Sunday, October 11, 2015

Oh No!! We Didn't Win the First Half Mile of The Marathon!

There we were, lined up with all the other runners at the start of the marathon.  Pretty keyed up, in good shape, and we're off with the start!  Running well, starting to get warmed up, working through the adrenaline buzz to settle in to the pace.  At the quarter mile mark, a gap appears in the front runners, and we surge into the lead.  Then BAM!  Someone steps on our heel, trips us, and all of a sudden we are on the ground while the rest of the herd goes surging by.  We stagger up, trying to find a rhythm again, while more runners pass us up. Finally, as the half mile mark approaches, we find our stride again, but now those crazy Kenyans are way out in front of us.  The good news is just about the whole marathon lies before us. Time to settle your stride, and get to work.

Literary license is a great thing.  First of all, the CBJ are actually 0.648 miles into the marathon that is the 2015-16 season.  Second of all, we are talking about hockey, but the analogy is apt.  It is important to remember that an 0-2 start was always on the table the moment the schedule came out.  That's a tough opening sequence, starting with a home and home with the Rangers.  It's true the result happened in ignominious fashion, which ain't real fun, but this doesn't define the season.  Time for the CBJ to bow their neck and get to work.  Get in the system, and find some urgency.  That's when we play best.  And time to circle a couple of games later in the season, then forget it.

I am on record somewhere in the Twitterverse this summer as being of the opinion that the Rangers would regress this year.  Good call, huh?  And I would say my already high opinion of Alain Vigneault has reached new found levels of respect.  No longer saddled with the Sedin twins, he has the Rangers cooking on all cylinders, a team that is better than the sum of its parts, with a world class goalie.  So good on them.  It's a long season, we'll check in later.

According to Puck Rakers the CBJ had a meeting today.  Hopefully they concluded that they don't play Rangers hockey as well as the Rangers, and that it's time to play some Blue Jackets hockey.  We'll see in the matinee game, tomorrow at 3 PM!



  1. I'll be making the trip up to Buffalo to support the Jackets today but I think you're missing the point of the collective freak out of the fan base.

    The Blue Jackets have, in recent history of the past five years or so, had two incredibly large glaring issues. To recap, the first is starting the season strong. The second, is protecting third period leads or, as must fans would say, imploding in the third period.

    Therefore, when you have a 2-1 leads with less than 3 minutes remaining in YOUR home opener and you leave the game without securing a single playoff point....the fans have a reason to freak out.

    Now, is the season over no? No, absolutely not. However, the fans, and I include myself in this group being a season ticket holder, are sick and tired of seeing the same old story repeat itself time and time again.

    If the Jackets would have had 20 icing calls in the final 3 minutes this past Friday, but secured a victory, the fans would be ecstatic.

    Long story short, we have a good team. The front office, players, and fans all know this. We're ready to take that next step and get back to the cup playoffs. We're ready to compete for the trophy. We need to clean up our defense and stop playing cute offense and just shoot with each opportunity and clean up the trash.

    Good teams do not make the mistakes the Jackets made in the first game. That is the only reason that the fans are freaking out. Because we know we are better than what the final ruling was this past Friday.

    In closing, anyone who says Bob is overrated, or the staff needs to be fired, or that Foligno sucks as a captain because of the 0-2 start are buffoons and need not be listened to and or considered for their pinons.

  2. wasn't you the guys that said it would be a measuring stick before we played new york? now that was answered pretty quickly so what is it now. next thing you will be talking about is why can't we win in our own building, pretty simple we don't have the defense to stop 30 to 40 shots a night. even the good goalies get tired of getting peppered each and every night.sorry to bust everybody's bubble but we just aren't the team yet but we are getting close.maybe in a couple of yrs when we sure up the defense bob stands to be a much better goal tender, but until then he will continue to have his problems, he can't carry the load all by his self.

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  4. Fans have a right to be upset. We are told how great this team is. Then, after two games , we are winless. Lost four points to a division rival. Plus, a sellout crowd was disappointed. Not the way to start the season. They cannot afford another slow start and/or losing streak.

  5. Hey Gallos - Hope all is well. Life is pretty much in the same vein as it's been on my end.

    I haven't had a chance to catch either of the games thus far, but I am following the team between your posts, Rick's stuff at Today's Slapshot and occasional peeks at The Cannon. So while I'm not waist-deep in the minutae of the team, perhaps that might be an advantage in this discussion as we might want to take a 10,000-foot perspective. It's been a while since I've done any sports commentary, so please forgive the rust.

    First, you are completely correct. Two losses in an 82-game season is nothing, really. The key is to avoid letting 2 games become 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9...and then the season is lost before you've shopped for the Thanksgiving turkey. But I suggest that the "freakout" of which you refer (and I am not active on Twitter, apparently blessedly so, so I'll trust you on the nature of the discussion) is more deeply rooted in the fanbase and speaks to two issues - economic and emotional.

