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Blue Jackets Links

Downed by the Blackhawks, and a goalie with a martian mascot on his helmet. Film at 11.

Friday, March 30, 2007


When words fail you, simply turn to YouTube.

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Shooting for the best position in the standings ever?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Remember; objects in rear view mirror are further than they appear.

10th place, hoooo~!

Edit (3:55 PM EST): Oh, you know, I had something of a scenario that I thought I would ask people to chew on for a little, after some thought concerning the Blues and the Blue Jackets season series "split" after last night.

Obviously when it comes to winning and losing, this was a split series. Both teams won four games apiece out of a total eight. But in a sport like hockey, where we have a point system depending on who wins, when they win, or when someone loses in a game, it doesn't seem right to just simplify season series like that.

Three of the Blues' four wins came in the shootout against the Jackets. As a result, the Blue Jackets notched an additional 3 points from OT/SO losses, which is then added on to the 8 points they received from their own 4 wins. So the total standing points each team grabbed in the series?

Blue Jackets: 11
Blues: 8

Of course this also goes both ways. The Jackets and the Red Wings are tied at 3 wins apiece right now, but because one of Detroits' losses was in the shootout, they still hold the advantage in the season series.

I understand that for the sake of the average fan, explaining such intricacies of the point system can be a bit of a task. But is it not fair to be more accurate when describing a season series' results, to help fans better understand the system, and possibly also make them realize that a split series is, in reality, not always a split series?

Okay. I'm done.

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Podcast of the Ohio - Podcast #1.

Sunday, March 25, 2007
So here it is. My very first podcast!

It isn't anything I'm really proud of. Honestly, having never done anything like this before, I sort of waffled here and there, so forgive a fubar or two in the MP3, alongside the possibility that I could have picked some better topics to touch on.


Since I lack any sort of file host, just follow the directions at Megaupload. Type in the code at the top right, wait 45 seconds, then download. Simple as that.

Now I have stuff I must do! Go Jackets!

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Polar Bear Friday?

Friday, March 23, 2007
In hopes of taking the focus off of my week-long vanishing act (I've been busier than a bee), I give you a polar bear cub.



I must get ready for work now. I hope to have time to talk about this week sometime tomorrow!

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I could really go for a coffee right about now ...

Sunday, March 18, 2007
I would have preferred that we went out of the playoff hunt (the mathematical one) with a roar and not a whimper. But apparently asking for that was just too much.

Going in to the game back on Friday against San Jose, the Jackets had to either lose two game, or the Flames had to win two games (or a combination of the two) to be mathematically and 100% eliminated from the playoffs. Even though Mirtle's "95 points or bust" standings guide says the Jackets were "eliminated" ages ago, just keep in mind that we may very well see both conferences have #8 seeds that either just barely make the point total, or even end up below it due to a combination of reasons. Not that that would've been enough for the Jackets, or anything.

But I'm straying off topic. The Blue Jackets have now been officially eliminated from the playoff hunt as of last night, when the Jackets were backhanded like a backtalking woman by a misogynous man by the Kings. Brian Boucher was, unfortunately, very poor in net. A soft goal to start things off, followed by a power play goal while the Jackets were reeling from a 5-on-3 due to some rather suspicious penalty calling by the referees, who dolled out the minutes to Alex Svitov as though he'd just won the penalty lottery.

Maybe my opinion can be changed about giving him 19 minutes in penalties if one thing is clarified for me. Svitov wasn't simply given an instigator penalty coupled with an unsportsmanlike, but the scoresheet labels it as Instigator - face shield. I'm going out on a limb here and assuming that this means he picked a fight with someone who had a face shield on, or ripped off the guy's helmet despite their having a face shield. Would I be correct or not?

(Thanks, Sarah and Drew. You can't really argue with something as clean cut as "you can't pick a fight unless you drop the visored helmet." Though, still, 19 minutes all at once ... something seems off about that. In fact something about the reffing the whole game seemed off.)

To an extent, I don't blame Svitov for going at Dustin Brown the way he did, especially as I watched the end result of Brown's hit on Rusty Klesla, wherein Klesla all but writhed and threw himself around on the ice for several seconds after that board check given to him, before finally laying motionless. But to go flying across the ice like that just begged some sort of additional penalty beyond just fighting.

While Fredrik Norrena can be given some slack for coming in cold after a long game against San Jose the night prior, he still has to play hard, and play smart. Both goals against Norrena were shoddy, and that's even keeping in mind that one of them was on the 5-on-3.

It's unfortunate, but this is the first Blue Jackets' game since early in the season that I actually just turned off after a certain point. It became evident that this wasn't going to end with any miracles, or any kinds of amazing comebacks. I really felt like it was for sanity's sake that I turned off the TV, put on some music, and simply went to bed after seeing this team go from a rousing (but still futile effort) against a 'better' team like the Sharks, to something so bush league against the Kings. Something so ... undisciplined. So wretched, to say the least.

There was only one silver lining to be found last night, and that was in the play of the Nash/Platt/Zherdev line. After finally relegating Svitov somewhere else thanks to the slew of injuries causing regular line mash-ups due to Sergei Fedorov now playing both defense, Platt was again given a chance with some high quality forwards. He didn't disappoint, potting two of the team's three goals, along with an assist on Nash's goal. Zherdev didn't notch any goals, but assisted on all three, the last goal with about a minute left in the game a very pretty back pass to Platt, who came flying in to the zone from the left of the net.

