.  Jenner likewise keeps his feet moving to set up the second 'give and go', and Horton has the puck on his stick looking at a wide open Jenner crashing the net.   With alarm bells ringing in their heads, the Anaheim defense collapses to Jenner's challenge.  The best part is that the third player on that line was keeping his feet moving as well, and is trailing Jenner.  Horton dishes the puck to the trailer for the one-timer, and Johansen has his 23rd goal of the season.  Smart hockey, dripping 'hockey sense'.  Nice work by this line, which is causing real match-up problems so far for other teams.  Richie just singled Boone Jenner out in his post game presser, and I agree.  Jenner is a freakin' rookie, but he plays so hard, and so smart.  We had good organizational discipline in leaving him in Juniors his full time which gave him an opportunity to be dominant offensively.  His stick has been way better than I thought it would be with him, and I think that is the fruit of that discipline.
Umbeak love!!

3.  I'm gonna send this third CBJ beer over to RJ Umberger, for playing a solid hockey game.  His assist to Foligno for the critical third goal was born of hard work and determination.  RJ still has the manos de piedra, but darn it, he is really working hard, and getting results.  His 'goal' a deflection of a Wisniewski shot from the point with his skate didn't require RJ to use his hands.  He was going hard to the net, in difficult traffic, and tips the puck in with the end of his skate.  RJ is having the 'bounce-back' season he needed to have this year.  Good on him.  Nice effort tonight RJ!

4.  I have to BOOOONNNNNEEEE!!  Boone Jenner just showed up on the NHL network arena cam interview after the game.  Good for him!!  <cough>  Sorry.  I think I was saying I was going to give this ice cold, winning CBJ beer to Nick Foligno.  I'm not saying anything, but the team has been on fire ever since I bought my Foligno jersey.  But after going something like 10 games without a goal, Nick has 3 in 2 nights with the 2 he scored tonight.  The first of his goals was off the Umberger assist, and he was at the crease to pick up the rebound after the Umberger shot.  This was a huge goal, in that it restored the two goal lead in the third period, to keep thoughts of  'Carolina leads lost' at bay.  The fourth goal was equally important, as it meant cashing in on the power play (see beer 6).  Cam Atkinson found time and space in a 5 on 3, held the puck and then threaded the puck 5 hole on Anderson, the Ducks goalie, to where he knew Foligno was waiting to tap it in.  Cam got it to Foligno the only way possible, and Nick didn't let him down.

5.  My fifth cold, delicious, CBJ beer goes to the defensive pairing of Jack Johnson and Fedor Tyutin.  Over the last 12-15 games this pairing has started to emerge as a big time shut down pair.    First off, I believe this is because of the leadership Fedor Tyutin provides, in his own quiet way.  Both Jack and Tyutin have their detractors, but this was the pairing the Richie was putting on the ice to counter Getzlaf and Perry.  Jack Johnson has typically been a fancy stats horror story, but I think he is playing a more disciplined and physical defensive game.  I wonder if his fancy stats from the last 15 games depart from his long term average?  Matt?  At any rate, this pairing has started to turn in some very good shifts against some very powerful opponents.  Very nice work tonight against a very good hockey club.

6.  I'm too much of a fan boy to give away beers to the opposition.  Sorry.  It's a character flaw that I've been nursing.  But I'd like to give this sixth, ice cold, savory, victorious CBJ beer to the Anaheim Ducks, for having a team melt down after Foligno scored the third goal.  This probably ultimately reflects a strength of the Anaheim on a bad night when they have 3 different players each take a penalty simultaneously.  A high sticking penalty, a cross check, and then 3 seconds later a delay of game, which had to wait for the other 2 penalties to be served before it could even start.  It got Beauchemin off the ice for 4 minutes in the last half of the third period.    Anyway, the Anaheim penalty killers did a good job, and it almost took the CBJ the full 2 minutes of 5 on 3 to score that last critical goal to keep the game out of reach.  Nice work boys!  It was a brain fart of cataclysmic proportions, but unlikely to be a long term problem for this hockey team.  But we don't have to play them anymore!

The good news from this game is that we canceled out an earlier home loss to this team, plus at a critical time in the season, and in the hot chase in the Metro and Eastern Conference.  The CBJ keep pace with Philly and Detroit tonight, as Philly becomes one of the first teams to record two wins in Death Valley.  (Now I have to go up and edit that first comment.  Sigh.

Here's a scary thing.  I listened to Nathan Horton give a post game interview.  He had the air of a man who was having his personal judgment of the situation ratified by his teammates.  He was pleased and confident that they had played a good game against a really good opponent.  But he didn't act like it was a fluke.  One of the great things about Horton is he doesn't have any of the considerable baggage of your average Blue Jackets fan.  He doesn't know about it, and doesn't care, he thinks they have a team that is capable of competing.  His expectations are different than your average CBJ fan, they are a lot higher.  This guy could be gold down the stretch.

