Saturday, March 30, 2013

DBJ's Calgary Flames six-pack for game 35: Columbus

Columbus 6 - Calgary 4
14-14-7, 10th in Western Conference, 19th in NHL
12th overall draft pick (plus 14th and 21st!)
The Columbus Blue Jackets wrapped up their Northwest Canada road trip by being The Team That Played Calgary In Calgary's First Game Since Losing Jarome Iginla.  The Flames lost that game, 6-4, to the visitors in regulation at the Saddledome.

To borrow the line from "The Incredibles," this was the classic "It's NOT about YOU!" night.  It wasn't about the Blue Jackets holding onto a thread of a chance to make the playoffs (If you have to go 9-4-0 or some combination thereof to hit 53 points, have only five of your remaining 13 games at home and sport a 4-10-2 road record, that's a thread).  It was about Calgary.  It was about the Flames and how that terrible hockey team would recover from the shock of losing Iginla.  Thank you, hockey media, for setting me straight.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Gallos' Six-Pack for Game 34: Edmonton Oilers

Hee, hee.  Funny thing.  Did you know that you can actually kick the puck while your skate is shaving ice as you try to stay on your feet?  Definitely a DKM (patent pending)(sarcasm intended).  But that's not the funny thing, that's just the second time the war room has ruled a Blue Jacket has kicked the puck with the one foot the player has in contact with the ice as they go down.  The funny thing was that I promptly clicked over from the Buckeye game to the CBJ game at game time, watched maybe 10 seconds of Rimmer and Davidge, and woke up with 6 minutes remaining in the first period, right after Matt Calvert scored the second goal.  Then I clicked over to the Buckeye game, saw Ross can the winning 3 pointer, flipped back in time to see Wiz cough up the puck at the blue line, and Edmonton scores.  Once I woke up and found out what I missed, things moved quickly.

Part of what I missed was Cam Atkinson scoring 10 seconds into the game.  Matt Calvert added to that late in the first period.  Then Wiz coughed one up, and the first period ended 2-1 CBJ.  The host Oilers came out hard in the second period, and Eberle walked through the defense to tie the score, leaving Tyutin fishing around on the ice for his lost athletic supporter. The CBJ score again on a nice goal by Anisimov, and then 29 seconds later, the Oil score, and the second period ends 3-3, which isn't really indicative of how much Edmonton dominated the play.

The third period started the same way the first period did, with Atkinson scoring again in the opening momentss of the third period, to chase Khabibulin, the Edmonton goal tender.  But the Jackets cough up 2 more goals plus an empty netter and lose 6-4.  The CBJ were never really able to handle Edmonton's speed, and spent a lot of time waving sticks at the Edmonton players as they flashed by.  And a lottery pick all of a sudden is starting to look like a real possibility.

Wowza.  Beer.
1. My first ice cold beer goes to Cam Atkinson.  What a game!  Scores two goals, has an assist, was all over the ice all game.  Unfortunately the offensive pressure he helped develop backfired a couple of times as Edmonton took the puck back down the ice and scored.  But that takes nothing away from Cam's overall game.  Well done Cam, its nice to see the ankle is coming around.

DMac jumps into the picture in Atkinson's place on
Artie's line
2. My second beer goes to Matt Calvert, as part of that line that was on fire.  With a goal and an assist he was also all over the ice.  Cam and Matt seemed to have the speed to be able to keep up with Edmonton, but got caught over committing offensively several times.  Their line ended up with a +/- of 0 even though they scored 3 times.

3. My third frosty cold beer goes to Artem Anisismov.  He centered the dominant offensive line and scored a goal and had two assists.  His goal was a thing of beauty.  This line was really on fire all over the ice.

4. My fourth beer goes to the Edmonton skill.  They kept coming with the speed, our defense couldn't cope with it, and it turned into a pretty typical trip to the old barn known as Rexall Place.

Wait, what's this??  My last two beer cans appear to be warm and damaged.  A quick check shows that yep, these indeed are skunk beers.  Hmmmm.  I wonder who I should give them to.

5. My fifth beer, a good skunky warm one, that's good and flat goes to the War Room in Toronto.  That was an incredibly feeble effort.  You used that tape to reverse the call on the ice???  Brutal gents, just brutal.  Take a long, slow pull on that skunk beer, and savor the foul flat taste, because that's the same taste you left in our mouth.  Be interesting to see if JD has a reaction to that.  Pick up the phone and let 'em know what you think JD.

