Thursday, July 14, 2011

Handle with care

The Juice won't be loose until sometime
around Thanksgiving at the earliest
If you haven't heard by now, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Kristian Huselius tore a pectoral muscle while lifting weights and will be out of commission for 4-6 months.

Is it the end of days?  Should we CBJ fans be looking over the edge of the LeVecque Tower and wondering if life is really worth living now that The Juice will not be with us until 2012?  I mean, really...what do we have to live for?

These are tough times, to be sure, and they're especially hard on a fanbase that's been through the emotional roller-coaster since Douggie MacLean told us that draftee Rusty Klesla was the second coming of Bobby Orr.  At age 18...or 13, or whatever he was.  Yeah, we're downright bi-polar after 10 years of this stuff.  Yet we keep coming back for more, which means that we need to embrace our madness and figure out how to work with it.

As a result, the Dark Blue Jacket blog offers this brief outline on how a normal, diehard CBJ fan might be handling the loss of Kristian Huselius.  As a context, we'll use Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' model outlining the five steps of grief (or dying).  This respected process has helped many a person work through the complicated feelings involved in dealing with crushing disappointment and loss.

If you personally are disaffected by the Huselius injury, please remain understanding that your fellow fan may be deep into a personal meltdown.  Knowing the signs might be the difference between having a buddy cheering the CBJ at your side this season and witnessing yet another lost soul sit on the couch for yet another 10:30PM start in Vancouver while muttering things like "Goal scorer's goal" and "Thank you, Jim Day" into their applesauce.

With no further ado...


Denial is a trait common to most Columbus Blue Jackets fans.  I mean, really: Anyone forced to look at the roster of this team over the past 10 years and think that the CBJ had a realistic shot at doing damage in the playoffs has to be smoking the drapes.

"Naw, he's not hurt.  The Dispatch guys are just tripping out on one of those Dineen-Souray hallucinations.  Juice is fine, and I'll get his autograph on my OhioHealth souvenir puck at the start of training camp to go with my Dan LaCosta jersey.  If only I can find my silver Sharpie..."

If you are exhibiting these feelings, you might need to reevaluate your choice in CBJ jersies.  Also, you may want to pass along your finances to a Certified Public Accountant...let the denial play itself out while you stay out of prison on a tax evasion conviction.

If your friend is showing signs of being in denial, introduce him to this guy...then sit back and watch the fireworks.

(Apologies to the terminally awesome Matt The Mask)


Anger is generally expressed in an outward manner, and Blue Jackets fans largely have quite a deal about which to be angy.  As such, the typical CBJ fan will likely be very, very angry at Huselius.

"You moron, Juice!  You're no tough guy - we've seen you for years now and know that you never use your upper body on the ice!  What in the world were you doing lifting weights?  What a pointless exercise!  And now you're hurt?"

If your friend is exhibiting these signs, keep him or her away from highway overpasses or tall buildings.  Especially the LeVecque Tower.  You might be best taking them to Jody Shelley's D1 Sports Training and letting the trainers there pound the crap out of him with medicine balls and the like.  If your friend can dish it out as well as he/she takes it, all the better.  It's good to have tough-guy friends like that.

If you're the one exhibiting anger, feel free to slug anyone who suggests you should go check out D1 Sports Training.


Bargaining is a very delicate stage of the grieving process for a CBJ fan.  You see, fans have been bargaining with this club pretty much since the day it opened for business.

"Maybe if I upgrade my ticket package, the Blue Jackets can afford that experimental treatment for Juice, and he'll come back in just a couple of weeks...with an admantium skeleton and sweet knives that come out of his knuckles!  Yeah...maybe I'll grab a third jersey replica dog sweater, too...that'll put it over the top!"  

If you are in a stage of bargaining and happen to be married or romantically connected, give all of your money, checkbooks and credit cards to your spouse or loved one.  Now.  Nothing you do is going to make Kristian Huselius tough.  Or durable.  I know that this is tough medicine, especially for one who's going through these hard, hard stages of emotional trauma, but you'll have plenty of opportunity to lose your shirt before you know it.  No need to burn that casino money on a pipe dream.  Oh wait, casino money IS a pipe dream...

If your friend is in this same situation, let them buy all the tickets they want.  Just make sure there's a free seat for you in the mix.  And make sure you're in the bathroom when they realize that Huselius doesn't have an admantium skeleton.


A trait more common in long-time fans than those who jumped on board since the 2009 CBJ playoff appearance, depression is perhaps the most delicate of emotions in these five stages.

"Good Lord, we had it.   Nash, Carter, Juice - it was a legitimate scoring line.  The first of its kind since...well, I don't think the CBJ ever had that much firepower on the ice at once.  And now it's gone.  Gone.  And Juice is gonna be a mess when he gets back, just like last year after the injury.  Oh man, this stinks.  This season is toast.  I mean, why go to games?  Do you want my tickets?"

If this represents your mindset, recognize that Kristian Huselius is not Superman.  Nor is he Wolverine, as we proved in the prior section.  The Blue Jackets muddled through last season when Huselius only played 39 games and look how they ended up...oh crap, you're right.  We're screwed.  Better hope that Howson gets a new winger.

If your friend is sharing these thoughts and feelings with you, take their tickets and drop them off at the R Bar.  They'll need a designated driver by the time the game is over.


Juice is surely a great guy and a valuable provider of points (sometimes even in situations where points are needed!), but we've got Jeff Carter to go with Rick Nash.  And Howson's actually doing the things that a general manager is supposed to do to make their team better.  And free agents aren't snubbing their noses at Columbus.

All is not lost.  Pat your friend on the back, and tell them that training camp is only a couple of months away!


  1. Hopefully he can find someone to come here - every year there are people who sign late, though it's more third line types who sign in August, right?

  2. Ha, ha, ha, DBJ-
    Well done!! Denial is not just a river in Egypt you know!

    I am disappointed, because I was expecting Juice to have a good year this year (bargaining). What a bummer. (depression).

    At the end of the day, this might be good for Juice, as coming off the high ankle sprain and the hip surgery, more time for the legs to heal is always good. And, I think we will need him down the stretch. (bargaining)

    However - (Acceptance)


    It is my hope that Cam Atkinson 'takes a step' (D. MacLean, personal communication) and sticks his nose into this conversation.

    Ah. I feel better now. A little psychotherapy goes a long way.


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