Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Support a great cause at the 2nd Annual Ryan Salmons Day of Giving

The Jacket Backers asked me to remind you of:


Memorial Baptist Church
2435 Eakin Rd, Columbus, OH 43204
Saturday December 4th
8:30 AM- 2:30 PM


Space is limited, so register to donate NOW by:
  1. Visiting www.TeamSalmons.com
  2. Calling 1-800-GIVE-LIFE 
  3. Logging onto www.bloodsaveslives.org, Click “Schedule Your Donation,” Sponsor Code: ryansalmons
(If you last donated on or before October 9, 2010, you may be eligible to donate again at this event)


Enter the raffle for these prizes:
  • (2) Columbus Blue Jackets Tickets v. Edmonton (Sat. 02.05.11)
  • (2) Dinner Buffets - Time Warner HD Lounge
  • Team Autographed Hockey Stick
  • Gift cards from local restaurants will also be raffled

Raffle tickets can be purchased in advance or at the event ($5 each or 3 for $10).

(Blood donation is not required to purchase tickets and winner need not be present to win.)

To purchase raffle tickets in advance, to be registered manually or for any other questions, send an email to: RyanSalmonsDayofGiving@yahoo.com.

Thank You!

Just a brief note of thanks - The Dark Blue Jacket blog completed another month per Blogger/Google's calendar, and it's now official.  According to Blogger record keeping, the DBJ blog's monthly traffic has reached over 16,000 pageviews in the past 30 days, meaning that this little blog has more than DOUBLED in traffic since the end of last season.  

I'd like to thank everyone who stops in to read the posts, check out the updated list of blog postings around the CBJ blogosphere in the right-hand column, get a CBJ game ticket through my SeatGeek link, press the blue button, grab some CBJ swag at the DBJ Shop, or - best of all - leave comments with your own thoughts.  I am absolutely loving the back and forth dialogue that's taking place in this little corner of the Inter-tubes.

Anyway, traffic only happens because you folks think that this blog is worth your time.  And, for that, I want to thank each and every one of you.

Carry The Flag!

DBJ's NHL realignment scheme: The Power of Three

It's one of those slow days in-between games, and the Blue Jackets are doing what everyone assumes that they would do on a slow day when in their circumstances: Work on their power play.  Lord knows that they need to work on it!

So, instead of go any further in rehashing the obvious, I'll bite on Jeff Little's suggestion that the NHL consider realignment and share this little idea that's been percolating around about as long as this blog:

The Dark Blue Jacket
National Hockey League Realignment Scheme

First, let's look at the landscape as it exists right now:

View NHL Teams in a larger map

The premise of my realignment is this: Rather than break conferences along longitudinal lines - East and West - the NHL should break them along latitudinal lines - North, Central and South.  Doing so accomplishes three main objectives: 1) It evens out the ridiculous disparity in conference travel costs, 2) It all but guarantees that Canada will have a team make it deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs and 3) It ensures that the American sun belt will have a significant role in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Hangover

With apologies to Warner Brothers,,,

Did I really just play those games against Detroit?

Did I even get a shot off?

I thought Detroit was an easy mark. I mean, I got a hat trick against them before!  Didn't I?

Did Commie really need some stitches? Does he still have two eyes after that high stick?

So...we're not tied for first any more?

Are we gonna have to bag skate it?

Was I supposed to be out there on the power play?  Oh - I was?

And what the heck is that cannon thing doing around here?

Oh man...my head hurts...

Yeah, Rick, you're hung over.  It's been a long weekend.

You, and your team, need to shake it off, enjoy the day off and get ready for Nashville.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Game 22/Detroit: My Take

The Columbus Blue Jackets traveled to Joe Louis Arena to salvage half of a home-and home weekend series with the Detroit Red Wings and left empty-handed in a 4-2 loss.

After taking a 1-0 lead on a Derick Brassard tip-in at the end of the first period, the CBJ gave up two goals in 14 seconds in the middle of the second period.  Clearly rattled but still determined, the Jackets mustered the necessary competitive effort to compete with the (in my opinion) prohibitive Stanley Cup favorites until the start of the third period, when Valtteri Filppula took advantage of a Steve Mason rebound that had zero defensive back-side assistance and flipped one in the back of the net to make it 3-1.  The game appeared over until late in the third when the second power play unit (in a desperation empty-net configuration comprised of Umberger, Vermette, Brassard, Voracek, Russell and MacKenzie) finally slipped one past the Red Wings' penalty kill  to make it 3-2 with 1:30 to go.

