Monday, April 30, 2012

DBJ's 2011-12 Season In Review: Concluding thoughts

Here's what we were being sold at the beginning of the season.
Didn't quite turn out that way, on a host of levels.
So here we are, the summary post that tries to make sense of the 82 games that we witnessed (Mayans not withstanding).  I don't know how one can look at what transpired, and the only result that matters - wins and losses - and come to any other conclusion that 2011-12 was an, embarrassing, humiliating failure for the Columbus Blue Jackets.  And while I will never say it was enjoyable to chronicle this season (nor write this recap series, for that matter), I take solace in that this blog will stand as witness to the failure.  The past season's blog posts are out there on the Internet for eternity thanks to Google caching and other archivers.  They will be around forever, reminding the hockey world of how bad it was and hopefully providing an impetus for the team to avoid letting history repeat itself.

As depressing as this season was, and as bitter as I have been at what I saw, I still renewed my ticket package for next season.  Why?  Because, believe it or not, I'm an optimist at heart.  I know that this team can be better next season, perhaps significantly so if a couple breaks come their way.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

DBJ's 2011-12 Season In Review, Games 71-82

GAMES 71-82   (7-5-0, 29-46-7)

71 72  73 
74 75 76
77 78 79
80  81 82

Remember all that stuff I wrote about how the legend of the Blue Jackets playing out the string in grand fashion was largely bunk?  Well....the team closed out the season winning five out of its last six games.  Go figure.  Have we been in bizarro world all season long?

Anyway, the game recaps started to get increasingly scant.  The commentaries became less and less frequent. Candidly, it was rather hard to summon the gusto to write another "Groundhog Day" piece.

DBJ's 2011-12 Season In Review, Games 61-70

GAMES 61-70   (4-6-0, 22-41-7)

61 62  63 
64 65 66
67 68 69

4 wins, 6 losses...and there's a genuine positive to discuss?  You betcha.

Note that the four victories were achieved in a row...the first legitimate win streak of any kind for this team in this season (and probably a lot longer, but I'm not going to go back and look it up).  And note who the CBJ beat: A Colorado team that was still in the playoff hunt followed by three wins that, as I type are playing in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.  I find myself saying, "To be a good team, you have to beat good teams" (or something of the sort) on this blog a lot...and the Columbus Blue Jackets won some solid games during that run.

But back to the beginning of the stretch...and that means the trade deadline.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

DBJ's 2011-12 Season In Review, Games 51-60

GAMES 51-60   (5-4-1, 18-35-7)

51 52  53 
54 55 56
57 58 59

This stretch of games started off with a little bonus hockey - 1.8 seconds to be precise - thanks to the NHL's "Clockgate" game against the Kings in game 51.  CBJ GM Scott Howson raised a fuss about it, and I offered a couple Glass Banging thoughts on his part in the well as his place in the world of hockey.

Derick Brassard was slowly getting his game together after life in purgatory the Scott Arniel regime, and I had some stats and analysis.  It was so nice to write something not related to how the team stunk...

DBJ's 2011-12 Season In Review, Games 41-50

GAMES 41-50   (2-7-1, 13-31-6)

41 42  43 
44 45 46
47 48 49

Another 2-7-1 stretch.  Yup.  Rock bottom.

We can all pause and take a deep breath, as Scott Arniel was removed as head coach.  Gallos wrote the first eulogy, I offered another - with a little forward looking on the upcoming Todd Richards interim coaching tenure.

(It should be noted that Richards had a rocky start, seeing that all but one game in this stretch was on his watch.  As time will show, he eventually got his act together.  Or the team realized that there was nothing of substance to play for and decided to turn into world beaters.  But I digress.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Glass Bangers, 4/27/12


Don't overlook your loved ones in the heat of the
Stanley Cup Playoffs, folks!
I was a touch surprised to learn that the National Hockey League was starting up the second round of the playoffs less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the opening round.  No breathers for the weary who have made it through countless overtime games (exciting games, granted), I suppose.

But for those of us whose spouses aren't hockey junkies, this presents a challenge.  I was hoping to get a one-night reprieve so my hockey widow, Mrs. DBJ, and I could sneak in a date night before the second round started up.  No dice.  So I suppose I'm going to miss the opening game of Phoenix-Nashville (perhaps the best matchup of the second round, in my opinion) in favor of dinner and a movie.

By the way, you may wish to make a note that the second round schedule has a hole on the evening of May 5th...the day when they're running the Kentucky Derby on NBC.  If you're looking for a safe date night, that's your best bet.  (H/T to Howye for the heads up!)

Cannon fire and fireworks accompanied
the curtain drop as the logo was unveiled.
  • For an event consisting of a few obligatory comments and a curtain drop, it was a nice event.  The Dark Blue Toddler wishes the CBJ bounce house had made an appearance, but the slap shot simulator game him something to do with another young''un.
  • The "FREE LUNCH" (it was all caps in the CBJ's email invite to ticket package holders) of hot dog, chips and can of soda was appreciated.
  • The free All-Star Game logo puck (again, to ticket package holders) was a nice touch.
  • Turnout was decent...not overwhelming, but decent for a sunny Friday lunch hour.  From the very conspicuous vouchers, I'd guess that two-thirds to three-quarters of the attendees got the FREE LUNCH email.
  • The suits did a fine job recognizing that the event, while obviously great for Columbus from a prestige point of view and perhaps even economically, was great for those reasons.  Which has nothing to do with the quality of the home team's performance on a night-in, night-out basis.  I'm really happy for Columbus and might even try to get a ticket to an All-Star Weekend event (presuming that the cost isn't out of this world), but I also recognize that all the pomp and circumstance today didn't do anything toward improving the team with, by far, the worst record in the NHL.
  • From my vantage point, the biggest applause from the back of the audience (where I was) came when John P. McConnell said that he's committed to bringing not just the All-Star Game but playoff games and Stanley Cup Finals games to Columbus.  I honestly believe his intentions are pure.  As such, I'm guessing that the state of the team is driving him batty.  
  • Not to make more of it than I have to, but just an observation: The last time I was out in the cold on the arena district plaza, there were a few hundred people rallying for the Blue Jackets to fix their hockey team.  Fast forward to now, where Commissioner Bettman and CBJ majority owner John McConnell were front and center.  Just an odd juxtaposition.  But you'd have to have been to both to understand...and, from what I observed, there were precious few who attended both events.

The 2013 All Star Game logo

Thursday, April 26, 2012

DBJ's 2011-12 Season In Review, Games 31-40

GAMES 31-40   (2-7-1, 11-24-5)

31 32  33 
34 35 36
37 38 39

2-7-1.  The bottom began to drop out.

Guy Boucher brought his crappy Tampa team to town, but the Blue Jackets couldn't beat him. Though to be fair, I'm not sure if the CBJ players and coaching staff felt the same as the fans about getting spurned by Boucher.  I would presume that Scott Arniel probably felt like he had something to prove, but he was busy trying to salvage his job at the time.