6. My sixth beer, another good skunky warm one, went to our defense.  Standing around and waving sticks at the puck isn't going to get it done.  Wiz had a brutal game in his first game back.  But the whole unit didn't really seem to have a clue how to handle the transition, though the forwards were getting burned getting back as well.  Wasn't exactly Vinny's best night either.  He struggled with the pace of the game, and it may be that the wear and tear of this schedule is starting to show.

Overall, a good offensive effort, not so good on the defensive side.  Bobrovsky looks tired to me.  I think you have to start Mason in the next one.  Hopefully he has something to bring to the table.  I think it would be a mistake to play Bob.  I understand that you want to ride the hot goal tender like a rented mule, but you have to realize your tender's limits too.  Its time for a break.  Our lottery pick is on the line, so starting Mason may not be so bad.

Back at it tomorrow night in Calgary.  That should be an interesting game, pretty much MUST WIN for the CBJ if they are going to entertain playoff hopes.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cautious Observers at the Trade Deadline

It's that time of the year, the NHL Trade Deadline is upon the NHL world.  Where Hockeyy Insiderrs every where speculate deals to be made, deals that are rumors, and things that deal with No Movement Clauses.  The trade deadline ended badly for us Blue Jackets fans last year.  Carter was gone, Howson outted Nash, and Ken Hitchcock was writing his acceptance speech for the Jack Adams.  Skies were gloomy, dogs were sad, and a lockout loomed.  Then there was May 29th, 2012.

You don't remember May 29th, 2012?  I do.  It was the day "John Davidson Watch" started in Columbus when he met with team officials that day.  My, that seems like a lifetime ago.  Since then, Columbus Blue Jacket fans have had a long time to get to know the kind of hockey executive John Davidson is: a patient and deliberately calculating President of Hockey Operations.  Davidson took his time in getting the GM he wanted.  He gave Todd Richards time to get his constrictive defensive system in place.  He's given several interviews in print, radio, and TV where he's stated over and over again, this season will be used to evaluate the team from top to bottom.  By the very nature of his repeated comments in this manner, and his very passive first year in Saint Louis, I don't see the CBJ doing much at the trade deadline.

He has a vision, and it isn't frantic action at the deadline..

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gallos' Six Pack on Game 33: Vancouver

In tonight's contest between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Vancouver Canucks, the home Canucks kept the ice tilted in their favor through the first two periods.  The CBJ were unable to generate any sustained offense in the first two periods, though it could also be said that Vancouver was letting a team that they were outplaying continue to hang around.  While the Jackets played better through the third period, regulation play ended with the score 0-0.  Bobrovsky was stellar in overtime, stoning Hansen on a breakaway.  The overtime period ended 0-0 with both goal tenders recording a shutout, and we went to a skills competition to determine the game outcome.  Lapierre was the only shooter to score, on a wicked back hand, and the CBJ lost 1-0 in their 22nd one goal game of the year.

Sergei Bobrovsky records another shut out
1. My first cold frosty one goes to Sergei Bobrovsky.  Bob was stellar in this game, and the difference for the CBJ.  A precious point was gained on the road, but he got beat on the one shoot out attempt.  He had 34 saves, and recorded his third shutout of the year.  This was a very emphatic response after getting chased from the net in Nashville.  What else can I say about Bob?  He's just been outstanding this year.

2. My second cold one goes to Artem Anisimov.  If you are going to get into a game where you aren't going to score, you need to have the puck To get the puck you need to win faceoffs.  Arty won 55% of his faceoffs, and was a beast in the circle down the stretch.  

3. My third beer is going to go to young Mr. Dalton Prout.  Prout has played some very solid defense, and the team is going to have a real quandary when Wiz comes off injured reserve.  The nice thing that Prout brings is a big physical presence that our defense does not otherwise have.  It is symbolic of Richards trust for Prout that he was seeing ice time in the 4 on 4 overtime period.

4, 5, 6.  My last three cold frosty beers are for re-alignment, and the Eastern Conference.  These 10 o'clock games are killers.  It will be nice to minimize these beasts, to a single visit a year.  I'm dreaming of 7 o'clock starts.

The Jackets just battled away, killed the penalties, but couldn't muster an offense.  As far as being out worked, yes in the first, no in the third, and maybe a draw in the second.  I'll call it a draw.  Since the CBJ are the road team, and have the rules stacked against them, I'll give them the nod for outworking Vancouver.  Tough tenacious defense and stellar goal tending eked out a precious point on the road.  But you have to score to win, and the CBJ didn't.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

NY Times on John Davidson, Blue Jackets

I generally don't make a point to push specific news articles in your faces, but this is a unique one.