It ended up being too little, too late, with the Wings dropping an empty netter in to end the game.

One of the downsides of actually being able to watch the vast majority of the game when it's a loss is that it  allows me the opportunity to gauge the demonstrable mindset of the two teams and, when a game starts as a virtual stalemate, to identify the moment when the game swung out of control.  (Gee, why I can't a get a rousing home win to have nearly three solid hours in front of the TV?  Did it have to be this game?)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Game 21/Detroit: My Take

With undisputed ownership of first place in the National Hockey League's Western Conference on the line, the upstart Columbus Blue Jackets fell to the Detroit Red Wings, 2-1, last night at a sold-out Nationwide Arena.

Call it whatever you want - a "statement" game, a "bell-weather" game, an "Oh My God, We Have to Play on a FRIDAY" game.  There was no disputing that it was a big game.

And while there are no such things as moral victories, I gotta tell you folks that I am pretty impressed with the  Blue Jackets from last night.  If you had told me after the gut-wrenching home opening loss to the Chicago Blackhawks that the Blue Jackets were going to be not just playing for first in the West at the quarter pole but also largely playing stride for stride with the Stanley Cup-contending (favorite?) Detroit Red Wings, I'd GLADLY take that.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Personalized CBJ 3rds for $98 - TODAY only!

[Just to be clear, this offer has expired.]

From a DBJ reader, another Black Friday promotion of interest to Columbus Blue Jackets fans:
GREAT deal today on shopNHL.com! You can get the new 3rd jersey with FREE customization today only. Enter the coupon code NHL15OFFINSERT at checkout and the third jersey PERSONALIZED becomes 98 bucks plus about $7 shipping. Unlikely to find a personalized 3rd at a better price this Christmas season. Thought you may want to know and let your readers know. 
Thanks for your coverage! 
Go Jackets! Beat the Red Wings!
DBJ Shop or no DBJ Shop...a deal is a deal...and it appears that shop.nhl.com straightened out their inauthentic (is that a word?) lettering and numbering and is giving customers the real thing.  The reader is right...it's a great offer.

DBJ's Black Friday post

 It's that time of year, Columbus Blue Jackets fans, when thoughts turn toward hockey, hockey and getting hockey stuff for your loved ones (and maybe a little something for yourself) for the holidays.

As you're reading this blog, I'm guessing that your hockey shopping preferences tend toward our favorite team, the Columbus Blue Jackets.  So please permit me to offer a small suggestion before you brave the crappy weather and long lines: Check out The Dark Blue Jacket shop.

With over 350 bona fide, unique CBJ items, odds are you can find most anything there.  Either via the links at the top of every page or through the store itself, you've got a treasure trove of gift possibilities with the affordable prices and convenient shopping that Amazon.com is known for.  (The store does not have the new 3rd jerseys, but rest assured that I'll let you all know when they're available.)

It's also worth mentioning that every time you shop at the DBJ Shop, I supposedly get a very small commission on your purchase (I have to cross a specific revenue threshold before Amazon releases any money to me).  Shopping at my store gets you the same prices as shopping at Amazon.com directly, so you still get the same great prices.  It's just a small gesture, then, to support the DBJ blog while taking care of your holiday shopping.  The Dark Blue Jacket blog takes a lot of time and effort to do as reasonably well as I can, and your support - be it through blog comments, clicks on the blog's ads or shopping at the DBJ Shop - is always appreciated.  Oh, and don't forget about buying your tickets through my Seat Geek link.

Many of you haven't had a chance to look at the DBJ Shop yet, so let's check out just a few of the items that you can get through the Dark Blue Jacket and my affiliation with Amazon to give you some flavor:

Happy holidays, everyone!  And Carry The Flag!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Game 20/New York Islanders: My Take (plus 3rd jersey/mascot thoughts)

The Columbus Blue Jackets turned their four-game winning streak into a five-game winning streak with an overtime win, 4-3, over the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum.  The CBJ are now tied for first place in the NHL's Western Conference with the Detroit Red Wings, setting up a showdown between the top two teams in the West on Friday night at Nationwide Arena.