Well, make that two 'silver linings', actually. For all the hemming, hawing, and slack-jawed calling for Anders Eriksson (note: if you ever see me being snarky about comments towards Eriksson, nine times out of ten it's a direct response to the "Bubba hate" I almost religiously see of him at the CBJ HFBoards) not to be with the team next year, he continues to pad his +/- and prove that he isn't a washed up "Bubba" just yet, now sporting a +8; ahead of the next best rated players (David Vyborny and Platt), who are just +3. While everyone is enamored with first round picks such as Klesla, or young guys like Marc Methot and O.K. Tollefsen, Eriksson just quietly has done his job.

Feh. I shouldn't be up this early on a Sunday. I need to go find something constructive to do.

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Live ... blogging? What is this "live blogging" you speak of?

Friday, March 16, 2007
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

You know, I haven't done a liveblogging of a game since, if I recall, last year's Western Conference Finals, when on a whim I decided to liveblog the last game that the Anaheim Ducks and the Edmonton Oilers played before the Oil headed off to the Stanley Cup Finals!

So, I figure ... Hell, why not now, right? I'm not sick anymore, I have a nice comfy living room to crash in, and a giant TV to oogle while writing. Let's see if I can't do something worthwhile.

Go easy on me and my piddly liveblogging skills, folks. I bruise like a peach!

==10:20 PM EST (pre-game show)==
Man ... the behind the scenes of the Joe Thornton commercial is really amusing me. Who knew the nuances of screwing up toast were so complex?

==10:35 PM EST (commercials)==
Oh, Hitch ... to see you have to do Haydacy Automotive commercials ... it's so painful. In fact, seeing any Jackets' player do those commercials is more painful than even the worst loss.

==10:38 PM EST==
Oh, God, what the Hell! It's like the camera is all washed out! ::Gouges eyes.:: The ice seems so ... off-white. The picture itself at the HP Pavilion seems extremely weird.

==10:41 PM EST (17:12 (1st) remaining)==
Jeff Rimer
referred to the Jackets as the Panthers when talking about Doug MacLean. I wonder if anyone would ever consider tracking how often Rimer calls the Jackets the Panthers over a full season, starting next season.

==10:46 PM EST (14:07 (1st) remaining)==
Man, what a close call. And what a load of bunk that that Sharks player knocked the net out of its moorings when there was such a perfect opportunity for a shorthanded attempt. But alas, it's obvious that it wasn't intentional, and was simply a slip of the skates.

==10:53 PM EST (10:31 (1st) remaining)==
Watching as Svitov flubbed the pass by Vyborny, I get the feeling that is what I was concerned about when he was back with the top line for a few games. True, Veeb's pass could have been more on the tape, but he already did more than enough zipping the puck through a crowd from east to west in front of the net.

==10:58 PM EST (7:30 (1st) remaining)==
2 for 2 on the penalty kill against the #1 power play. So far, so good. I like what I've seen from Vyborny on the PK while manning the point during it.

==11:05 PM EST (3:02 (1st) remaining)==
Ugh. What a total letdown when it comes to covering your man. Tollefsen just didn't have the speed to keep up with Thornton, and that much was evident by the way he tried to catch him. What a mismatch.

1-0 Sharks.

==11:15 PM EST (1st intermission)==
I don't really understand the fire and pitchforks that I seem to see from certain regions of the Blue Jackets' fanbase which want Anders Eriksson off the team faster than a Road Runner on speed. He's one of just a few defensemen with a positive +/- standing, even considering his low point output. He's a UFA at the end of the year, and I know I wouldn't mind seeing him return. In fact, I'd be all for it. True, he doesn't score, and he isn't as speedy as some of the younger blue line. But he actually knows how to play D, which says a lot for this team.

==11:29 PM EST (18:10 (2nd) remaining)==
Holy crap! What a save! No, I mean, what a pair of saves! Norrena deserves all the credit in the world for both of those!

... !*&@ ... another penalty on the Jackets. Damnit, Methot.

==11:34 PM EST (16:10 (2nd) remaining)==
Cheechoo
, you twit. Way to go hacking at Norrena. You deserved a lot more than just a minor scrum and then a penalty.

... argh! Fedorov! I know you were being pressured a little from behind, but that was such a gaping wide open net on the odd man rush! You need to put those away! That could've been the tie-breaker!

Incidentally, the clock apparently is malfunctioning. So it's hard to give any definitive time in the game at the moment until it's fixed.

==11:49 PM EST (7:04 (2nd) remaining)==
Well, the Jackets are trying hard, but right now it doesn't seem like it's enough. Give Aaron Johnson credit for playing as hard as possible, and there's been a couple prime opportunities for the team so far. They've continued to play a moderately strong penalty kill, so give them credit for fending off the best PP unit in the league so far.

They just need to score, is all. Toskala is just back from injury ... take advantage of any shakiness.

==11:53 PM EST (5:45 (2nd) remaining)==
Penalty on the Sharks for a trip on Shelley. The Sharks didn't seem too happy about it, and the penalty did look a bit shaky. Then again, Shelley doesn't seem the type to intentionally klutz around on his skates to draw anything. Then again, maybe that pugilistic demeanor is all a clever ruse! Oh my!

==12:00 AM EST (1:39 (2nd) remaining)==
Man, just this team's luck that they're somehow dominating on the shot co--

... fucking fucking fuck. What a horrible, horrible goal to give up by Norrena. Even factoring in his stupendously amazing, miracle saves earlier ... what a horrid goal to give up. How could you give up such a wretched goal?

Sigh. 2-0 Sharks.

==12:06 AM EST (2nd intermission)==
Man, Johnson seems to always be on lightning in a bottle whenever he's interviewed.

