Archive for January, 2015

27
Jan
15

Hit the Ground Running

462374456_slide(Photo from BlueJackets.com)

Much like the Jackets, I’m doing my best to get back in the swing of things. I was reviewing old blog posts and seeing repetitive things, good and bad, that bothered me. You might wonder what this has to do with tonight’s 4-3 CBJ win over the Washington Capitals. 2 times the Caps scored immediately after the Jackets, and by immediately I mean that Greg Murray hadn’t even finished announcing the goal scoring summary and Barry Trotz’s team was trying to kill our buzz. Many, many, many previous CBJ teams would have folded in similar scenarios and it seemed to be the story of the game. That is if you ignore the puck-hogging Ryan Johansen (in a good way), Corey Tropp flying all over the ice, and Curtis McElhinney gaining scads of confidence throughout the entirety of the game.

This may have been one of the most complete games of the year, I can say with certainty it was one of the most exciting. The effort put forth, the hitting, the back-checking, puck battles, turnovers, etc., it was probably a bit more enjoyable considering the last game in Nationwide Arena had none of that.

A couple additional thoughts:

  • Kevin Connauton again was good, full of skill and potential, but there are moments his inexperience shows, much more in the defensive zone than offensive zone.
  • The crowd tonight was surprisingly big (16,514) from what I have grown used to seeing in previous seasons on a Tuesday night in January.
  • SportsClubStats says the CBJ now have a 0.8% chance of making the playoffs. The interesting aspect is that the “get in” points are projected at 99 (!!!). I would be shocked if the total points needed doesn’t come down a bit.
26
Jan
15

The Stretch Run

Today was our first dose of “Life After the All Star Game”, and for those who enjoyed the snow day, it wasn’t so bad. Many others returned to the doldrums of their day job and received the mid-day news of Bob’s injury timetable (4 to 6 weeks). Not the greatest news, but expected after the injury in the last game prior to the break versus Winnipeg.

The injury to arguably the Jackets’ best player couldn’t have come at a worst time with just 34 days until the trade deadline. The other daunting aspect is the VERY steep hill to climb.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.08.26 PM

14 Points… 14 points and a tough stretch of games including a 5 game roadie to the Islanders, Flyers, Pens, Canadiens, and Rangers, and a fan “favorite”; a 3 game Western Canada trip to Edmonton, Vancouver, and Calgary in mid-March. The deep hole, rough schedule, and injury bug all come together to make all Jacket-Backers groan.

The famous Sports Club Stats gives the CBJ a 0.4% chance of making the post season, better than being 0.0%, right?

Sir Bob isn’t likely to return until sometime around March 3rd-10th, potentially well after the Jackets have completely fallen out of contention. Of course, someone like Anton Forsberg or Curtis McElhinney could have something to say about that, and it’s about time the injury bug bit another team in the Eastern Conference.

I was a beneficiary of the previously mentioned snow day and made the trip downtown to catch practice this afternoon. Completely outing myself here: the last time I attended a regular-season practice, Ken Hitchcock was still the coach. That being said, it was an absolute pleasure to see both Artem Anisimov and Ryan Murray back on the ice. Both looked quick and moved well considering the severity of their sustained injuries. The best part of practice to me was seeing the guys having fun. They know what lies ahead, they’ve been there, and every time we have seen the Blue Jackets with their backs against the wall, they’ve responded in a big way.

26
Jan
15

All Star Awakening

IMG_5822

Approximately three years ago, a major event set to launch Columbus onto the international hockey stage was announced, and thanks to the lockout, the event never happened. We were fortunate enough to be sitting in Nationwide Arena a little over a year ago to be pleasantly surprised with the awarding of the 2015 NHL All Star Game. An announcement that we, as fans, felt we had earned.

The 2014 season ended in thrilling fashion, spring turned to summer, lives continued to move ahead, and suddenly the leaves were changing and the Blue Jackets were back on the ice. The 2014-15 CBJ squad had limped to the mid-season break, the daily excitement of voting for our favorite Jackets’ players (seemingly in vain, thank Chicago and Latvia!) was fun, the new logo appeared and POOF, All Star weekend was here.

The entire event has blown me away. From Thursday’s Fan Fair “preview”, Friday’s Fantasy Draft, Saturday’s Skills Competition, and Sunday’s game, hockey and Columbus finally seemed to be going public with their budding love affair.

My hope is to talk about each of the events in some detail, suggest some improvements, and see what others thought too.

I am more in love now with hockey than I ever was before and it takes events like the All Star Game to re-energize fans, educate and recruit new ones, inspire young ones, and captivate an entire section of the media. As difficult as it can be to be a fan of the youngest team in the NHL, this made it all worth the thrills and chills over the years.

There are so many different things to talk about, and not enough time or space to say it all right now. I appreciate any thoughts, comments, and feedback anyone can share!




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