As I indicated last time, I've got family in town and was unable to watch much of the game.  Like maybe a minute.  Thus, any insights I might have on that front are not worth sharing.

I was, however, front and center in front of the television to see the new third jersey unveiling during the first intermission.  Yeah, I know that I should have been more closely attuned to - I dunno - the actual game on the ice, but I think readers of this blog can appreciate that I've had a strange curiosity about the third jerseys ever since the CBJ announced that one was coming.  Here's the jersey:

Photo from BlueJackets.com
For those who haven't seen, here's the introductory video that aired:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Calling all graphic designers

My buddies over at The Cannon report that they've run afoul of copyright issues with their current blog logo.  To fix the problem, they're holding a contest for a new logo.  Click here for info.

Beyond the fact that The Cannon is a premier CBJ-centric blog in my opinion, and staffed by some great guys, it's also worth knowing that The Cannon is part of the SB Nation group of blogs...and SB Nation blogs get a very healthy share of traffic.  (A winning logo will get seen by a lot of eyeballs.)

Good luck to everyone who enters the contest!

Game 19/Nashville: My Take

The Columbus Blue Jackets returned home after their romp through California to shut out the Central Division rival Nashville Predators, 2-0, at Nationwide Arena.

The win kinda makes this post look cute, dontcha think?

Before I say too much more, a caveat/apology:  I've got lots of family in town already for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I'm just not going to be able to watch the games or CBJ news as closely as I'd like until the crowd disperses next weekend.  Expect that my posts will suffer accordingly.

In this case, however, I'm not sure it matters.  Rick Nash scored again, a sign that Arniel's reconstituted top line is Jack Adams Award-worthy.  That trio of Nash-Brassard-Voracek is, to borrow the sportscaster's phrase, "En Fuego."

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Predators blogger's take on the Blue Jackets

Unless you've been living under a rock (or found this blog Googling for "blue jackets" and thought you were going to find a Brooks Brothers wannabe site), you are aware that the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey club is back from a rockin'-great West Coast road trip and will be taking on the Central Division rival Nashville Predators tonight at 7PM at Nationwide.

Considering the inconsistent performance that the CBJ have had at home, and that Nashville clearly needs to be conquered in order for the Blue Jackets to have a clear road to the Stanley Cup playoffs, I consider this a Very Big Game in the grand scheme of things.  Not a "must win" or a "should win" (considering that the CBJ have had trouble beating Nashville over the years), but a legit Very Big Game.

DBJ's last stab at the CBJ third jersey

Yup, another Columbus Blue Jackets third jersey speculation post.

I'm like a moth around a lightbulb with this topic.  I know that if I touch it, I'm gonna get fried - but I keep hovering around.  So here goes.

Let's review what we think we know.  Keep in mind Rumsfeld's counsel:

Sage advice, indeed.  So this is what's out there thus far:
  1. The front will likely have a cannon-themed logo
  2. The design will be "old school"
  3. The Blue Jackets have had this "crossed cannons" logo floating out there for a while.  
  4. Chris Clark likes the colors.  (No link on this one, but I recall it from coverage of his visit to a local library.)
  5. Oh yeah, the colors and "artillery" reference of this - from the Blue Jackets themselves:

Then, thanks to the info-hounds at HF Boards, we have this nugget:
Here's been my guess for the whole early part of the season. You know those new cool [CBJ Foundation] Hats for Heroes hats, that are really dark blue, with the star on them, with the little striping on the very front middle of the bill? That striping color is the new main color. It's a brighter blue than 'union'.
Here's the hat in question:

Hmmm...I think we're onto something.  But, of course, I could be wrong.  I have been almost all the way through this parlor game, you know...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Game 18/San Jose: My Take

The Columbus Blue Jackets wrapped up what could only be described as a magical West Coast road trip by defeating the San Jose Sharks, 3-0, at the dreaded Shark Tank.