First, it's The New York Times talking about the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Through an admittedly New Yorker lens, granted, but this is Big Time exposure for the team.

Second, co-conspirator Morgan and the DBJ blog get mentions in the article.  Big "w00t!" to Morgan and us.  I can't speak for Morgan, but I'm flattered that the DBJ blog is being mentioned as a source of information related to the team.

Third, it's a very, very "eyes wide open" article.  The team has a ton of challenges, largely due to history.  That said, the fundamentals of stable franchise ownership, the high-quality Columbus community and the small but rabid fanbase suggest that the only thing holding the Columbus Blue Jackets back is the team itself. That's why Davidson is here.

A darned good article by Ken Belson.  Go read it

DBJ's six-pack for Game 32: Nashville

Nashville 5 - Columbus 2
13-13-6, 11th in the Western Conference
11th overall draft pick (and 14 & 21!)
The Columbus Blue Jackets rode into Nashville with their 12-game "no regulation loss" streak on the line and...ran into a buzzsaw against the host Predators, falling 5-2 in regulation at Bridgestone Arena.

This is perhaps the key moment of this season for the Blue Jackets.  Whether they come back - and by that I mean roar back to a position of stifling defense, strong goaltending and just enough offense - will have repercussions far beyond April's playoff seedings.

We just saw a pivot game of sorts, one where the dynamic of the streak was tossed on it's ear.  The question is whether the Blue Jackets can pivot back.  I'm dubious.  They have a dozen of their last 16 games on the road, and those road games aren't all played in Calgary.  There are tough teams laying in wait for a Columbus team that wins only when most everything goes right.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Snark Blue Jacket's Six-Pack for Game 31: The Atlanta Flames

Columbus Blue Jackets 5 - The Calgary Flames 1
9th in the Western Conference

The Blue Jackets look to continue their 11-game point streak tonight at Nationwide Arena against the visiting Calgary Flames.  The city was buzzing and every bar was packed full, but not for the Blue Jackets.  The Friday Night crowd of 13,853 (I'm resigned to this number being PAID attendance) fans belie the fact the Ohio State Buckeyes Men's Basketball team had a NC2A tournament game against Arcadia Barber Academy.  Always a bridesmaid...  But, those daring enough to show up or tune into the Blue Jackets game were in for an enigmatic goal scoring bonanza the likes of which haven't been seen this season leading the home town Jackets to a 5-1 victory.

Each Flames player will be crushing one of these
on the bus ride home.  Or, if you're listening to Bob McElligott

1.  The first beer goes to the Blue Jackets forwards.  Thank you for showing up tonight so that Bobrovsky didn't have to play out of his mind in order for the team to stand a chance.  Before finishing that beer, remember to pack the power play scoring on this upcoming road trip, or Tim Leroy and staff will be fitting you boys for a new set of Callaway's the end of April.

2.  Jared Boll and, this beer's for you.  I actually went a whole night without seeing anyone make fun of you on twitter.  Nice goal, a real NHL goal. 

3. And Nick Foligno, PBR Me ASAP.  Two quick goals were the dagger in the heart for the team formerly known as the Atlanta Flames.  I got up to get a beer came back and you had scored a couple of dandy goals.  I can't believe you were able to walk in on your first goal like you did.  The Flames had FIVE players in the Red Zone and you still were able to walk in from the half boards and get one through the ewoks (get it?) on Kipper.  The second goal was great work off the cycle.  I have no idea what the hell the Calgary defense was doing on both your goals, both times they had FIVE players in the red zone and you score.  It was very nice to see your line capitalize on terrible dzone coverage by Calgary and snipe one home from the high slot.

4.  Anisimov, this can of Calgary Flames Turnover Ale is for you.  What a HORRIBLE pass by Calgary in their dzone coverage.  What I particularly like about this goal is you shot the puck on net immediately.  You didn't over stick-handle, you didn't pass it to Dorsett.  You shot the puck quickly and banged it in off the post from the high slot.  I am a sucker for shooting from the high slot.  It's what I teach my pee-wees.

5.  Coach Richards, I'm buying you a beer the next chance I get.  The forecheck was a little more aggressive tonight as it should be against a struggling Flames team.  I liked that you stepped up the pressure on a team you should be able to beat.  I'm going to come out and say it - the forecheck needs to be a little more aggressive like it was tonight and the team needs to enter the zone with the puck on it's stick.  I know the Flames are a mess right now, but a little more of what we saw tonight will add to this team's confidence. 