==12:21 AM EST (18:22 (3rd) remaining)==
I can't help but be unable to shake the feeling that the bad goal against the Jackets at the end of the last period deflated the team a little too much. I hope it's just me being excessively pessimistic.

==12:35 AM EST (9:50 (3rd) remaining)==
Tic ... toc ... tic ... toc ... closer we come to the shutout record clock.

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HELP WANTED! (NHL Entry Draft Post)

Monday, March 12, 2007
Before I go to curl back up in bed after coming down with a bit of "teh snibbles" (that and a very dry throat), I wanted to ask my Columbus readers if they would like to help me out with a part or two on my NHL Draft post.

I'm looking for some firsthand accounts of what some of the many restaurants, bars, clubs, and other places both in the Arena District and Easton Town Center are like. Me just giving very non-specific details about some of the places (such as Gordan's) would just not do them justice, and since I don't have the time (and definitely not the money) to go gallivanting around and experiencing some of these places for myself, what better way to get some additional commentary about what to do around Columbus than by asking ... well ... other Columbus-ers?

So feel free to respond to this post or the draft post with some detailed or in-depth impressions about any place in particular you feel is worth mentioning in either place. Or even a place that may not be in these two areas, be it in the Short North, around OSU campus, or elsewhere. I'll be sure to give credit to all who help me out!

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[Insert random title here]

Sunday, March 11, 2007
I found myself further vexed, as I watched last night's game, at the fact that Geoff Platt continued to be relegated to fourth line duty ever since Alex Svitov returned.

There's really only so much I can say about that situation before I go in to the blame game, or start to question who is responsible for this decision. While last night I did say that this was Hitchcock's move, I have to consider the possibility that other powers in the organization might be behind giving Svitov more time.

Remember earlier this year, when Joe Motzko started to receive a lot of praise from Hitch after being called up. It was only a little bit later that Motzko was traded away, along with Mark Hartigan, to the Ducks for Zenon Konopka and Curtis Glencross.

Remember that Svitov is a draft pick ... a high one at that, even if he was picked by another team (Tampa Bay). More is expected of Svitov, and so he might be given more opportunities to shine. I won't discount the possibility that this may all very well be a matter of Hitch's decisions, but I can't help but question whether Doug MacLean had a hand in this. This is all just presumptions and theories, of course ... so don't this all too seriously.

The point is that leading up to the Stars game, that top line was working so well. Why try to fix something that wasn't broken? And more suspicious is the fact that not only was Platt dropped from the top line, but that he was dropped to the fourth line, alongside Jody Shelley. That makes this whole situation even more curious. If he's scoring a goal and getting assists, why do that? Why not put him with some other scorers like Nikolai Zherdev or Fredrik Modin?

Well, there isn't much else to say about that, I guess. I can only hope that there's some method to this madness.

As for the game? I don't know. To tell you the truth, half of my attention was elsewhere, but the other half was on watching the game. And what I saw when it came to the two goals against the Jackets was frustrating. The first goal by Paul Kariya was a direct result of more than one miscue by Fredrik Modin, both in coughing up the puck, then not properly playing the puck in his own zone.

The other goal annoys me more, though. The one that David Legwand got. Legwand was all but left totally unmolested in front of the net. Admittedly, Legwand all but came streaking right in to the zone, and in less than five seconds of flashing across the screen from the neutral zone, he looped around the net, and knocked a rebound in past Fredrik Norrena. But even factoring in Legwand's speed, no one even tried to pick him up. Marc Methot was too busy diving to the ice to block a close shot, and so he never had a prayer when it came to getting up, and doing anything about the rebound.

Other than that, well ... it's already painful enough that the Predators, the hated expansion rivals, have swept the Blue Jackets this year. If anything, you could say that this is the most perfect, most prime example of the gap between the two teams in their development over the years. Where the Predators are threatening for a Stanley Cup, the Blue Jackets are threatening to take over Jack Niclaus' golf course here in Columbus yet again.

A couple of one-timers before I set to work trying to better update the draft post, and then watch tonight's NBC game.

-I was mistaken about FSN Ohio picking up the game against the Blues on March 25th just to be nice and help out. Or rather, they're still doing it to be nice and help out, but contractual obligations require FSN to now drop a game so that they continue to air only 75 games this season. The game they're dropping? This Wednesday's game at Anaheim.

I don't know. I don't really like that decision, to not air an away game, but pick up the home game. Now CBJ fans are stuck having to listen to 1460 The Fan or CD101 if they want to hear anything on the game. And while George Matthews and Bill Davidge are one-of-a-kind when it comes to their coverage of games, it's still not enough for the visual aspect that we'll be missing.

-On Friday, we happened to get some new types of memorabilia sticks in to sell at The Blueline! A month or so ago we'd run out of our other sticks, which were two CBJ sticks and two NHL Draft sticks (wooden, and a goalie stick and forward stick for each type). I'm not trying to advertise them, but I really like these sticks. Why? Because they have the Union Army cap logo on them now. There's also this new font used to write out "Columbus Blue Jackets" on the shaft of each stick, which I find really appealing. Which brings me to my final comment today ...

-With the retiring of the Jackets' "CBJ" logo at the end of this season (and the switch to the third jersey logo), what happens with the font that is used when writing out the team's name on things such as the jerseys, and on their helmets, and the like? For those not sure about what I'm talking about, I'm referring to this:

If the "CBJ" is being retired, it only stands to reason that this way of writing out the name would also be retired ... maybe. I know I'd like to hear about whether or not there'll be a change in the team's font use when writing out the name, just because I really liked what I saw on our new wooden sticks.