Rick Nash scored all three goals, with two ball caps hitting the ice after his empty netter in the closing minute of play.  It's becoming more and more evident that the coaching staff had a talk with Rick, telling him to stop being a playmaker for his teammates and start working toward a Rocket Richard Trophy.  Guess that's what happens when your team can't score more than three a game.  Matters not, the scoring is a treat to watch.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Game 17/Anaheim: My Take

The Columbus Blue Jackets stared down the grim face of history on Friday night, never giving in (or giving up) against a tenacious Anaheim Ducks squad at the Honda Center.  The Blue Jackets won, 4-3, marking their first Friday win of the season.

Or was it Saturday?  I mean, the victory wasn't sealed until after midnight Columbus time.  Curse these West Coast trips...

Anyway, onto the game.  It seems like only yesterday that I wrote this:
All the CBJ will do is come into your house, track mud onto the carpet, empty your fridge, eat your chips, turn on all the lights...and send your fans home unhappy. 
That's what the Columbus Blue Jackets do this year.
And again, it rings true.  Those plucky Blue Jackets just don't seem to realize that they're supposed to lose their way through these West Coast trips, that it's the Los Angeleses and San Joses and Vancouvers who are supposed to threaten the Detroit/Chicago (but certainly not the rest of the Central Division) hegemony in the West.  This crystallized for me in the final 1-2 seconds of the game, where Corey Perry realized that his team was going to lose to Columbus and, in a fit of exasperation, hauled off and sucker-punched Antoine Vermette.

The mythical Fox Sports Ohio prize pack

The Columbus Blue Jackets beat the (mighty) Ducks of Anaheim tonight - more on that in a later post - but the postgame Twitter dialogue was fun.  We were watching the postgame, and Fox Sports Ohio went to the obligatory "Fan Cam" trivia challenge.

I posted a question: What exactly is in the "Fox Sports prize pack" that they keep handing out to winners?  Here is a compilation of the guesses:
  • Old LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers jerseys
  • A CBJ keychain with the old logo
  • A sweaty hockey sock
  • A bag filled with old logo pucks
  • A signed Doug MacLean glossy photo
  • Nik Zherdev's instructional DVD "Toe-Dragging for Americans"
  • Fox Sports Ohio chapstick
  • A signed Eric Smith (FSO's uber-online guy) photo
  • An autographed Adam Foote puck
  • Christian Backman's soul (!)
Seriously, folks, does anyone know what's REALLY in that prize pack?

[UPDATE: That was fast.  Twitter's NikiRoss272 gives us the skinny: "Honestly it has chapstick, cup, sharpie, coozie, old playoff shirt, and I believe a puck. Based on what I got last season."]

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Game 16/Los Angeles: My Take (The 'Columbus Sucks' edition)

The Columbus Blue Jackets opened their West Coast "murderer's row" road trip with a little bloodletting of their own to dish out, defeating the (until last night) NHL Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Kings, 5-3, at Staples Center.  The loss was notable in that it was LA's first loss on home ice this season, and Columbus raised their road record to a gaudy 5-1.

Despite that, the Columbus Blue Jackets kind of suck.

They suck because the go into other teams' arenas and defeat them.  Often.  Sometimes soundly, sometimes not.  But the win is two points either way.

They suck because their talented young goaltender stopped 33 of 36 shots, some of the saves coming in the most incredible fashion:

They suck because they hung around the high-flying Kings all night long, never getting too far behind or too far ahead...until the end of the game, when the Rick Nash empty netter sealed the deal.  This strategy is fully acceptable for most teams in the league, but it doesn't fly in Columbus because Columbus sucks.

They suck because their defense essentially bottled up superstars Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty.  Brown and Doughty's nights were notable because they had an even plus/minus.  Kopitar was a -3 on the evening.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We return you to your regularly-scheduled hockey season

The Columbus Blue Jackets FINALLY return to the ice tonight after what feels like forever - but really "only" a four-day layoff since last Friday's pasting at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche at Nationwide Arena.

Since then, the Blue Jackets have been leapfrogged in the standings and now sit in 10th place in the Western Conference with their 18 points - proving that, once again, the only way to accumulate standings points is to actually play games.  On the bright side, the CBJ are in 10th with only 15 games played this season, same as Detroit (who has 23 points and now leads the Central...sigh).  The balance of the conference has played between 16-20 games each.  Another positive sign: The Blue Jackets are only six points out of first place in the West (Thanks, Rick!).
Never say that the DBJ blog was not educational!
(But were they playing hockey out west during the Civil War?)