6.  Curtis Glencross for Dick Tarnstrom.  Thanks Howson for giving me Dick Tarnstrom.  My Dick Tarnstrom has gone away, but so has Curtis Glencross.  But it still stings...

Were the Blue Jackets out worked?  For more than half of the game no, which rounds up to a full no.  The Jackets looked good, but let's call a spade a spade, the Flames sucked from here til Tuesday.  Kiprusoff was spot on in his 2011-2012 Steve Mason impersonation.  I'm not gushing over this win, but I am satisfied by it nonetheless.  The Blue Jackets won a game in which they were expected to win.  I can't remember a time in recent memory before this point streak where that's has happened.  I am very satisfied that this team is at a point where it can readily beat teams it's supposed to. 

Tomorrow Night is a must win game IN REGULATION for the Blue Jackets.  Tomorrow will be a playoff like game for both teams.  I hope the Blue Jackets take some of the added pressure on the forecheck from tonight and blend it nicely with a responsible neutral zone transition game to compliment their constricting
(if not clogging) dzone coverage.  But I will get on the dead horse I've been beating for 6 weeks, the Power Play has to get better before I start thinking playoffs.  The team is going to finish 12 out of it's remaining 18 games on the road and it HAS TO score more on the power play.  If the team does make it to the playoffs, power play scoring is the key.  Any sort of chance the Jackets will have is on the Powerplay.  The are capable of scoring on the power play, but they must find a way to execute.  The shortened season doesn't leave a team much room to work on special teams.

Tune in tomorrow to see if the Jackets can keep this dream alive...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

You, too, could be a winner! (Really!)

If you haven't heard, the Columbus Blue Jackets sent out their annual Season Ticket Holder renewal email today.  Included with the financial incentive for early renewal is a continuation of last season's raffle contest to encourage REALLY early renewals.

The prizes are pretty cool, top-heavy with trips to Eastern Conference cities for games, jersies and meet 'n' greets with CBJ leadership.  The trip on the team jet is the primo prize, followed immediately by a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.  And people do win...amazingly, my ticket buying buddy and I won the trip to the NHL Awards in Las Vegas last year.  So hear me now and believe me later: If you're seriously considering getting/renewing your season ticket package, do it NOW.  It really does pay off.

But that's not why I'm writing this.  I'm writing because of the small print.

You see, you don't need to buy season tickets to enter the contest.

You just need to be a lurker.  Or a pest.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

DBJ's six-pack for Game 30: Nashville

Columbus 4 - Nashville 3
12-12-6, 4th in Central Division, 10th in Western Conference
12th overall draft pick (and 16th & 24th!)
The host Columbus Blue Jackets welcomed one of their longtime nemeses, the Nashville Predators as part of the CBJ's long farewell to the Western Conference.  A determined effort for all of two and most of the third period saw the Blue Jacket prevailing, 4-3 in regulation, at Nationwide Arena.

Yes, CBJ Fan.  That's 11 straight games with at least one standings point.  A 7-0-4 streak.  No losses in regulation.  We're deep into team record territory.  And remember, Chicago had a 24-game streak and made the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Word is out that the Blue Jackets are "tied" for 8th place, placing the team in playoff position.  From a raw points perspective, that's true.  Problem is, the two teams tied with Columbus, San Jose and Phoenix, have played fewer games (SJ-2, PHX-1).  So while the team is "tied" for 8th, they're sitting in the 10 slot right now.  Despite that cold water, Columbus undeniably sits in playoff contention.  That in and of itself is amazing and worthy of celebration.

Monday, March 18, 2013

March Madness

Screen cap taken this morning:

Four points out of sixth. Four points out of 15th.

It's Madness, I'm telling you...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Morgan's Six Pack for Game 28: Phoenix Coyotes

