Friday, February 8, 2013

Morgan's Game 11 six-pack: The Atlanta Flames, er Calgary Flames

Columbus Blue Jackets 3 - Calgary Flames 4 in OT
5th in Central Division - !5th in Western Conference

The Columbus Blue Jackets held court for the visiting Calgary Flames.  Two national anthems were sung prior to tonight's game.  One which was written to the music of a popular British drinking song, the other wasn't formally recognized until 1980.  A crowd of 10,484 descended upon Nationwide Arena to witness a pride fight of sorts.  The loser would take sole possession of 15th place in the Western Conference.  I am curious if the Jackets use paid attendance or physical attendance in their numbers.  Either way, tonight's attendance is a startlingly low number. 

6 beers.  No Regrets. 
No Excuses.

1. My first beer goes to Vinny Prospal for his post game interview with George Matthews and BobbyMacSports.  He has expectations of his teammates.  And for the record, I found his goal celebration much more appropriate this game.

2.  My second beer goes to whatever knob asked Coach Richards in the post-game interview where Derek Brassard was during the last power play of the game.  Have the stones to do your job and ask direct questions.  "Why did you keep Brassard on the bench during that power play?" is what you should have asked.   Don't skirt a tough question because you don't want to  lose followers on twitter.  Have some expectations, media members. The change starts with you.

3.  My third delicious tasty brew goes to Matt Calvert.  Nice little toe-drag to snapper to beat Irving short side.  I liked that you chose to be a shooter and didn't deke yourself out of a goal.  Keep it up, you may just become as beloved as Derek Dorsett or Jody Shelley, and I mean that with all sincerity.  It was a timely goal indeed, and one to lift the team's spirits. 

4.  Mark Letestu, your beer is rich and smooth.  Premium.  High class.  You made the most out of your twelve minutes of ice time with a nice goal and a heads up drop pass to Prospal.  4 genos, 2 helpers, and +2 in nine games played.  You truly deserve a smooth and refined beer, this one is on me.

5.  OT Game winner.  Nice goal Tanguay.  If Nikita Nikitin continues to take away Iginla's access to the Red Zone, this goal never happens.  Nikitin had his stick in the passing lane and then turned sideways as if expecting Iginla to shoot.  As soon as Nitikin took his stick out of the passing lane, giving Iginla access to the Red Zone, Iginla fed the puck to a waiting Tanguay who finished off a killer 4-on-2.

6.  The sixth beer is Gallos.  Speedy recovery to you good sir.  And as a veteran of a couple surgeries myself, when you take your pain meds, don't forget the stool softener.  You can thank me later.

We're the Blue Jackets out worked?  Is a five pound sparrow fat?  Yes, they were outworked, but they were not lazy.  Despite an NHL caliber first period, the Jackets couldn't do the simplest and most fundamental element in the game of hockey in the second period, WIN YOUR BATTLE.  Calgary came away with the puck in almost every battle in the second period.  It only led to one goal, but they completely established dominance over the Blue Jackets in that second period.  Playing 60 minutes like they did the first 20, this team beats the surging Flames decisively.  Coach Richards said something in his post game that alarmed me.  It's quite possible I'm reading into this too much.  When asked one of the typical beachball questions from the fan friendly media about how he motivates the team, Richards responded with, "I tried not to pump their tires too much" after the first period.  This means he purposely didn't feed the dressing room's ego after a solid first period.  He wanted them to stay hungry.  This could be a subtle sign there is a serious issue in the dressing room with the players.  The last place Blue Jackets are satisfied with themselves after one period of NHL Caliber hockey?  It's the coach's observation is that left to their own devices the players would just rest on one period's laurels?  Yikes.

Which leads me to my closing thoughts.  When times are tough, your best players have to step up and play their best.  But who are the Blue Jackets best players?  Don't homer it up, ask yourself who delivers tangible results for the Columbus Blue Jackets when it matters most?  The dream line of 17-42-16 while not skating together was a collective minus 4, with one assist and 5 SOGs tonight.  I didn't notice Anisimov much in tonight's game until I saw him come coasting into frame after the OT goal. Mark Letestu is delivering results and getting valuable ice time from his coach, and good for him.  I love seeing that happen for any hockey player.  But if this team is going to depend on Prospal and Letestu to deliver results, this team stands the strong chance of still being eliminated form this post-season in February.  Dubinsky needs to start showing up on the scoreboard and Anisimov needs to stop disappearing for a couple games at a time.

The Jackets next game is Sunday night against the Edmonton Oilers, who have surprised many by actually winning something other than the draft lottery, they've won four games already this season.  I'm interested to see what the crowd size will be like Sunday night at the game.  The young, talented Oiler offense seems to out match our young, inexperienced defensive corp.  Hopefully Aucoin is back by then.  I'd say that Edmonton's defense is their soft spot, but they will be playing a Blue Jackets team with the lowest goals per game average in the league.  We'll have a six pack for you after the game, you may want to have one while you watch it.


  1. Can I presume that Anisimov is disappearing because he's one of the team's few offensively potent forwards yet isn't good enough to avoid getting shut down?

  2. Here I sit, broken hearted......

  3. All I can say is, they'll have to work hard against the Oilers. The Oilers are one of the most exciting teams this year.

    Pound them and you stand a chance. Hit, hit, hit.

    Good luck, Jackets! You're awesome and you know. So SHOW IT.

    Joe in Vancouver

  4. "Have some expectations, media members. The change starts with you."

    Oh heck yes, they've been saying the same things for the past three years. Patience. Patience. Patience. No one is asking the hard questions for fear of being what? Banished by a perennial last place team?


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