Tonight's game against Los Angeles begins a "crucible" of sorts for the Boys in Union Blue.  While the Blue Jackets haven't played pansies up to this point, they've been fortunate to catch a handful of decent teams (Chicago, Montreal, Philadelphia, Anaheim) on down nights and have taken advantage.  (I'm still trying to figure out if it's something the CBJ did, or whether it was just dumb luck.  Probabilities suggest the former.)  To think that they will catch L.A. (currently #1 in the West), Anaheim (#4) and San Jose (#6) all fat, drunk and happy is a bit naive.  All of these teams are playing especially strong hockey right now.  The CBJ will need to bring their best games if they hope to get any points out of this trip.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Umberger = "Hope" for hockey's good guys

With apologies to Shepard Fairey, I hope you enjoy these two takes on the now-classic Obama "HOPE" poster...with R.J. Umberger's cause front and center.


In all seriousness, please make sure you vote today - and every day, through November 29 - for R.J. Umberger for the NHL All Star starting roster. What a wonderful message it would send to the National Hockey League, that a guy can stand strong for his team, do what it takes to win, never back down and lead by example.  That scoring goals is great, but character counts, too.

You can vote up to 30 times per day (I didn't make the rules...) at vote.nhl.com or by texting UMBERGER to 81812 (text message fees apply).

As for the graphics: Got a favorite version?  Or did you like the original poster better?

Hockey players are human, too

Perhaps it's the extended break between games, or maybe there's another reason, but today saw a couple really strong human interest pieces related to the Columbus Blue Jackets.  I tend to avoid pointing out specific pieces as "must reads" (or would they be better as "should reads"?), but you just don't get this subject matter every day.
  • Capital Style: Married to the Game.  Scott Howson, Antoine Vermette and Mathieu Garon's wives discuss life as hockey spouses.  These are some very impressive women.  Mighty tolerant, too, considering the odd hours their husbands keep. 
  • Columbus Dispatch: Unwelcome solitude.  Tom Reed takes some time over at the oft-quiet Ice Haus rink to see how injured players deal with being on the team - but not really on the team.  (Poor Ethan Moreau!)  If you don't get it, you'll understand once you read the article.  
Two really good articles, and definitely worth your time if your interest in the CBJ goes beyond what happens from the initial puck drop to the announcement of three stars.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vote R.J. Umberger for 2011 NHL All-Star!

The time has come, my friends, to do your duty as Columbus Blue Jackets fans:

Click here to vote, or text UMBERGER to 81812.  And you apparently are allowed to vote 30 times per day, so click away!

Matt Wagner offers plenty of good reasoning as to why you should give R.J. your full support, so read it now and be prepared!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Game 15/Colorado: My Take

The Columbus Blue Jackets, minus captain Rick Nash and center Derek Mackenzie (not to mention the longer-term injured and scratches), stopped by Nationwide Arena to lose to the Colorado/Lake Erie Avalanche, 5-1. (Colorado had something like 10 roster players out injured, so they raided their AHL farm team in Cleveland for bodies.)

Candidly folks, I didn't catch a ton of this game.  Family obligations got in the way and, by the time I was able to sit down and watch seriously, the game was far enough gone - and the Blue Jackets were showing absolutely nothing on the ice to give me hope that the outcome was going to change.  And it didn't.

I always knew I hated Chris Fowler

...and all along I thought it was because he was a know-nothing douchebag about Notre Dame football.

Now I see that he's just a know-nothing douchebag.

At least Herbie got a couple more butts in seats tonight with Fowler and Erin Andrews. Carry The Flag, Kirk.

FSO "All Access Night" is back

One of my favorite things about Fox Sports Ohio is that they're not afraid to try something different with their hockey coverage. "All Access Night" is the place to witness experimentation in action. (And hey, DISH customers, even you can watch!)