Blue Jackets 1 - Feenicks Kaiyotees 0 -F/SO
11th in West
Ten.  That's the number of consecutive games in which the Columbus Blue Jackets recorded a point.  That, dear friends, is a considerable and by all accounts a respectable points streak.  But as I sit down to type this with my 75 calorie per cookie box of Samoa's, I feel a bunch of different emotions.  Elation, disappointment, fear, and hope - all at the same time - that's what a 0-0 game after 65 minutes will do to you.  Taking nothing away from Columbus' well earned victory, I enter the very unfamiliar territory (at least as a Blue Jackets fan) what this team must to do help it's surging goaltending, Sergei Bobrovsky.  The Blue Jackets cannot start playing playoff style hockey now as they will become bruised, battered, and beaten.  To be honest, it's not really playoff hockey, although it looks like it (cut out the mistakes with the puck and add a credible power play and you have playoff hockey).  Tonight's game had the feel of a National League pitcher's duel to it.  This one was weird because it felt like each team played the entire game with a runner on third.  Whether it was good pitching, solid defense, or the offense's inability to score goals, I mean hit, the game went into extra innings 0-0 with neither team able to bring home the runner from third.  But after the extra session, the Jackets wasted no time in the shootout making sure Bob earned his shutout.

Friday, March 15, 2013

DBJ's six-pack for game 28: Chicago

Chicago 2 - Columbus 1 (Shootout)
10-12-6, 12th in the Western Conference, 22nd in the NHL
9th overall draft pick (plus 13th & 20th!)
With NHL realignment approved earlier today, the Columbus Blue Jackets closed out their final Central Division series with the Chicago Blackhawks by giving the fans a spirited overtime game, falling to the visitors, 2-1, in the shootout.

That's nine straight games with at least one standings point, a team record.  Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that such a streak would come from this crew?  Hats off to Todd Richards and the coaching staff for getting this roster to buy in, and to the players for putting their personal glory on the back-burner in favor of winning as a team.

I had the pleasure of taking in the game live, which always offers a unique perspective on the game.  This time, however, I had the Dark Blue Kiddo in tow...and taking a toddler to an evening hockey game is a whole different experience.

Despite being at the arena tonight,
I only caught about half of the game.
Does that mean I give out a 3-pack?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

(A small case of) NHL realignment remorse

It's going to happen....the Columbus Blue Jackets are headed to the Eastern Conference.

Of course, it's CBJ Luck (TM) that makes our 7PM start time dream come true in the same year that the boys finally thrash the Detroit Red Wings in the head-to-head series.

Detroit's on a pretty serious downswing, and it could be argued that Columbus is positioned to be on quite the upswing with Davidson, Jarmo and the gaggle of high draft picks.  So why not switch conferences and split the CBJ and Wings off into separate divisions - just when the tables are finally turning?

Sigh.  We'll always have 2013...

(Bring on the East!)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

DBJ's Ultimate Season Ticket Holder Package proposal

I spent part of the morning filling out the Columbus Blue Jackets' season ticket holder satisfaction survey, and it got me thinking about things related to attendance, tickets and renewal of my particular package for next season.

As background, I renewed as early as I did last season in no small part due to the fact that obtaining a season ticket package for this 2012-13 season meant that I was guaranteed a seat in the all-star game festivities.  We all know how that turned out.

So, given the fact that there will be no All-Star Game enticement this time around, what will it take to get season ticket holders for next season?  The team has been below the playoff qualifying line all season long - often in the NHL's sub-basement, although it appears that they're clawing their way back to something approaching respectability - and the bloom is being held on the rose only through the purge of hockey operations management.  That's enough to keep this fan hanging around, but it's fair to wonder if it's enough to make me interested in dropping another big check when I could instead grab seats on a per-game basis.  So what's it going to take?

The Blue Jackets appear to be fishing around on the same point, asking for relative preferences on things like player/team access, merchandise, special events and the like.  But as I was thinking through their list, an idea came up - one that they didn't mention.  So let me take a stab at something I would find acceptable if not downright exciting: Shared Risk - A partnership between the Columbus Blue Jackets and their fans.

Permit me to explain...

Morgan's Six-Pack for Game 27: Vancouver Canucks

Columbus Blue Jackets 1 - Vancouver Canucks 2 - F/SO
Do we still blow this team up?

What a wonderful Tuesday night in Columbus.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average, a commonly accepted gauge of the economy's health, is at all time highs and so are the Blue Jackets consecutive games of earning a point.  Now I have Rita Coolidge's less popular James Bond song "All time high" stuck in my head.  Good thing that United Artists thought the name of that song should be called 'All Time High' and not "Octopussy" because then this post would have gotten weird.  Anyways, with spirits high 14,852 fans descended upon Nationwide Arena to see a perennial regular season contender in the Vancouver Canucks try to put an end to all things streaking.  Starting next year, CBJ fans get to see less of teams like Vancouver and more teams like the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders.  Hoo-Ray.  But tonight was about living in the moment and basking in the glory of a legitimate winning streak.  But could is last?  Were the underlying economic principles really there to keep this rally going?  The Jackets clawed their way into a shootout, but wound up giving away the extra point to Vancouver in the shootout on a shot that, quite frankly, shouldn't have counted.

