Thursday, December 22, 2016

First Place

Hartnell Hatty
Whoa.  The first game in a best of eleven (4 regular season, 7 playoff) went the Blue Jackets way, as they pulled away to a 7-1 win, answering Sidney Crosby's goal when he was loose in the blue paint (bad idea) with 7 (seven) goals to please a partisan home crowd immensely.  I found myself being apologetic to a Pens fan.  Really?  I thought your team would show up in the third period.

For the moment, before the New Year, the Blue Jackets sit atop the NHL, in first place.  It is not necessary, or likely, for this state to remain.  But it is a huge compliment to the players and their ability to play as a team, to be in this situation.

I love Scott Hartnell as a player.  I realize the challenges he faces as an older player.  But I thought I would never see the day when he would beat someone wide, yet we saw that tonight for a goal that opened the flood gates.  Wow Hartsey.  Just wow.  That stuff makes me feel awesome as a fan.  I can't imagine that the Penguins game plan sounded like " we know Hartsey will have a hat trick, but we'll get them in the ...."

No.  The third period was perplexing.  As a team, we should exult in a curb stomping of a high powered opponent, but we need to recognize that they will not collapse late like they did tonight, every time we play them.  They will represent themselves better in the future.  And those will be really fun games.

I had an outrageously good time tonight.  This was an example of amazingly entertaining hockey.  Strangely, Pittsburgh seemed unable to sustain that level.  This is not what I expected, and the Jackets capitalized on it.  I expect Pittsburgh to sustain their level of hockey excellence for a longer period in their next tilt.  The result of that, of course, remains in doubt.


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