Here's the release:


The network will offer fans a behind-the-scenes look at the Jackets tomorrow, November 12 at 7pm

COLUMBUS, OHIO – FOX Sports Ohio is excited for the first of five Columbus Blue Jackets All Access Nights this Friday, November 12 when the Jackets take on the Colorado Avalanche at Nationwide Arena. Following Blue Jackets Live pre-game show at 6:30pm, presented by Your Central Ohio Toyota Dealers, the All Access game in HD in begins at 7pm.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Umberger sheds light on the new third jersey

Columbus Blue Jackets alternate captain R.J. Umberger was on Sirius/XM's "Puck Daddy Radio" show today to talk about the Blue Jackets' blowout win over the St. Louis Blues last night and the pre-game gamesmanship in which he and others involved in the game engaged.

In the final question of the segment, the hosts asked R.J. about the new third jersey - whether he'd seen it, what it looked like, etc.  R.J. said that he had seen it, both last season and this season.

Changing the culture - Inside and out

It's been a fascinating twenty-four hours in Columbus Blue Jackets land.

One day ago, the CBJ were facing the prospect of hosting the Western Conference-leading St. Louis Blues, who sported a gaudy 9-1-1 record.  The Jackets were not in a bad position per se, with an 8-5 record and an eight seed in the West, but they came off a disappointment against Minnesota that was punctuated by a deflating third period.  

Scott Howson and Scott Arniel appear to understand that the keys to
a consistent winning program don't entirely lie in X's and O's.
(Photo from the Columbus Blue Jackets)
The feeling of loathing permeated the fanbase.  Me included.  I mean, look at these quotes, from both Twitter and blogs:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Game 14/St. Louis: My Take

The Columbus Blue Jackets destroyed the St. Louis Blues tonight in every imaginable fashion with an 8-1 win at Nationwide Arena.

Boom. (Repeat seven more times.)

I'm man enough to admit it: This game had me scared.  I honestly thought that that CBJ were going to come out and, like so many times before, melt in the face of the challenge of a big game.  And make no doubt about it, this was a big game.  St. Louis was 9-1-2, riding a seven-game winning streak, sitting alone atop the Western Conference and apparently somewhat full of themselves.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Time to Step Up: "Blue Jackets Slap Shots"

Less than two months into the 2010-2011 NHL season, I think I've seen enough of Fox Sports Ohio's weekly "Blue Jackets Slap Shots" show to render an opinion.  And, right now, I'm not sure that this experiment in Columbus Blue Jackets non-game programming is meeting its potential.

After five episodes, the shows have landed upon a now-standard format: An opening segment with original content, game highlights from the past week and "filler" content.
  • The opening segment, to the best of my knowledge, has always been an interview.  To the best of my recollection, they have shown taped inteviews with Scott Arniel and Rick Nash (together in a montage) and Antoine Vermette.  They also have shown host Ray Crawford interviewing The Fourth Period's Dave Pagnotta, FSO.com's Eric Smith and FSO's game analyst, Bill Davidge.  Of the five, the Arniel/Nash piece was fantastic, the Pagnotta piece was interesting insofar as it reflected upon the Sweden trip and Eric Smith's was useful because he gave an actual opinion that made me think (that the Chicago win could represent a turning point in the season).  I like Vermette and appreciate Davidge, but those two interviews did not grab me.
  • Crawford generally does a good job with the game highlights, but I'm finding that his "Slap Shots" highlights are perhaps a tad too polished for my tastes.  Personally, I like a sports personality who conveys the raw excitement of the games that he's covering.  (See: Darren Pang for hockey, or Chris Berman for football.  The CBJ TV and radio pairings also can raise their level when circumstances warrant.)  Crawford, in my opinion, does a much better job with highlights immediately following games.  Perhaps less rehearsal and more spontaneity is best for this type of work. 
  • I call the last bucket of show content "filler" because it generally feels like just that.  As a regular CBJ game-watcher on FSO, I'm finding that many of these pieces are the same ones that have run in-between periods on game nights.  Beyond that, packaged segments asking players silly questions ("What would you be if you were not a hockey player?"  "What's the most embarassing song on your iPod?") might appeal to the legions of teenage Jared Boll fans, but they're not my cup of tea.  Clearly, I was spoiled by the footage documenting the CBJ trip to Sweden that ran in the first couple of episodes - that content was very well done and showed us something that the many CBJ fans who did not go to Sweden couldn't see.  On the bright side, however, FSO has avoided the saturation usage of saccharin-laden CBJ Foundation pieces - I won't deny that doing good works is a terrific thing for a public figure like a professional hockey player to do, but surely they do more than that.  And the "Ask the Expert" segment with Jeff Rimer is OK.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Introducing SeatGeek tickets