Bond:  Who are you?
Female pilot: My name is 8-game point streak. 
Bond:  I must be dreaming.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Winning Ways or Lucky Days?

Despite the feel good, “Glad to be a Jackets fan” attitude sweeping through the fan base, the Columbus Blue Jackets still find themselves in a very precarious position.  Despite being 4 points from a playoff spot, the CBJ also find themselves 4 points from an all-too-familiar 30th place in the league.  The current point streak of 7 games, where the team has gone 5-0-2, is still overshadowed by the abysmal start to the season.  Still, as a Blue Jackets fan you can help but feel good that John Davidson’s big gamble of a marketing pitch “We will not be outworked” is actually coming to fruition.  But how long can it last?  Are the Blue Jackets playing a brand of hockey we can hope to see every night?  To me, there are three components all working in favor of the Blue Jackets the past seven games.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

DBJ's six-pack for Game 26: Detroit

Columbus 3 - Detroit 2 (Shootout)
10-12-4, 12th in Western Conference, 22nd in NHL
9th overall draft pick (plus 19th and 21st!)
Again wearing the wrong sweaters (this time the home blues for an away game), the Columbus Blue Jackets trekked up to Detroit and defeated the host Red Wings in a shootout at Joe Louis Arena.  It was the Blue Jackets' fifth straight win.

The season series with the Red Wings is over, and the Blue Jackets won it for the first time in their 12 seasons of NHL hockey.  Better yet, it was a 4-0-1 record.  Not even close.

As for the character of the game, it wasn't anything like the spectacle that yesterday's shutout win at Nationwide Arena provided.  No, it was a workmanlike road win, one where the CBJ had to outplay not just the other team but the home team-influenced refs, the crowd, etc.  It's just harder to win on the road, making the win all the sweeter for what it was.

A series win demands a full six-pack!

DBJ's six-pack for Game 25: Detroit

Columbus 3 - Detroit 0
9-12-4, 14th in Western Conference,
6th overall draft pick (and 15th & 16th!)
The Columbus Blue Jackets, wearing road whites for some odd reason, hosted the Detroit Red Wings in a matinee at Nationwide Arena and, after resurfacing the ice with the Wings in the second period, locked the game down in the third en route to a 3-0 shutout win in regulation.

Because that's what
friends are for.
Permit a little in-house business first, folks.  I took a week off to work on my Irish suntan (mission accomplished), and co-conspirator Morgan and DBJ blog alums Greg and Alison combined to deliver four awesome - and unique to each of their great personalities - six-packs in my absence.  I am eternally grateful to these three as my life has been "just a tad" crazy since the simultaneous arrival of my 2nd and 3rd offspring.  It was time badly needed on my end, and my friends did much more than just keep the lights on here at the blog.  Share a six-pack, you three, and make it some good stuff!

Now, today's game.  Take a moment to marvel at this...

I'm glad that circumstance forbade me from blogging this recap immediately after the game because it took a little while to sink in.  And I think I can best characterize this plastering of the Red Wings as nothing other than an Enema Game.  You know, one of those games where all the vitriol and bad juju is expelled...leaving you with a combined feeling of exhilaration and relief.

Think about it: In the 12 seasons of CBJ hockey, the team had NEVER won a season series over the Red Wings.  That ended today.  And it wasn't just that it happened, though.  It was HOW it happened.  This was a rout.  It didn't start that way, but it sure ended up as a rout.

A rout.  A rout of the Detroit Red Wings.  Damn.  Is it the End of Days?

We can go back and forth about how the Red Wings are a shadow of their Stanley Cup-accumulating selves of years past (They are), but that's not important today.  For as I find myself reminding all the fans of Jared Boll specific players on the Blue Jackets roster, it's not about the name on the back.  It's about the logo on the front.  And the boys with the Ohio flag draped over the star sent the boys with the winged wheel home with their tails between their legs.

Enough of the emoting, let's get on with the distribution of beverages.  And while I don't profess to have the extensive beer knowledge of, say, Greg or Morgan, I'll try to keep pace with special beers for today's special people.  My friends raised the six-pack bar, I tell ya!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Alison's Six Pack for Game 24: Vancouver

Vancouver 1 - Columbus 2 (OT) 8-12-4, last in the West  

Hi everyone, the eternal optimist, and finder of silver linings, Alison, is back with one game recap while the esteemed Gallos is on IR and Tom is enjoying a well deserved vacation. I'd like to echo comments earlier in thanking Tom for welcoming me back to attempt to hold up the standard of the six pack recap.

