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Blue Jackets Links

The top games of 2005-2006. The good, the great, and the best.

Thursday, August 10, 2006
Here in Columbus, we don't have Stanley Cups or age-old stories to talk about. Many memories are quite recent, and so more than often the focus on the team's accolades are measured in games more than anything else. Let's skip the waxing thoughtful and get to the games, though.

(1:39 PM edit, next day: Oh, right. Dur. Don't forget to go to the Columbus Blue Jackets website if you have a favorite game yourself and want to vote! Can't believe I forgot to mention that, since these were the games chosen by the CBJ as the top picks of the litter.)

October 26th, 2005: Nashville @ Columbus

Oh, I definitely remember this game. With only maybe 1-2 wins under the Jackets belt leading in to this game, Nashville was considered the NHL's Goliath at that time. Why? Well, the Predators had somehow managed to string together an 8-game winning streak that started on the very first night of the season, and was the only unbeaten team at the time. Expectations were certainly not high facing the division rivals from the Music City.

I remember that laser of a shot that Foote sent screaming past Vokoun just barely into overtime. Things were looking absolutely bleak due to the fact that the Jackets were on the penalty kill, and a 4-on-3 in Overtime tends to be a date with death. But through a great breakout, Foote and Todd Marchant applied pressure and won it all, and the team practically tackled ol' Foote in celebration.

December 26th, 2005: Chicago @ Columbus

Ugh. You wouldn't believe how frustrated I was that I couldn't watch this game. I was up in Cleveland on the 26th, and I am almost certain that we were actually on the road towards Massachusetts (me, my mom and dad, and my sister) to go to Nantucket for a small little post-relative Christmas break before going home (me to Columbus, and the 'rents and sister back to Jersey).

But even though I missed this game, there was still this year's highlight reel goal from our currently contract-conflicted Nikolai Zherdev which turned enough heads to get voted on as one of the best goals of 2005-2006 in a Nike poll (or was it RBK? Either way ...):

How can you not praise a goal like this? Let's ignore any speculation that the diving through the air may have been showboating (and while this might be heresy, Orr's "The Goal" just as much had the same kind of issue with the flying through the air being icing on the cake more than anything). Even with that in mind (and better replays did show Zherdev actually got a pad rebound just before he went flailing through the air), the guy sliced through that Blackhawk defense like a hot knife through butter. Dissect the play ...

1 Blackhawk on his tail, chasing him out from behind his own net.
2 Blackhawks cut right through and between just as he crossed the blue line.
2 more Blackhawks cut through as he cuts inside (though one of them was one of the previous Blackhawks)
1 more Blackhawks beat as he stumbles to turn and try to get him with a stick.
Lastly, Khabibulin is only able to stop the rebound while tripping up Zherdev, who goes through the air and deposits the puck in the net.

Eat your heart out, Ovechkin! Yeah!

January 14th, 2006: Columbus @ Florida

I feel rather awkward that this was put up as a choice, mainly because this game wasn't even aired in Columbus, if I recall ... and for some reason I can't recollect, I wasn't able to watch it on Center Ice. I still did my best to keep tabs on it, mainly because it was a game in which Leclaire was starting. It was around this time that I was beginning to mention the accolades and the praise I had of Leclaire, who made that franchise-tying 48 saves as he was peppered for a grand total of 52 shots.

Luongo? Just a pitiful 23 shots. Leclaire won that game for the Jackets, simply put. Even if 4 goals went in, he was hit with a barrage tantamount to me using unlimited ammo cheats in DOOM.

January 28th: Nashville @ Columbus

I went to this game. This was the first game at Nationwide Arena for my mom, who was down visiting for a little while before she headed to Cleveland to check up on grandma. The things I remember about this game are short and succinct:

-The penalty kill was atrocious.
-I wanted to strangle something (but not my mom, of course) as I watched that 2-0 lead turn in to a 3-2 deficit as the game went on.
-I am almost positive that one of our goals on Nashville that was registered for Vyborny was actually an own-goal that was given to us through some horrid flub by the Predators. But without recaps available online now, and with my mom and I are the completely other side of the arena watching, my memory is hazy.

February 2nd, 2006: Columbus @ Edmonton

This game was actually nothing much to talk about. However when the game happened, the Jackets were doing their best to extend their winning record into a franchise best 5 (though this was eclipsed later on by a 7 game winning streak). If I recall, during this streak, the Jackets never had a lead in the beginning. But that could actually be my recollections from the other streak later into the season). This was one of at least 2-3 consecutive 2-1 wins (or shootout wins) during that streak.

March 25th, 2006: Columbus @ Detroit

Heh heh heh ... eheh heh heheheheh ... ... ahahahahahahaaaa!!

Okay, okay. I'm sorry.

Back when this game happened, I was still just a random face in the FOX Sports Blog area, not getting any attention and just babbling to a group of people who normally couldn't care less about hockey. This is what I wrote about that game that very night around 2 AM in the morning:

The Aspiring Intern - Of comebacks, and David and Goliath

I won't deny it. I turned the game off after halfway into the second period, just feeling nauseous. Here the Jackets were, once again being beaten to a pulp by the Red Wings as always. I don't know what it was, but I turned it back on ... I guess I felt I should see this game through.

The rest is now etched in to Jackets history. No matter how pointless this game may have been, this had to be the brightest moment in a single game for the Jackets ever since they first started playing.

... though it almost became the second brightest after what happened a couple weeks later in Detroit. I tell you, after those two games? I swore to never turn off a game until the bitter end, no matter what.

(NOTE: The manical laughter is not of the mocking variety. It is of the kind I had when we won that game and I just about blew a gasket or two from sheer, euphoric insanity and disbelief. Honest!)

April 18th, 2006: Dallas @ Columbus

I went to this game as well, knowing that I just had to go to the Fantastic FANale even if the odds of beating the Stars weren't pretty good, even as they rested a fair amount of their top players.

What happened was just an awesome game, if extremely dramatic. After being up as high as 3-1 over the Stars heading in to the 3rd period, the Jackets all but began to crumble under the pressure. Soon it was 3-2, 3-3, and finally it was 4-3 in favor of the Stars. With hardly any time left, Hartigan got the goal we needed to force OT.

The icing on the cake? Fedorov getting his NHL-recird tying 14th OT goal (and obviously game winner) with a great shot that was sent right past Johan Hedburg. After that I stuck around for at least a half hour to an hour, as the Jackets and Adam Foote thanked the fans for the support this season, and a bunch of fans got the jerseys off the backs of the players that night.

All I got was a lousy frisbee. :-p But the person a row above me caught one with Fedorov's signature, meaning they got his jersey. Lucky sonuvagun.
  • At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    so sre you an inside info blogger, or just a fan blogger?

  • At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Keep this site updated all season and you can be the #1 CBJ blogger out there. You can do it dude.

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Name: Michael
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About Me: A mid-20s male who feels much too old even before he's 30. Has a degree in Sport Management and after branching out and trying a few other things in the job market, has finally decided to go back to his first love of hockey and hope he can break in with a team, big or small, somehow.
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