Excellent effort tonight by the good guys.  A good team win by the CBJ!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Game 55: Panthers

Last night the Columbus Blue Jackets prevailed over the Florida Panthers 4-1, with more than 16k in attendance.  It was a loud and rambunctious barn, which was a good thing.  The CBJ did not have their 'A' game, but they had Bobrovsky.  Panthers fans are likely lamenting the failure to convert opportunities, because the times they had Bob hung out to dry, they typically missed the net with the shot.  In the second half of the first period, the Jenner, Johansen, Horton line took over and potted two tip in goals in less than 3  minutes.  The first, Boone Jenner's ninth goal of the season, was a tip in after Johansen pulled Tim Thomas out of the net, then slid the puck under his armpits (6 and 7 hole??) for the tip in.  For the second goal, Jenner pulled a wicked spin-o-rama and passed it to Johansen on the far post for the tip in.  Thomas had no chance.

Florida pushed back hard in the second, and had the CBJ chasing the puck.  Multiple icing plays had the fourth line caught on the ice, and even though Richie burned his time out, they couldn't get off the ice.  On the ensuing partial line change, Florida scored when Savard tipped the puck past Bobrovsky.  It happens.  But Nick Foligno finally got off the schneid with a laser from the top of the circles that somehow eluded Thomas, and trickled into the net to put the CBJ back up by 2.  In the third period the fourth line got the goal they surrendered back when Tropp and MacKenzie fed Letestu a beauty of a set up that he buried.  This vanquished any thoughts of a Carolina style come back by Florida, and set up the final score.  All that remained was for the players to come out and salute the fan base at the end of the game.  THAT was a fan base win, big time.  Nice touch at the end boys.
1.  My first CBJ beer of the game goes to Boone Jenner.  He has played very stout hockey these last couple of games, and other teams haven't liked it.  Plus, he's doing a good job of finishing his chances.  Sitting at 9 goals, he is poised to become the 7th player on the team in double digit goals.  I think this shows a lot of scoring depth on our team.  So I became curious.  How many double digit scorers have we had in our history?  The answer was somewhat surprising.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Vinning a Fan Base Game

Was this the turn of the tide for the Redwings?
Word broke this week that Vinny Prospal has offically retired.  We have shown us some Vinny love over the years here on this space, and there is no reason for it not to continue.  Check out this post by Porty over on Puck Rakers about Prospal.  Especially read the last quote.  If you are having trouble with the Puck Rakers display, you have to scroll down past all the historical posts to find the actual text.  What up Dispatch?  It's been like that for a week!  But I digress.  This is about Vinny.

I can't imagine how difficult it must be for a player of Vinny's caliber to finally make the decision to retire.  I am pleased to know that he is at peace with the decision.  Many have written about the gentlemen's agreement that Scott Howson made with Vinny, a series of one year contracts, and finally a place in the organization.  I always liked that, but there are two real problems with that agreement.  The first is that it is only good as long as both gentlemen are with the organization.  Obviously, Scott Howson has moved on.  The second problem with it is that it ensures that Vinny plays until he is a completely non-competitive and that he plays well past when he should have really retired.  In that regard, Jarmo Kekalainen did a Vinny a favor by not offering him a contract, ensuring that he went out as our leading scorer in his last year.  While Vinny probably doesn't appreciate that now, it won't be long until he does.  When you are able to look back and know that you finished a long career on top, in time, Vinny will feel good about that.

I would like to see the organization honor the commitment to Vinny to find a place for him.  It doesn't have to be now.  He's down in Tampa, coaching up his son.  Sometime in the off season, make sure he knows he's wanted.  It may be that the Tampa organization will beat us to him.  It's his home town, they should have that opportunity.  But Vinny also needs time to decide what role to pursue going forward.  This type of thing can be done with deliberation, yet still honor our commitment.

So best of luck to you going forward Vinny Prospal.  You helped institute a sea change in our organization, and as a fan I will always be grateful for what you brought to the table.

A Fan Base Game
Tonight the CBJ play the Florida Panthers in an important Eastern Conference tilt.  The CBJ slid out of playoff position by a point today by virtue of their off day.  The two points are critical, as you want to be up in playoff contention before you head west to Death Valley, the 3 game road swing through the Ducks, the Kings, and the Sharks.  All three teams are playoff contenders in the Western Conference, and capable of putting a dent in any aspirations of glory.  So tonight's game takes on exaggerated importance.

One of the reasons I feel it has exaggerated importance, is that in front of a full barn last Saturday, the boys in Union Blue laid an egg.  It is going to be a pretty big house tonight I believe.  It is important for the team to understand how important it is for their fan base that they win this game.  And that means treating the opposition with respect, and bringing your 'A' game to the table tonight.  Pack your lunch pail boys, throw on your hard hat, and come prepared to exceed their work ethic.  And that means everyone on the team.  No 'passengers' tonight.  You cannot let Florida out work you, and you cannot let Tim Thomas be the best goal tender tonight.  And that will take focus and effort.

Last weekend, the home town fans were locked toe to toe in the corners of the arena with boisterous Buffalo fans.  The lifeless effort and loss laid bare old scars in the fan base.  Tonight it should be our barn.  If things go sideways for awhile, it is time for the fans to chime in to try to change the momentum.  Tonight we will likely have a fair number of 'casual fans' in the building, if you can call someone dropping good money on tickets 'casual'.  We want to get those folks engaged for the stretch run in March.

It will be a month until the next home game.  Let your hair down, get your game face on, and come out tonight to try to make a difference.  It should be a good time.