Back in early September, I launched the "Time to Step Up" season preview series and introduced the Dark Blue Jacket Shop as a means to leverage this blog to provide greater service to you, the Columbus Blue Jackets fans, in the wake of the incredibly successful CannonFest.  It may seem strange and somewhat counter-cultural to some to take a little hobby blog like this and try to make it something more.  You can amplify those feelings when you learn that I have not made dime one since starting it.  However, if you had seen the incredible CBJ fan community come together at CannonFest as it did, you would have been moved to become more enthusiastically involved, too!

As a result, I would like to think that this blog hosted one of the more thorough season previews seen anywhere in the hockey blogosphere.  In addition, click any of the categories at the top of the page, and you'll find yourself wading through an incredible collection of CBJ merchandise, among the most thorough on the web.

One thing that I've wanted to do since embarking on this path, however, is close the loop and integrate the blog into the actual game-watching experience.  I recently learned about a service that will help the DBJ blog do just that: SeatGeek.

SeatGeek is an aggregator of vendors in the secondary ticket market.  You know, the ticket brokers who can get you tickets to sold out events.  These guys also buy tickets at very low prices and sell at...low prices.  Don't ask me how they do this, because I don't know.  (I did use a secondary service in the preseason, however, and grabbed two tickets - one for me, and one for the Dark Blue Toddler - to the CBJ-Atlanta preseason game for $12 for the pair...so I'm now a fan of these services.)

This particular service brings together the StubHub, Vivid Seats, TicketNetwork Razorgator, TicketsNow and other similar networks on one site to give you one-stop shopping of a huge swath of the secondary ticket market.  You can compare the four services against the seating chart at Nationwide Arena (or any other venue, as SeatGeek also lists tickets for MLB, NFL, NBA, concerts and theater performances) to get your ideal combination of price and location.  Pretty sweet.

Beyond that, however, is the really cool part.  You see, this new service is amassing the ticket price data using a patent-pending prediction formula that will eventually forecast the ticket prices over the days ahead and offer you guidance on when to buy.  SeatGeek claims 80-85% accuracy on their predictions.  Imagine, SeatGeek telling you to wait on buying tickets because its trend analysis suggests that prices will drop.  Or, on the other hand, it might advise you to buy now as ticket prices are spiking.  I've looked around on SeatGeek's site, and the forecasting is already up and running for some teams and sports.  It'll eventually come to the Blue Jackets games, and that will be GREAT for you.

I hope you enjoy this new aspect of the Dark Blue Jacket blog, which will be posted on every page of this site as long as SeatGeek lets me do so.  Which reminds me: In the interest of openness, you should know that I have an arrangement with SeatGeek that allows me to post their widget on my site.  I supposedly could someday get some compensation from SeatGeek, but I'll look forward to that with the same rapt anticipation that I'm looking forward to that first check from Amazon or Google.  The important thing to me is that we've got something here that could be very useful to CBJ fans far and wide.

Carry The Flag!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Game 13/Minnesota: My Take

The Columbus Blue Jackets hosted the somewhat-tired Minnesota Wild at Nationwide Arena on Saturday night, carried the play for a good portion of the game, let the Wild hang around and lost, 3-2.

Color me mildly disappointed.

Sure, the Blue Jackets had their moments.  In fact, the first line combined for yet another eye-popping goal:

4th liner Kyle Wilson also had a great goal as well.  And the Jackets are setting up on 5-on-5 like they were on a power play - something that I still shake my head and can't believe is happening, here, in Columbus.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Third jersey info announced

Image captured from the Columbus Blue Jackets website
And with that, the Columbus Blue Jackets have announced their plans to launch their new third jersey and wear it 15 times throughout the season.  