    On economic, the unfortunate fact of life is that the serious fanbase has had the economics of pro sports smashed into their brains of late. Think about the messages that they've been receiving over the past ten-odd years:

    * The team can't fill the seats because they suck. If they play better, then people will buy tickets.
    * The team is on a budget because they can't sell enough tickets. But they suck, so they have to play better to sell tickets and boost the budget.
    * The team is losing $10 milion a year because of their crappy (self-imposed) lease situation. They need to get the taxpayers to bail them out. But they suck, so they lack public support. And those people don't buy tickets. And so the money that could be spent on salaries is spent backstopping the financial they have to get it.
    * The PSL holders, the ones who were sold on the whole "Your precious seats will only appreciate in value!" line back in the salad days of irrational exuberance, are left with a dog of an investment because the team hasn't pulled their weight...yes, it goes on and on.

    The aligned arguments go on and on. But the point remains, that the "wise owls", "calm heads" and "voices of reason" keep saying that Winning Cures Everything in the 12-stepping support groups of social media. OK, the masses say, the team must win and Everything Will Be Better.

    Well, what happens when the team doesn't win? Everything you're seeing now. Perfectly and totally understandable.

  6. It gets even better on the emotional side. For, rooted in the CBJ Fan psyche is a combination of Ohio State Envy and the intense desire for validation of fanhood. For whatever reason, there's something in the Central Ohio mindset that reeks of high school. It's not enough to be happy with who you are and what you are about...EVERYONE ELSE MUST BE ON THE SAME PAGE WITH YOU. There is a persistent need to be liked that I just don't see anywhere else.

    The most demonstrable evidence of this behavior is the Jack Johnson acquisition. Sure, Jack was a first-round pick coming out of college and captained the Team USA at the World Championships (you know, the tournament stocked by teams that don't make the playoffs or get deep should they qualify). He also was deemed expendable by the Kings, carried a big salary and was routinely lampooned as being a player whose team performed demonstrably better when he was not on the ice. But HE LIKED THE IDEA OF BEING IN COLUMBUS! He made us feel good about our choice of town and fanhood. He made us hopeful that things would get better. ( he's dropping down the depth chart as young talent overtakes him...because he's not a world-beater.)

    Perhaps it's an Ohio State thing. The Buckeyes' fortunes rise and fall at the whims of the coaches and sportwriters who vote Ohio State up and down in the polls...a downright stupid way to pick a champion, for who really wants a beauty contest to validate the objective outcomes that are seen on the field? Regardless, that's the way it is...and style points matter as much as real ones in this town. And then there's the need for college football teams to run the table and go undefeated. One loss is a problem. Two losses is catastrophic..and likely something from which a team cannot recover. I know that college football and pro hockey are different, but tell me that generations of this perspective haven't bled into the mindsets of the CBJ fanbase.

    Then there's the other side of the Ohio State thing. Blue Jackets fans envy what Ohio State has. They want to see the CBJ as the hot topic on sports radio, on the nightly news, around the water cooler instead of conversation about the Buckeyes' four-deep roster and Urban Meyer's sartorial splendor. But it's not, and it drives them crazy.

  7. People instinctively want their life choices to be embraced by others, and it's not happening with the Blue Jackets. Worse yet, the playoffs success (relatively speaking) of the last couple of years didn't meaningfully move the public opinion dial.

    So when the team stumbles out of the gate -- and, worse yet, demonstrates the exact same tendencies that destroyed so many seasons prior (slow starts to the season leading to holes that are impossible to dig out of, lack of mental toughness to lock games down late) -- fragile fan psyches are tested.

    And that doesn't even mention the timing. This had to happen on opening night, didn't it? New team, new stars, optimistic marketing campaign, everyone starts fresh, sold out arena...and the Same Old Jackets show up. Yes, I readily acknowledge that they are a better team on paper, but it doesn't matter if the team doesn't perform better when the lights are brightest. And 57 mijutes of competitive hockey doesn't matter when the last 3 are so disastrous.

    The team has to show the community that they're better, that they have gotten past what we are so used to...and when the community showed up, they didn't. That will negatively impact general community enthusiasm unless rectified right quick.

    They need to show the fans that there's something to be confident about. But they're 0-2 and are already holding closed-door meetings. What does that say? How does that validate one's fanhood? How does this put the CBJ on a similar plane with the Buckeyes?

    I could keep going on, but you get my point. The team isn't helping their case in this town, nor are they making their fans feel better about things. It's early, it's correctable...but the current frame of mind is perfectly understandable.

    In other news, I understand that the CBJ Columbus Day matinee in Buffalo has been pulled from Dispatch Media's FM sports talk station and relegated to the underpowered AM station today. Don't want to get in the way of two-day-old afternoon Buckeye talk, you know, because that's what this town tunes into.

    Keep the faith, but have patience with those who are not handling this well. For when you sit back and look at it, their feelings make perfect sense.

  8. Hi Tom!
    All is well, thanks for asking. Dropped the last post without looking at the comments. Sorry.

    We have a new leadership group. First test, eh?

    Thanks for your commentary. The whole point of this is to gain perspective. Thanks for giving us yourrs.

    Hope the Dark Blue *.*'s are doing well!