I was leery of tonight's match up versus the ever strong Vancouver Canucks, but the promise of John Davidson seemed to hold true for a third straight game when an entertaining and hardworking Blue Jackets team handed a 3rd in the West team an overtime loss. That brings the Blue Jackets to a three game (three game!) winning streak with a five game point streak. I'm not touting dominance, but it certainly is nice to see the tremendous effort on-ice being rewarded in some fashion. As of this writing, just for kicks, I'll tell you we are 4 points out of 8th place in the West. My goals for this season aren't playoff focused, but it's an interesting stat in a compressed season. It's also a unique commentary on a team that is searching for 'all star skill' and and identity.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Snark Blue Jackets Game 23 Six-Pack: Edmonton Oilers

Blue Jackets 4 - Edmonton Oilers 3 - F/SO
Stil Last in everything

If you are on social media in Columbus, you are probably already familiar with the theme of the day that gripped the attention of every Blue Jackets fan: the looming Winter Storm. Every ten minutes people checked the weather app on their phone to see when Winter Storm Steve would strike with a lethal dose of snow.  (I have no idea what this winter storm's name is, so by the bounds of DKM Hockey's Podcast, I went with Steve).  Twitter was on fire with tweets about the looming storm, the peril it would bring, and a couple tweets about Jack Johnson.  Somewhere nestled in the the multimedia firestorm, a game against the Edmonton Oilers also lurked.  The last time the Oilers came to town the Blue Jackets heaved 40 shots on net and got themselves a loss.  The crowd of 14,952 at tonight's game got their money's worth:  ups, downs, close calls, bad calls, OT drama, a shootout and even a goal tending change. Not a bad night for a hockey game and a great Blue Jackets win.  Very satisfying indeed.

I will do my best to again follow in the footsteps of Greg May with my stellar beer selections tonight.

All due respect to Greg May.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Morgan's six-pack for Game 22: Operation Colorado Avalanche

Columbus Blue Jackets 2 - Quebec Nordiques 1 - F/OT
Three game point streak and still in 30th place.

The Columbus Blue Jackets played host to the visiting Colorado Avalanche in a wonderful Sunday afternoon matinee at Nationwide Arena in front of 13,778 partisan fans.  I happened to be one of those 13778 folks cheering for the home crowd today.  There were a few Avalanche fans in the building, but they were few and far between.  The game was exciting and frustrating at the same time.  Exciting that the Jackets were in the game all 60 minutes and you had the feeling that at any minute they could score.  It was frustrating in that the Jackets lack of scoring touch really kept the team from putting away the Avalanche early.  The game had the feel of a mid-summer five hit National League baseball game that went 12 innings.  Tonight's game was certainly a game of bounces, both team's first goals were fluky in nature taking the game into overtime at one goal a piece.  But the Jackets ended the game with authority on Anisimov's beauty of a shot from the right circle.

Glug, Glug

For this recap, I will follow in the steps of the great Greg May and designate beers worthy of special accommodation to the players, coaches, or things earning them.

1.  Artem "MF" Anisimov, this Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout is for you.  That's right beer snobs, I brought out the big guns early.  Artem took a shot off the lower-body in the first period.  He dropped like a wounded dove, but tried to get up and skate off under his own power.  Aided by teammates, he left the ice and headed for the dressing room.  He would return to the game a little while later, and as we all know, score from his magical spot, the right circle, winning the game in OT.  #GallosStrong

2.  Todd Richards, this can ofSchaeffer's Light is for you.  Not sure why you put two of your top three goal scorers on the 3rd line tonight.  Sure, this win probably masks that, and Prospal did see some extra minutes with Anisimov going down, but still.  If they're scoring, put them out there often.  I know the team is down a couple centers, but still get your scorers out there a little more often.  And if you're going to put Letestu and Prospal together, give them a better finisher than Dorsett, pleeeeease.

3.  Ryan O'Reily, this Bud's for you.  Thanks for the 'own goal' buddy.  I'm glad you could sign your contract and make to this afternoon's game in time to tap one in for the CBJ.  The Avalanche certainly aren't the CBJ killers of old.  And a stick tap to Jay Feaster for not effing up this win for the CBJ either.

