Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Morgan watches Game 34 vs The Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets 3 - Columbus Blue Jackets 2

It was a game filled with more aviation cliches than an Iron Eagle reunion tour at the Air Force Museum in Dayton.  There were more hashtags and tweets about grounding, no-flying, and shooting down the visiting Jets than a Monday night on twitter should see.  But in the end, *puts on sunglasses* it was the Blue Jackets who were slow to get off the ground.  They never really left the hangar until late in the game.  The offense really screwed the pooch.  As expected in any poorly played CBJ game, the refs caught more flak than a LeMay formation on a bombing sortie over Germany.

Oops, that's the right logo

Another excuse that got used more than the Righteous Brothers at Karaoke night was "The Blue Jackets are playing 5 games in 8 days."  Oh Dan Kamal...  5 games in 8 days sounds a lot like the schedule for the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  And hey, remember when the CBJ went 10-4-2 in 31 days this past March?   Next excuse, please.  These are the best athletes in the world  The CBJ are in the East now, the land of golden opportunity.

Who doesn't love when a hockey blogger takes
a Top Gun themed bathroom selfie for his own
snarky blog piece?
Every now and again I am wrong about things.  Like today, when I told a co-worker who was going to his first ever NHL game that tonight's CBJ v Winnipeg Jets would be a fast paced, up-and-down tightly contested game.  He's going to come to work tomorrow and never speak to me again.  The Jackets opened the game flat, leaking fuel as they sputtered down the taxiway to the end of the tarmac.  Admittedly, Calvert and Foligno spent some time in the penalty box after fights early in the game.  These were not 'energy' fights.  Both players sent Jets players awkward into the boards.  Neither play was dirty, but perhaps both a little reckless.  Two of the most skilled "energy"players miss a couple shifts in the opening stanza sitting in the penalty box.  A chance to set the tempo early on is likely missed.  Giving those two credit in their fights -  they did not fire until fired upon.  There's more Top Gun references, just you wait.  

Controversy and Rule 614 tweets abound in the closing seconds of the first period.  An uninspired CBJ squad are swarming the Winnipeg net.  Atkinson goes @$$-over-tea-kettle coming across the crease putting the puck on net, Calvert is bumped while crashing the net, getting his stick across Montoya's chest and right arm before being planted onto the crossbar as the puck squirts between the goaltender's pads - thanks to a secondary swipe from Cam.  With all the calamity in front, which could be described as either an E-league pile up or mini-mite swarm in the crease, the referee wastes no time calling the play dead and immediately signaling no goal.  With a zoomed over-head replay shown at 1/4 speed on the jumbotron a half dozen times, arm chair referees in the arena and at home are afforded the luxury of seeing an angle that doesn't exist in real time for the officials.  Of course we didn't see what the officials saw - duh.  It was certainly frustrating the goal was disallowed, especially since we get to see an angle the on ice official doesn't.  It's not a reviewable call, like off-sides, and the call on the ice stands.  Calvert violated the hard deck for this hop.  Goal disallowed.

Neither team looked good in the first, and really the second for that matter.  The Jets seem to pick up a little momentum after scoring a bang-bang goal when the Jackets failed to clear zone late in the 2nd period.  The Jets played with some momentum to close out the second periord, but playing sloppy themselves, were unable to capitalize on chances.  The third period saw the action increase, but in aviation terms looked more like two A-10 Warthogs lumbering through a dogfight.  Slow, ugly, and it was all stick-and-rudder.  The Jets score on a twice-redirected power play goal from the point to make it 2-0 in their favor.  Twitter could start blaming the refs when  RJ Umberger scores a short time later on a wrap around chance to make it 2-1.  And to all you aspiring youth hockey players out there, did you see how Umberger wrapped it far post and scored?  That's how you do it - wrap far post.  Well, at least that's how Phil Esposito says you should do it.   Not to be outdone, Evander Kane scores on an odd-man rush as McKenna does his best Andy Moog impersonation.  And a couple of driveway slush shifts later, Fedor Tyutin with his swollen beak jams home some slop to make it 3-2 and gives fans some hope.   I really can't describe the game any better than the last 60 seconds of regulation does.  It wasn't pretty.  The Jackets really weren't in the game, nor were they really out of it.  I'm just glad this wasn't a Nationally televised game.

The flow of the game was slow and sloppy.  Neither team felt the need, the need for speed. It was sloppy.  If you haven't caught on, I'm trying to say "Sloppy" more times that Jeff Rimer said "trap game" during the FSO broadcast.  Thanks Admiral Ackbar.  But alas, the game resembled two laden C-5 Galaxies slowly trying to claw their way into the skies, and not a sleek sexy F-15C v Su-33 dogfight we all imagined it would be.  Well, I imagined it would be a look down, shoot down game for the Jackets. Sadly, It had the feel of a cold, rain-soaked grass airfield in the Eastern Ukranie, not a Blue Angels Air show performance scored by Van Halen .