But that's it for me. With no games until Wednesday (and then no games I can even watch until Friday), things might be a little quiet. But that also means an opportunity to finally work on my draft post. Hurrah!

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Game #69: Blue Jackets at Predators

Saturday, March 10, 2007
Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Record: 27-34-7
On the road: 12-18-3
Last 10: 4-4-2
Bloggers and local media:
Death Cab for Woody
End of the Bench
The Jacket Times
Jackets tie odious shutout mark - Columbus Dispatch (Portzline)





Synopsis:
Painful. And that's not even meant to describe how I feel after a late night and then an early wake-up this morning, either. After this post, I'm most likely going to lay down after some cardio exercising.

But, yeah. 3-0 loss to the Stars, and there's really nothing to say about last night. Believe me, I'm trying to come up with some sort of snappy comment, or name someone who deserves criticism ... and honestly, most everyone I saw on the ice gave a ton of effort. In the end, they were simply beat by a superior goaltender in Marty Turco, who looks to have gotten a spring back in to his step after shutting the Blue Jackets out, and 'helping' them to tie that dubious (I prefer my word over Portzline's use of 'odious', so hah!) mark of 14 shutouts in a season, tying an NHL record ever since the league grew in size by double.

The three different goals that the Blue Jackets gave up involved a comedy of errors. Once again, it's worth pointing out the wretched penalty kill, which allowed the Stars to go 2-for-5 on the power play. I believe this is the ... 10th straight game they've given up at least a one power play goal, now? The other goal was a total lapse of judgement by both Sergei Fedorov and Nikolai Zherdev at different points during the Stars' scoring of said goal. Fedorov all but pansy-wristed the puck on his backhand, and not getting any air on it, handed it right over to Jussi Jokinen and Jere Lehtinen. Meanwhile, Zherdev all but lackadaisically glided in to his own defensive zone, which gave his man -- Niklas Hagman -- all the time in the world to fire it in to the net, no matter how fast Fredrik Norrena might have tried to go side to side.

There is one other thing I want to mention ... and while I've been singing the praises of
Hitchcock since he first arrived, I just can't find myself agreeing with his decision to bump up Alexander Svitov to being between Rick Nash and David Vyborny as the game wore on, despite the fact that the team was down a goal. It isn't even so much that I find Geoff Platt to be the superior centerman compared to Svitov for the top line at this time, but also that this was Svitov's first game back since a mild concussion. I don't feel he was prepared, and while I understand Hitch's desire to shake things up and see if anyone gets a fire lit under them as a result, it just seems to have backfired more than anything else.




Team: Nashville Predators
Record: 45-18-6
At home: 24-5-4
Last 10: 6-1-3
Bloggers and local media:
No blogs.
Forsberg practices, could return soon - The Tennessean






Synopsis:
That nap I said I was going to take? I'm taking it now, as I am way, way too tired to continue. Sorry, folks. If you want a Predators' write-up, go check out some Predator blogs.

... OWAIT! They don't have any! HURRRR! :-p

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Game #68: Blue Jackets vs. Stars

Friday, March 09, 2007
Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Record: 27-33-7
At home: 15-15-4
Last 10: 5-3-2
Bloggers and local media:
Death Cab for Woody
End of the Bench
The Jacket Times
Rookie holds his own with video-game stars - Columbus Dispatch (Gordon)





Synopsis:
I literally have little to no time to even be writing this up, but I feel like I'd be giving AotO too much neglect if I didn't even put up a couple of thoughts on tonight's game. The thing is, my dad is currently visiting while he's in Columbus for business, which means that available time to take care of pre-games, post-games, or even random babbling has been greatly cut in to.

Not that I'm upset that my dad's here. No, that makes me happy! It just becomes a matter of trying to squeeze things in between when he is around and when he's busy with his work.

Okay, so, thoughts on tonight's game that won't take forever to write, right? Rick Nash, David Vyborny, and Geoff Platt are looking to continue their scoring tear, with 12 points between the three of them in 3 games. Zenon Konopka and Curtis Glencross were both sent back to the 'Cuse, in lieu of the probable return of Alexander Svitov. Alexandre Picard has also been recalled, and looks to get a bit of time during this final stretch to show he's beginning to fit that first round pick mold.




Team: Dallas Stars
Record: 38-23-5
On the road: 17-13-3
Last 10: 4-3-3
Bloggers and local media:
Razor With an Edge
Andrew's Dallas Stars' Page

Dallas Stars - Dallas Morning News (reg. required)





Synopsis:
Still think Daryl Reaugh is awesome. Still think Tim Cowlishaw is awesome. Still hate the South on principle (don't worry, my hate isn't based on the "Southern states don't deserve hockey" crap). Find it humorous that the Stars have now gone four straight without a win (0-2-2), with three of four losses coming against teams completely out of the playoff picture (Panthers, CBJ, and Blues). Possibility that Mike Smith might get the nod to start in net tonight due to Marty Turco having a bit of a swoon right now. Look for Dallas to come out swinging not only because they want to desperately snap out of this slump, but also because the last thing they need is to drop three straight against the Jackets this season. That'd certainly be a cause for frustration for a team that's supposed to make the playoffs without a hitch (pun not intended).

TWO NON-GAME RELATED INQUIRIES:

1)
I got a new microphone! Actually, a pretty good one ... connects to one of my USB ports and everything. Only problem is I don't know about what a good (and hopefully free) program would be to make a podcast with. Sound Recorder on Windows isn't exactly ... well ... the best thing to use for something like that, but I'm sure most everyone already knows that.

Direct me to a program! Someone! Anyone!