4.  Vincenzo Prospal - This Bell's Two-Hearted Ale is for you.  If anything else, you've shown us that good things happen when you put the puck on net and don't get cute with it.  The goal from the corner against Dallas and the redirection off of O'Reily's stick tonight are good examples.  If you can get the puck to the net, why the hell not.

5.  This tasty Sweet Water IPA is for the Blue Jackets Power Play.  I'm going to ignore the first 5-on-3 power play as it was brutal.  I have been harping on how this team needs to get better on the power play in order to start winning games.  The team has great heart, it does not have great hands, and the power play is crucial.  The Jackets found a way to score on the power play tonight and guess what?  The Jackets won.  This is a good start.  Keep it up.

6.  Jared Boll, here's a nice Iron City Beer for you.  Not specifically for your fight against Bordeleau, but for allowing me this talking point.  Bordeleau's hit on Nikitin was, on it's own, a clean hard hit.  However, it was not a necessary hit.  Hitting a guy shoulder to shoulder while he swings the net ends one way - with a guy going head first into the boards.  Fans were enraged that a penalty was not called on the hit.  The hit was a clean hit.  However, Bordeleau in that situation did not need to hit Nikitin the way he did.  There are situations in hockey were you expect to be hit.   Does that make Bordeleau's hit a dirty one?  No.  But there is a rule that just because you can blow a guy up, doesn't mean you have to - and this is one of those instances.  Boll came out and did exactly what needed to be done on the next shift - held Bordeleau accountable.

The Jackets skated hard all game, right out of the gate.  Golobeuf and Prout looked good tonight on defense.  The team's hard work showed on the fore check and the breakout, although entering the zone left a little to be desired.  The Jackets were not outworked this game.  I romanticize how this game would have gone with a legitimate scorer on the ice, but alas, the hard work did get the team a win.  Hockey Jobu allowed the Blue Jackets a 'happenstance' goal of their own after the Avs got themselves a wonky one in the second.  The Jackets hard work kept the game close.  Simeon Varlamov gets an honorable mention tonight.  You made tough saves look easy and kept the Avs close too.  But, you didn't miss a chance to act like a French Canadian goaltender and make the easy saves look tough.

Tonight's game had a gritty feel to it.  The Jackets were skating hard all game, but finally had some purpose after the Boll fight.  I like the home win, and I expected a CBJ win tonight.  Early in the first period, from my seats in 107, we watched Dorsett miss on two prime scoring chances.  One actually beat the goalie but the puck game off his stick funny and sailed across the crease.  I like Dorsett and his hard work gives him opportunities to score.  But the team needs to start finishing on it's chances.  The Blue Jackets hard work kept them in this game, and a well-earned lucky bounce gave the the opportunity to take the game into OT.  But they have GOT to find a way to bury those pucks.

The Jackets next game is at home against the youthful and defenseless Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.  The Oilers have youth, speed, and scoring ability but they bring with them a men's league defensive corp.  If the Blue Jackets are going to be competitive in this contest, they have to exploit the weak back-end of the Oilers.  The Jackets are likely down another defencemen and they are now going to have to score consistently to pick up a couple of points Tuesday night.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

@gregin120's Six Pack for Game 21: Chicago

Chicago 4 - Columbus 3 (OT)
5-12-4, last in the West. first in 1 goal losses
The Blue Jackets traveled to Chicago to take on a Blackhawks team with nary a regulation loss, earning at least a point in each of their first 20 games. The Blue Jackets . . . . well, let's not beat a dead horse. This game was a gross mismatch on paper before it started. It got worse when the puck dropped as the Blue Jackets were forced to play the first ten minutes or so with five d-men. But they don't play the games on paper. And even though the CBJ dressed an even more inexperienced team than the one that battled these same Blackhawks to a 0-1 loss five days earlier, they showed up to play, and then some. Staying true to form, the Blue Jackets lost another one by a single goal, falling to the Hawks 4-3 in overtime.

Before we start throwing beers around, I'd like to thank DBJ for the privilege of subbing in to do the Six Pack for this game. Also, I'd like to point out that I didn't just bring any old six pack with me for this gig. I brought an assortment of beers that I hand picked for the occasion. OK, fire up the beer cannon.

1) This first beer is a bottle of Blue Moon Vintage Blonde and it goes to Vinny Prospal. Vinny put the Jackets up 1-0 a mere 31 seconds into the game for his 250th career NHL goal. It also moved him to within four of 750 career points. The goal gave the young (and getting younger) Blue Jackets a big confidence boost that would carry them well into the second period.