Sunday, February 24, 2013

Morgan's Game 18 Six-Pack: St Louis Blues

Blue Jackets 1 - St Louis Blues 2
5-11-2  Last in Central, West, NHL and KHL

The Blue Jackets took to the ice tonight against the St Louis Blues in the first of back-to-back games against Central Division foes.  The Jackets are coming off an emotional win in Detroit where they dug themselves out of a 2 goal trough and fought back and won 3-2 in the closing moments of the game.  Tonight's battle against the Blues was expected to be a gritty affair fought and won in the trenches.  Past performance does not guarantee future results, but I can't help watching a contest between these two teams without thinking at some point the ice is going to turn into a yard sale in front 19.457 people.

That sounds good.  I'll have that.

1.  The first frosted mug of the night goes to Cam "MF" Atkinson.  You had me after your first shift.  It was a glorious first shift and you looked good on offense all night.  It has seemed like an eternity since I felt excitement when the puck got on the stick of a CBJ player, but tonight I couldn't wait to see you get the puck.  I felt like there was a chance you'd put the puck in the net every time you touched it.  It was tough watching you give the puck to Brassard and Umberger as they seemed to jam themselves all night.  But you were fun to watch tonight, thank you.

2.  Matt Calvert, you sprightly young man, enjoy this tasty beverage on me.  You keep the game simple and as I like to say, you keep the puck in front of you.  You look like a kid happy to be in the NHL and hungry to prove yourself all while playing the game smartly.  You know what a sucker I am for things like.  I know people will gush over your fortuitous shorty tonight, but I just like watching you play the game.

3.  The St Louis Blue Breakout - you made it look like there was absolutely zero Blue Jackets fore check.  It's like Ken Hitchcock coaches you or something - always responsible with the puck you are...

4.  The fourth soda of tonight's sixer goes to Sergei Bobrovsky and Jaroslav Halak.  You treated us to one heck of a show tonight.  Both of you kept your teams in the game tonight, and kept the fans engaged.  Each team made mistakes, and you both were able to neutralize most.  The Scottrade center was buzzing all night thanks to the play of you both.

5.  The fifth tasty beer of the night goes to James Wisniewski's stick.  He really wailed on you there in the second period after hitting his second post.  All alone inside the top of the right circle he fired a shot from your glorious face and hammered the snot out of the short side post.  He skated over to the boards and two-handed you into the tempered glass encasing the ice surface.  You held strong and did not break.  #GallosStrong

6.  The final beer of the six-pack goes to Vaclav Prospal.  Slowly the reasons why the players love you are starting to show.  You don't care that you're 38, you're charging hard after the puck after a chip-in like you're 24 again.  The ladies think you look like a non-suicidal Owen Wilson.  You are really hustling out there.  Maybe it's because the gentleman's agreement you had in place prior to 10 days ago is in jeopardy, or maybe not.  Regardless, I'm starting to see why the players like you.  You may want to change you're number though.  I still have nightmares about the last guy that wore number 22.

Tonight the thought of re-alignment to the East was dangled infront of the fans once more.  This time, fewer teams in the West and both DET and CBJ in the East.  I have my hesitations about removing the Wings from the West, but the Wings have been the good Soldier for so long and it's their time.  The Blue Jackets casual fanbase is fragile and moving to the east will likely bloster viewership.  It will be interesting to see how this unfolds for the league and fans.  Onto the post-game and a sultry metaphor...

This is the first time I have seen the futility of the "Were the Blue Jackets outworked tonight?"   Every possession, every little puck battle, could have meant the game.  The Blue Jackets worked hard all night, they were not outworked - but the Blues found ways around the Jackets hard work.  They are, as most of us know, coached by Ken Hitchcock.  Typically, hard works beats skill.  But when hard work is met with hard work, or when an unstoppable force meets and immovable object, hard work can be out skilled or out coached when equally matched.  One player left alone in the high slot long enough to get a shot off was the one small difference it took (after Erixon checked himself).  The Jackets did everything they needed to do to win this game, they just lacked the skill to covert on chances.  Even though the Jackets lost, and knowing how cynical I can be, the Jackets were in this game the whole time.  If the Jackets are going to lose 30 games this season, I can palette the losses better if they all resemble tonight's efforts.  Most haven't, but still...

Like going to lunch with an old girlfriend, I'm asking myself dangerous questions on the car ride home.  If Rick Nash knew JD was headed to Columbus and Howson would soon be replaced, would he have stayed?  Would a guy like Nick Foligno or Mark Letestu have been just the spark he needed to find his youthful exuberance again?  I watch that first shift of the game tonight and wonder if it was Nash on that line, do the Jackets score a goal?  But that's not the world we live in.  Rick Nash has moved on and found another team to live with.  The things that likely soured his relationship the Blue Jackets have gone.  Now, deeply entrenched in the metaphor of a past lover, I sit across the table and look into china blue eyes that once sauntered a gaze back into mine of want and desire.  With time, passion has given way to regret and my eyes are only met with fleeting glimpses and sensuous smiles that stop short of a familiar flirtation.  Perhaps we were both too young to understand what it took to make things work, but it was fun while it lasted.  We both had to move on.  We're both happy where we are now, neither one of us would have been able to grow up if we'd stayed together.  I have JD and my old girlfriend (Rick Nash) is married and living it up in NYC.  But it doesn't mean I can't think about good we were together before Arniel.  It doesn't mean I can't miss Rick Nash. 

The Blue Jackets have no time to peer longingly through a half-full bottle of Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon and remember whispered times of long ago.  They are headed for the United Center, home of the juggernaut Chicago Blackhawks. If they romanticize about ending the Hawks winning streak on their home ice, they'll likely be speared in the mouth with a big fat dose of reality and wake up mayor of Loserville.  If the CBJ stand any chance of beating the Blackhaws Sunday night, they have to continue the good work they did tonight and they can't ever give up, not for one moment.

Did I really use Rick Nash and Scott Arniel in an old lover metaphor?


1 comment:

  1. I might be alone on this, but I think Nash as deployed by the Blue Jackets left to be desired. Specifically, I think there was a huge error in asking him to be both superstar performer and undisputed team leader. There aren't too many players who can do both, and Nash (in my estimation) proved that he can't.

    So I'll agree with you to a point: I miss the idea of Rick Nash, but I don't miss the Rick Nash that we had.


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