2) For some reason, my site meter (link at the bottom most right) is broke. It's now told me for 48+ hours that I haven't had a single visitor, and this is even including myself. Does any one else who uses this type of meter seem to be having similar problems?

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Queen to G-2; checkmate.

Thursday, March 08, 2007
And suddenly, the Jackets are streaking again!

In a way, it's funny. Injuries cripple several Jackets players, and suddenly with what amounts to about a fifth of the team being Syracuse call-ups, they're winning games and doing it with style. It's true that you could chalk it up to youthful enthusiasm when it comes to guys like Geoff Platt, Zenon Konopka, Marc Methot, and the like ... but youthful enthusiasm and a desire to make the team next season doesn't automatically mean you're talented, nor skilled enough to make it. What these kids are doing is with their skill, and with the extra minutes and opportunities to be put on the right lines next to the right people.

Before I continue, let me just let everyone know: you all remember NHL Hitz? The NHL's and Midway's attempt at making up a game for the NHL a la NBA Jam? And how it revolved around 3-on-3 hockey?

... real 3-on-3 hockey is anything but. I got to admit, the about 2 minutes, give or take several seconds, of 3-on-3 hockey that happened at intervals throughout the overtime was interesting to watch, if only to see how the players would react. The thing about it is that you can't really do much, no matter if you have the puck or not. On the offensive side, you can't pressure with two men due to the fact that you could easily be caught with a 1-on-1 going down the opposite end of the ice as one opponent hangs out and watches a possible point man. Worse, you could end up with a 2-on-1 against your team. It literally becomes a game of Chess, and trying to outwit the opposing players without exposing any opportunities against you.

But how about that Platt kid, eh? His first goal in the NHL, and it's one helluva doozy. A bit of tic-tac-toe with David Vyborny and Rick Nash as they burst in through the offensive zone, Nash goes flicking the puck towards the net, and just at the perfect time, Platt goes falling face-first towards the ice as he's tripped up, stick making contact with the puck, and in it goes.

I've been praising Platt as far back as the pre-season, where I was ready to literally choke someone unless he made a roster spot opening night. After having just two shots on goal that night and playing over 15 minutes without notching a point, Platter was sent back to Syracuse until a couple of games in November, then yet again sent away until January for a trio of games. Now, with the exception of not playing in the game against Nashville on February 25th, Platt has hung around for five games since his most recent call-up. And having been placed alongside dependable Vyborny and star Nash, he's become like a missing link to a puzzle with these guys.

Don't assume that my praise for the spritely Platt means I'm disregarding the smash-mouth style of play that Alexander Svitov brought when he was placed with Veebs and Nasher. However I feel that the most chemistry I've seen out of anyone alongside these two has come from Platt, who has now had a hand in 5 of Nash's 46 points, and 5 of Vyborny's 58. You can't ignore something like this. And while Svitov and Vyborny have done moderately well working together when you see how often Veebs has had a hand in Svitov also getting an assist or a goal on a play, he hasn't clicked on the scoresheet once with Nash. That could most likely be Vyborny's natural ability to set most anyone up, though.

When Svitov returns, hopefully Friday against Dallas, the big question will be where is he slotted? If I was a betting man, I'd say he starts off with Jody Shelley and Curtis Glencross on the fourth line to break him back in after his mild concussion issues, then it's a matter of seeing if he'll click well with Jason Chimera and Manny Malhotra on that speedy third line, or if he'd be better off somewhere else on another line. Either way, Konopka is most likely going to be the odd man out, just based off of position.

Continuing with the topic of injuries, several players are as good as shut down for the rest of the season. Dan Fritsche will have to continue letting that nasty tendon cut heal, Adam Foote could very well stay out as well due to his sprain (and Methot's been doing a fine job as call-up from Syracuse with an assist and a +2 rating in 5 games so far, so give the kid more time to show his worth), Bryan Berard's been instructed to bow out due to back pain complications, Duvie Westcott's concussion symptoms continue to dog him and have done so for too long now, and everyone already knows that Pascal Leclaire has been given a permanent spot in the press booth while he recuperates his knee, which nagged him even after his return a few weeks ago.

All in all, the Jackets are finally learning how to beat the teams they should have no problems dispatching. There's still some mild concern in the way that the team allowed both the Coyotes on Saturday, then the Kings last night, to storm back and pull ahead 2-1 at one point in each of those respective games, and that is a matter of working on consistency. While a win is a win, especially when you work hard for it, the Jackets have to find a way to work on both their second period snoozes, and the stress-inducing penalty kill that has now let a goal in for at least nine games straight or so now.

Before I wrap up, I just thought I'd share a thought I had earlier this morning while browsing YouTube. Although I'm sure it'll be removed sooner or later over copyright issues, I found a clip of one of the scenes from Gettysburg ... in fact, probably the best scene when it comes to dramatic battles, save for Pickett's Charge. The scene involves the battle at Little Round Top:



I can't help but wonder about if they'd ever show something as dramatic as this during late-game rallies or charges, if they could somehow pick just the right moments in this scene to show to the crowd at Nationwide. I know I get chills watching this scene alone.

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One-timer Tuesday!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007
With the Jackets having a whole three days off before they return to the ice tomorrow evening against the Los Angeles Kings, I just thought I'd throw out a few things going on in the CBJ world before I run off to take care of some errands tonight. Some are just little things, while others are pretty important in my opinion.

-Congratulations to Drew at End of the Bench for his great interview with Michael Arace of The Columbus Dispatch! I definitely like the questions you asked Mr. Arace, and he seemed more than happy to respond to each and every one of them. Maybe I should see about pestering Aaron Portzline for an interview so that both beat writers are covered, eh? Eh? Yeah, I kid ... still, picking at a team beat writer's mind like that was very enlightening to read about.