The CBJ forwards seemed to be suffering bit of jet lag, maybe they were running too rich.  I had hoped to see them go super-sonic after making adjustment during the 1st intermission, but it was not in the flight plan.  The Jackets forwards just couldn't get anything going once they gained the zone - they never really were in the Danger Zone.   If anything, it would be fair to expect the defence to be miserable.  Prout leaves the game early in the first and Tyutin leaves the ice for a while to get his face fixed, leaving the Jackets with just four defencemen for a portion of the game.  But the forwards couldn't get the cycle or the attack triangle going, and there was a lot of zigs when the they should have zagged.  The formation wasn't tight, wasn't crisp, and it showed.  The silver lining in this grey cloud was they had an off night against a Western Conference team, and this wasn't a demoralizing loss.  This game against Washington, Boston, or Pittsburgh could have gotten ugly early.  While there was certainly the missed opportunity to grab some free points from a Western team, the Jackets get to rest up for a home and home against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Notice how I haven't really said too much about the refs?  The "no-goal" was certainly frustrating.  It was not a reviewable play and from the ref's vantage point he sees usual suspect Matt Calvert crashing the net, putting a stick across Montoya's body ever so slightly before dislodging the net.  I am frustrated by the no call, only after being afforded the opportunity to see multiple times, in slow mo, from a birds-eye view.  Be angry at the league for classifying that as a non-reviewable no goal.  They can change that rule right after you change the "puck over the glass" delay of game penalty.  Don't be mad at the refs.  Write to your NHL Governor and have them lobby the Competition committee.  Admittedly, my opinion not to blame the refs swims against the stream of popular 'echo chamber' sentiment that the league's officials has it out for the Blue Jackets - said every fan base, ever. 

I missed the part where playing volleyball and whining about refs is butch.
I don't do either very well...
What I do have an issue with is the hooking call against Atkinson late in the second.  I don't understand how that is a hooking call in the NHL.  Not sure that's even a hooking call in the BTHL.  That was pretty weak, sure a stick touched Scheifele hands, but neither of those swipes impeded any sort of progress.  I know what referees are taught to look for there and they missed the basic fundamental portion of hooking - impeding progress.  But what really Makes Morgan Mad is the double minor for high sticking to Atkinson early in the 3rd.  Atkinson gets a double minor for high-sticking Trouba.  The extra minor is for a high stick that caused an injury to Trouba, but Trouba was on the ice for ensuing face-off after he was "injured."  This is not an indictment against a policy punishing the CBJ, but a rule I would like to see changed/clarified in the NHL.  There is no language in the NHL rulebook that says drawing blood on a high stick is an automatic double-minor for causing injury.  I don't remember how the stoppage occurred after the high sticking penalty.  If it stopped because Trouba was hurt, he should not have been on the ice during for the ensuing face-off.  If Trouba was on the ice, after drawing a double-minor for a high stick that caused an injury, was he really injured if he was able to be on the ice for the faceoff?  These two instances I just mentioned upset me when I am watching any hockey game.  It draws my ire today because they both happened during a CBJ game. 

I really don't know that the refs calls/non-calls affected the game more that the Blue Jacket's effort.  The Jackets couldn't clear the zone when they have the puck in the "100% zone" and it leads to the first Jets' goal.  The Jackets cough up an odd man rush and Evander Kane reminds Nationwide Arena there's an AHL goalie between the pipes making it 3-1.  Had the CBJ been playing ice-cold, no mistake hockey down to the wire, I'd secretly throw a #Rule614 on some tweets.  It's funny how rule #Rule614 tweets only show up during losses/losing streaks.  Not many #Rule614 tweets when the Jackets are up 4-0 or 6-0.  I'm probably not a big enough fan.  Maybe I need to do three blogs and two podcasts.  I take solace in the fact that games like tonight are the exception in Columbus these days.  The loss of Prout and temporary absence of  Fedor Tyutin complicated the flow of the defensive pairing.  Ultimately the play of the Blue Jackets is what determined their doom on this night.  All I'll need to watch is the last 60 seconds of this game to understand why the Jackets lost.

The Jackets will have their 6th game in 11 nights Thursday in Philadelphia against the turbo-prop powered Flyers. This series will surely feature the play of Steve Mason against his former team, a story line that will be discussed for sure.  I need some screen shots of Dan Kamal with eyebrows raised looking to his broadcast partner so that I can caption it - "6 games in 11 days."  Can you help me out with a sweet pic, RockmanHalo?

"Losers whine about the refs, winners go home and do naughty things with the Stanley Cup" John Patrick Mason in The Rock.

Now for my haiku

They waived off the goal
I got to see 8 replays
Rest - win the next one


  1. As much as I booed the refs in the arena, the bottom line is the team just didn't have anything. They need the reinforcements. So, meh. Let it go. We're still 3 points out of the playoffs. This team needs some people to come off injured reserve in the worst way.

    Reflecting on the last DKM Hockey Podcast, my own suggestion for speeding up the game:

    If you are on the power play, and you ice the puck, the clock should not stop. It should keep running while everyone assembles down at your end of the ice because your stretch pass didn't connect.

    What do you think? Fortunately it will never be a rule, so I won't have to moan when the CBJ do it.

  2. If you are on the power play, and you ice the puck, the clock should not stop. It should keep running while everyone assembles down at your end of the ice because your stretch pass didn't connect.
    Need For Speed Leather Jacket


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