There's not much to analyze here aesthetically - the graphic at the top of the post suggests that the cannon motif is going to be used.  Maybe the color scheme?  And might we have stars on the sweaters?  

The big announcement is on the 24th at the Blue Line at Tuttle Mall.  Nice move by the CBJ to make sure that there are screens there so folks can watch the game before grabbing the new jersey.  I'm not sure I'll be in attendance - gotta leave something for Mrs. DBJ to get me for Christmas - but you know I'll be watching on TV.  

Friday, November 5, 2010

Game 12/Atlanta: My take

The Columbus Blue Jackets rolled into Atlanta for a match in front of 10,084 empty seats at the Philips Arena and, after slogging through poor ice conditions that made it hard for the players to get any type of rhythm going, emerged victorious, 3-0.

Let's start with the obvious Big Issue: Mathieu Garon got his second straight shutout.  He has officially become The Hot Hand in between the pipes.  I'm a Steve Mason guy, but even I can see the obvious.  Garon has to keep playing.  He's deserved that much, and the team is playing well in front of him.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Garon steps back into the breach

Mathieu Garon, in a bit of a surprise, gets his second straight start for the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight, this time against the Atlanta Thrashers.  It shouldn't be a surprise, seeing as Garon is coming off a shutout performance against the Montreal Canadiens.

Mason is the long-term answer at goal
and needs to be back in between the pipes.
(Flickr photo by Dylan Moody)
Steve Mason, however, sits as a result.  Mase has actually been playing well - perhaps close to his Calder Trophy level - but how do you bench a guy who just got a shutout?  Would that be fair?

In the short run, this is the right move.  In the long run, and considering that Mason is under contract through the end of 2012-2013 and Garon's contract is up at the end of this season, the Blue Jackets need to get him out on the ice as soon as possible.  Garon may be the hot goalie in the short term, but Mason needs to be the hot goalie over the longer haul.

Simply put, the Jackets can't afford for Mase to develop deep-rooted confidence issues like Montreal's Carey Price appears to have.  Garon is a good goalie and a tremendous backup, but Steve Mason has shown that he has the capacity to be among the best in the National Hockey League.  Isn't that worth making happen?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Game 11/Montreal: My take

The Columbus Blue Jackets led the Montreal Canadiens wire-to-wire, eventually shutting out the Habs by a score of 3-0 at Nationwide Arena.

What I found most exciting out of the evening was not the great Rick Nash wrister over Carey Price's shoulder nor the Derick Brassard cleanup goal off of a Jake Voracek breakaway.  No, what I was most impressed by was the total control of the game that the Blue Jackets displayed over the Northeast Division-leading Canadiens.  This, by my estimation, was the finest win that the Jackets have posted this season.

10th Anniversary retrospective video

The same piece shown at the home opener in Columbus.  Pretty cool.


I will readily admit it: I am pumped about going to tonight's Columbus Blue Jackets game against the Montreal Canadiens.

My new six-game "weekday" ticket pack finally kicks in tonight, so I'll finally get to see a seat in my new seats in the front row of the upper deck.  That alone is exciting, but then consider the opponent.

The Montreal Canadiens.  The HABS.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Reasons for concern

Lest anyone think I'm adding to the "sky is falling" contingent of Columbus Blue Jackets fans, don't worry.  I don't think the season is lost at the 1/8 pole of the season.

I am, however, concerned.  I've been saying since well before the season that the CBJ have next to no margin for error this season if they are to make the playoffs, and the subject of "margin" is exactly what worries me about this squad.

Let's look at the 10 games thus far.  I broke down the six wins and four losses in two ways - by point tallies of the teams as of today and by margin of win/loss.  Let's go through the wins first (and I included the overtime wins in the "win" column because they got us the two points):
  • San Jose (11 points, 1 point margin)
  • Minnesota (10, 1)
  • Anaheim (9, 2)
  • Chicago (15, 1)
  • Philadelphia (13, 1)
  • Edmonton (8, 1)
That means the CBJ's victims had an average of 11 points, and the average margin of victory was 1.17.  Remember that the CBJ have 12 points.  Thus, that means that they beat four teams that, by their current point level, we could reasonably expect to beat.  Two teams could be considered upsets.  Two of the wins were in overtime, so they were by no means decisive wins.