-Though I'm reporting on this a little late, there's still two hours before the Hats for Heroes Night at three BD's Mongolian BBQs around Columbus starts. Go to help out pediatric cancer, but stay for the all-you-can-eat food and Blue Jackets' players to meet! Jody Shelly and Dan Fritsche will be together at the Arena District location, while Ron Hainsey will be at Sawmill and Fredrik Modin will be at Easton. Poor Hainsey, stuck out in Sawmill like that.

-The game which was canceled on NBC that was going to have the Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues on March 25th? It looks like FSN Ohio is going to be picking up the ball on this one, and though they're under no obligation to tweak their schedule of programming, will indeed be covering the game. Even if I won't be able to watch it since I'll most likely be working at it, FSN deserves credit for that move. Puck drop has been rescheduled for 6:00 PM EST, as a result.

-This one comes straight from me, just from having some discussions with some people at The Blueline. First and foremost, I've been led to believe that the original rumors about the jerseys being changed back to home whites/road darks around the league are true, and will begin next season. John Buccigross, in his most recent column, confirms this fact.

Then there's something else he confirms that I had heard while at work before, but wasn't sure if it was definite: there will be no alternate jerseys next season. A shame, I know. I guess Reebok (or RBK) decided that to get the best amount of sales for their jersey products, they had to reduce the amount of new jerseys they would be making in the first couple of years. Financially, it makes sense. Make everyone buy the home/away jerseys first, then two to three years later, introduce "BRAND NEW!" alternative jerseys that people jump on, now that people aren't scratching their head at the various options available and only buy one.

And that's all I got for today, folks. Now go find something else to read. Might I recommend some Kurt Vonnegut?

It's over 10,000! ... hits!

Wow. So apparently sometime last week I hit 10,000 hits. So about 1,000 visits a month on average? Considering I'm no James Mirtle, Eric McErlain, or Paul Kukla, I got to say I'm pretty damn happy with that!

In response, I'll do what many of my geekier, more artistic friends do when their DeviantArt accounts hit a certain milestone ... post a picture!:


As for who drew the picture? Certainly not me. I can't even draw a stick figure properly. Credit goes to my good friend Yapi, who did this for me back around January.

Also, did you know that apparently SportsIllustrated.com likes me so much, that they've been linking to me on their CBJ team page? Yeah, how about that?

I have some stuff I need to take care of today, so I'm off. I apologize for not updating the NHL Draft post like I said I would yesterday, but I've had my hands full with other things. I promise I'll get to it soon!

This morning we dine in HELL!

Monday, March 05, 2007
Courtesy of Kukla's Korner:



THIS ... IS ... (not) SPAAAARRRTTAAAAAAAA~!

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CoyotOWNED!

Sunday, March 04, 2007
So I'm talking with my best friend's ex-girlfriend as I type this, just to see how she's doing. She recently moved to Canada, and she's going on and on with the giddiness of a schoolgirl about how hockey is so accessible there, and how now even she's getting in to hockey thanks to that. Additionally, apparently Tim Horton's is the Dunkin' Donuts of the North, except better ... by a mile.

Sigh.

But I shouldn't be so morose! I should be happy! The Blue Jackets finally beat a team that isn't in the playoff hunt for the first time since January 16th, when they managed to take down the Blackhawks in overtime on VERSUS ... since then, they had gone 0-6-1 against teams equal to, only slightly better then, or worse than them. Talk about your miserable droughts of miserably misery. In that same span, the Jackets proceeded to go 8-3-2 against teams that are in the playoff hunt or currently holding down a spot. I mean, wow ... that's insanity off the charts. That's just plain inconceivable, in the words of one favorite character from The Princess Bride.

Because in the grand scheme of things ... and I hate to rain on the parade of last night's hard-fought win against the Coyotes, if the Jackets had won just five of those games? They'd be 2 games under .500, and 9 points out of the playoff picture. Not that I would have expected them to make the playoffs even if they were within that distance of the 8th spot, but it puts some serious perspective on what could have been if the team hadn't thrown all these games against equally awful teams.

... I'm sad now. :-(

Ah well. Let's give a round of applause to Brian Boucher, who notched his first win since he, in an ironic twist, shut out the Jackets in November 1-0, and by affiliation sent Gerard Gallant on a one-way trip to the press box, where he now comfortably sits alongside Doug MacLean and 'scouts' the team. Although Boucher showed some real shakiness at times -- in particular when he flubbed on an only slightly screened shot from the blue line during a Jackets' penalty kill -- he managed to keep the ship steady for the most part. By the way, props on the "red tape" mask. I wouldn't be against him keeping that instead of re-painting the thing, if he decides to during a possibly short stint with the team until the end of the season.

Besides goaltending, it looks like we've finally found a bit of chemistry between some players. With Alexander Svitov out with what is apparently a mild concussion, feisty yet spritely Geoff Platt was nudged right up to the top line between Rick Nash and David Vyborny, starting with the game against Dallas on Friday. The results have been near-immediate, with Nash grabbing two goals in the 'Yotes game while Platt and Vyborny got assists on both goals. Prior to that, the line showed some energetic promise against the Stars, even though they came up empty.

Meanwhile, Manny Malhotra and Jason Chimera are once again clicking with one another, with Gilbert Brule thrown in as well. Brule now has two assists in two games, and both Manny and Chimmer have a goal and an assist in the same span. Also, Fredrik Modin has 5 points in 5 games, starting around just prior to the official public announcement of his re-signing. As long as Modin doesn't just pack it in now that the season's a wash and he has his money, he's O.K. in my book. But he needs to continue to prove that he's worth every penny he's now been signed to for the next three years.

On one final note of interest, there was an interesting note made in a recent article in the Edmonton Sun, where Bruce Garrioch muses aloud (thanks for posting that on your blog, Paul!) about the possibility of former Philadelphia Flyer's GM Bob Clarke coming to Columbus next season in the event that the trigger is pulled on the gun pointed at GMDM.

It's a little early to be making any judgments about such an out-of-left field comment, but maybe if more talk comes up about it in the near future, I might have to take some time to weigh and pros and cons of Mr. Clarke bringing his style of general management to the Blue Jackets, and whether it'd be a smart idea or not.

Before I go, I want to let everyone know that I should have an update to my NHL Draft post up sometime within the next ... 30 hours, I'd say. So stay tuned, as I'd like to continue laying things out and giving better information.

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Game #66: Blue Jackets at Coyotes

Saturday, March 03, 2007
Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Record: 25-33-7
On the road: 11-18-3
Last 10: 3-5-2
Bloggers and local media:
Death Cab for Woody
End of the Bench
The Jacket Times
New goaltender brings storied past - Columbus Dispatch (Portzline)





Synopsis:
So ... we won a shootout? Color me impressed.

I'm also impressed with Hitchcock sticking with his claim that he would put in the top players from the shootout drill during the practice prior to the game against Dallas. Or rather, maybe "impressed" isn't the right word ... or more specifically, I'm impressed with Hitch sticking to his guns. Either way, when you have Jason Chimera as one of the shooters, there's no way you're going to lose, right? Though Chimera has only taken part in the shootout twice in the past two seasons combined, my one lasting image of Chimmer in the shootout is from last year, where he deked the pants out of an Edmonton goalie with a move similar to what he did last night against Marty Turco. Kick the skate up, feign the shot, slide to the side and snap it through a sprawling goalie.

Just as impressive was the totally unexpected hero of the shootout, Fredrik Norrena. I've hardly been sparing when it comes to criticism of Norrena in the shootout, so I had no optimism or glimmer of a silver lining as the shootout began. But Norrena definitely earned two thumbs up as he stopped all three shots against him, especially the last one against deadly shootout specialist Jussi Jokinen.

For all intents and purposes, Jokinen had Norrena beat ... it looked like he would be easily sliding the puck past Norrena on his left side as he skated to Norrena's right. Norrena, however, immediately extended his goalie stick, and although he missed the poke-check of the puck itself, he had enough power in that poke to weaken Jokinen's attempted nudge of the puck to the net, and as a result the puck sailed wide.

So now the Jackets are at 57 points on the season, and they're facing the team they're tied with in the standings tonight. Norrena, who earned himself a rest, will be on the bench as newly acquired Brian Boucher takes on one of his former teams. Some of you might recall Boucher's five-game plus shutout streak, a modern NHL record, in the 03-04 season. After that, though, Boucher's career began to slowly circle down the drain. When the lockout ended, Boucher posted one of the most abysmal GAA's I've ever seen in just 14 games of the 05-06 season (3.97 in Phoenix with 11 games, and a 4.94 when with Calgary later that year for 3 games).

Boucher's one win this year? As recounted in the above linked Dispatch article ... it was against the Jackets, and a shutout, which ended up being the icing on the cake that would result in Gerard Gallant's canning. It's a small world, after all.

Adam Foote was injured in last night's game and looks to be out for at least a week or two, so it looks like either Aaron Johnson or Bryan Berard (who, having not been picked up by waivers before the deadline, is now traveling with the team) will be taking his spot. Berard, regardless of what happens in the final games, is gone with the wind at the end of the season ... so, in all honesty, it's probably best if Johnson gets the nod, so he gets both more experience and a chance to make up for lost time, after being scratched during much of Berard's return to make room for him.

Current Syracuse roster call-ups with the team? Geoff Platt, Zenon Konopka, Adam Pineault, Marc Methot, and Curtiss Glencross. Pineault did not end up playing last night, but you never know ... maybe he'll get a shot tonight. Although Platt has played with a lot of energy and Konopka certainly brings the hits, maybe one of them will be given a seat in one of the suites tonight so Pineault gets a shot. Might as well make the trip with the team worthwhile for the guy, right?




Team: Phoenix Coyotes
Record: 27-34-3
At home: 14-13-2
Last 10: 2-7-1
Bloggers and local media:
Coyote's Corner
One Fan's Perspective

Thomas scores twice, but Coyotes fall - East Valley Tribune





Synopsis:
While I'm sure the Coyotes had a bit of fun adding on to the utter gloomfest in Edmonton after Ryan Smyth's trade to the Islanders earlier this week when they slapped the Oilers with a 3-0 shutout win, that's about all this team has had to be happy with as of late. With the exception of that win and an overtime win against the Flames on the 22nd of February, they've won no other games in their last 10. Prior to that? ... they shut out the Jackets in Nationwide, resulting in one of the bigger implosions of anger and frustration from the fanbase, considering how bad a of a night that game already was due to the blizzard weather, the half hour delay, and so on. I still remember how painful it was watching that, then trying to get home afterwards.

In their last 10 games, the 'Yotes have tallied just a smidgeon over 2 goals per game, and there's an even worse average when you go further back. The team recently unloaded enforcer Georges Laraque, and scoring forwards Yanic Perrault and Oleg Saprykin. In return, the team got a couple of 2008 picks in the second round, as well as an eighth round pick for this draft. Lastly, they got defenseman Brendan Bell, and forward agitator Daniel Carcillo. Neither player has played for the Coyotes so far.

The Jackets need to win this game to at least split the series this season. Though actually, it'd be more in the Jackets' favor, since one of their two losses was in the shootout. Nothin' says "In your face!" like splitting a series but still coming out on top when it comes to standing points, right?

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Game #65: Blue Jackets at Stars

Friday, March 02, 2007
Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Record: 24-33-7
On the road: 10-18-3
Last 10: 3-5-2
Bloggers and local media:
Death Cab for Woody
End of the Bench
The Jacket Times
Hitchcock holds shootout tryouts during practice - Columbus Dispatch (Portzline)





Synopsis:
You know, I can't help but feel a sense of ... apathy, towards the rest of the season. But it isn't so much a negative kind of apathy ... if anything, it's more like I'm just content to see how things run themselves as the season winds down, starting tonight with the first of the final 18 games in this crazy season.

I think one of the things that had me in more amused than angered spirits was a quote in today's Columbus Dispatch article linked to Coach Hitchcock, in which he was asked about the possibility of players such as Rusty Kleska, Geoff Platt, and Zenon Kopoka taking part in future shootouts due to how well they did in a shootout practice. Hitch's response?

"I wonder what the general manager is going to say when he sees these guys coming off the bench next time," Hitchcock joked. "He’ll need a rip cord on his way out of the press box."


Hitch certainly has chutzpah, to be joking so candidly while the team has hit a nasty stretch that has seen them slip-slide down the standings.

I have to say, though my mood has lightened, I'm still down about how bad of a trade deadline the Jackets had, and Doug MacLean by affiliation. I've already touched on my feelings concerning Anson Carter's trade, and it looks like Drew has a different opinion about the whole thing, or places his frustration quota in to a different aspect of MacLean/team management altogether. I stand by my position, however, that the team was fleeced by Hurricanes' GM Jim Rutherford due to MacLean's ineptitude at the bargaining table. How can players of equal to or even lesser value than Carter give their former teams better trade results when it comes to draft picks and prospects (a possibly inaccurate example, but an example nonetheless, would be Georges Laraque netting the Coyotes a 3rd round in 2008 and a prospect, despite a similar age and even less offensive output ... and I won't be taking claims of "He's needed as Sidney Crosby's personal bodyguard" as legit)? It makes my head spin ... moreso when you consider that Ty Conklin's trade to Buffalo resulted in an even sooner draft pick than Carter. And don't give me any of that "The 2008 draft is supposed to be several rounds deeper than this upcoming one", either.

Wow. I guess I went on a little longer than I expected.

As a couple of quick hits, Rick Nash managed to give the collective state of Colorado a near-heart attack when he one-man teamed the Jackets to a near upset of the Avalanche on Tuesday, scoring two goals in the final two minutes before time ran out with a 3-2 final score. Jody Shelley also scored his first goal of the season, and as a result got his first point of the season in a stirring but nonetheless futile shootout loss to the Predators on Sunday, when the Jackets came back from down two goals in the third period.

Fredrik Modin signed a new deal with the Jackets for three years, worth just shy of $10 million total. I'm glad Modin is staying ... but frankly, I'm not happy at the price tag, considering his season so far. Another example of MacLean overpaying veterans that may be on the downslide? Maybe ... but I'll cross my fingers and hope that Modin can change my mind before the end of the season. Lastly, Dan Fritsche is out after a pair of Predator skate blades went emo on his wrist, and sadly it looks like he might be out for the season due to the severity and depths of the cuts ... and to add insult to injury, Pascal Leclaire's knee issues have now sidelined him for the rest of the season. As a result, recently waiver wire-acquired Brian Boucher -- formerly a member of the Chicago Blackhawks -- will most likely be backing up Fredrik Norrena for the season of the season, but you never know if Tomas Popperle may get a call up or two just for sake of grabbing a bit of experience. I know I'd like to see him get some time up here.

And lastly, Adam Pineault has recently been called up, and Geoff Platt will be playing tonight alongside Rick Nash and David Vyborny, which should be interesting. So now there's at least four Syracuse regulars up with the team, when you also thow in Curtis Glencross.




Team: Dallas Stars
Record: 40-16-8
At home: 29-9-1
Last 10: 7-1-2
Bloggers and local media:
Razor With an Edge
Andrew's Dallas Stars' Page

Stars' Norstrom has time to adjust - Dallas Morning News





Synopsis:
As much as I hate the south, and as a result the Dallas Stars by association, there are two things I like about the Stars:

-Daryl Reaugh is awesome.
-Tim Cowlishaw, though he no longer covers the Stars to my knowledge, is also awesome.

So while the Jackets' were about as silent as a silent-but-deadly dose of flatulence during the trade deadline and the days preceding it, the Stars did add a bit of punch to their roster. In one of the earlier moves prior to the deadline day, the Stars added prospect Shane Endicott to their herd of future players, then also added prospect Konstantin Pushkarev and also assigned him to the Iowa Stars. The only real trade that the team made which results in both direct and immediate impact has been Mattias Norstrom, who was brought in to add a bit more responsibility to the blue-line. Actually, just going off of the fact that the Stars are both 2nd in goals allowed and shots allowed, I'm a little surprised that they feel the need to add some muscle to their defense. Then again, they're still an iffy 21st on the penalty kill.

The Jackets have actually, believe it or not, won their first game in Dallas ever this season, when they defeated the Stars 3-1. Can they go for two in a row over the Stars so far this season, and also two in the Lone Star State? Hopefully.

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"Rick" Roll
Created by Skraut

About Me


Name: Michael
Home: San Tan Valley, Arizona, United States
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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