The Blue Jackets season ended Monday night in front of a packed house of appreciative fans. We here at tUB wanted to take a few days to reflect on the season as a whole and now we come together to share our thoughts on what was, perhaps, the greatest season in Blue Jacket history. Here’s what our team had to say…
Columbus Blue Jackets
So, it’s finally happened. The Blue Jackets, riding a franchise-high 8 game winning streak finally succumbed to the inevitable and lost a game tonight. It’s amazing how fan expectations can change when a team gets hot. Early in November last year, the Blue Jackets were on a 3 game losing streak: fan resentment was climbing as the team looked like it would call it quits early on in the season…again. I wrote this little number in response to my mounting agitation to the naysayers and overall boohooeyness that I absolutely hate.
—————————–POSTED 11-04-13 ON FULLMENTALJACKETS.COM————————————
The Blue Jackets most recent loss was their third in as many games, but something seemed so much worse about this one then the other 2 before it. Do you know what that was? What made that loss so awful?
Do you really?
It’s been a tough road critiquing the Blue Jackets over the last ten games. Should I be acknowledging their convincing wins as playing to their potential, or are they showing up against opponents hitting the snooze button? Many in the Toronto realm seem to think that convincing loss was one of the worst performances by Toronto in recent history. Despite all the sharp edges around recent tweeting, I’m actually pretty optimistic about the team when they are off the ice, leading me to believe that none of their wins were flukes.
As of December 1st, Columbus is 6th of 30 NHL teams in man games lost (101). Somewhat dated on account of the game played last night, but it does show that while Columbus is averaging around 3.75 players out per game, and considering the caliber of players who have missed time (Horton, Gaborik, Dubinsky, Jenner, Calvert, Foligno etc), it’s no surprise that the idea of man games lost as a crutch for mediocrity would be used.
Well we couldn’t let a group of guys going after revenge get it without causing some nervous moments, but luckily the boys in Union Blue were up to the task tonight and beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 in Columbus. It’s a crucial two points, and yet another “up” in the constant yo-yo’ing this team is doing so we’ll see what happens tomorrow in Boston but for now, let’s look at tonight’s three stars (These are a lot more fun when we get to talk about Jackets)
Third Star: Sergei Bobrovsky
Can’t argue here. Bob faced 28 shots, and gave up two goals. He showed fairly solid play and was supported by a defense that seemed much more interested in helping him out tonight – well except for the third period when 8 minutes of penalty killing took it’s toll and resulted in one power play goal and one goal immediately after the power play expired. The first Bryz vs. Bob matchup showed Bob as the winner.
In the spirit of supporting the longest Blue Jackets’ road trip of the year, the Union Blue launched a challenge to CBJ fans to guess the three stars for the final four games of the five game trip. As a recap, here are the official three stars for each of the games involved in the contest as defined by the NHL: Edmonton // Calgary // Vancouver // Toronto
There was some fun and some up’s and down’s along the way given the team’s performance. As FlaggerX said, “on the road, one does not always get all three stars.” And that certainly was true.
- A total of 18 players received votes – guess that speaks to the ‘team’ mentality the Jackets have been trying to build
- The highest vote getter was Brandon Dubinsky, with 28 (!) So obviously a lot of ballots took a hit when he went down in Ottawa
- Both goalies got multiple nods
- Jackets received no star nods in Edmonton nor Vancouver, took one mention in Calgary (Foligno) and – finally – all three in Toronto
After the hole Columbus dug themselves during losses to Edmonton and Vancouver, I was ready to see another convincing loss against Toronto and a major shakeup. It’s not that pessimism has taken over my mentality for the team, in fact, I still believe on paper they are about as capable as any other team in their division to compete for a playoff spot. Rather, it just seemed like par for the course, after the way they’ve played, and the injuries they’ve suffered.
Instead, my smile increased throughout the game. The matchup brought shocked satisfaction as Columbus controlled the puck, limited mistakes, and caused turnovers which lead to odd man rushes for the first real time this season. It was exciting, and even caused me to watch the late night replay so I could take in the quality effort again. They deserved to win the game, and they did the right things. With the exception of Toronto basically sitting back and letting them win, I could not be more impressed by their efforts.
Wednesday night in Calgary. Progress like a slow morphine drip. Sitting down to watch the game, I went through a pretty embarrassing checklist as the guys took the ice. Skating hard? Check. Taking decent shots? Check. Limiting Calgary offensively? Check. Bobrovsky not hopeless? Check. It is never the kind of game you want to watch as a fan, waiting for a similar implosion like that which we witnessed on Tuesday in Edmonton. These events can be small blips on the radar, and I am optimistic that Columbus was able to turn the page after Tuesday and improve upon some massive mistakes.
If anyone is out in Blue Jackets land reading recaps, learning more about the team right now, consider me impressed. Their fandom knows no bounds, and their attitude towards the team rivals few. The on ice disaster displayed last night would make the casual fan find something else to watch, the average fan laugh, and the die hard fan furious. I’m currently still furious.
Should we discount that Edmonton was 5-15-2 prior to the game? They are a team that has been playing hopeless hockey. A team that Columbus should have obliterated after a convincing win against Ottawa on Sunday. Apparently not. Apparently, Edmonton decided they would go out and embarrass everything this team is.
It’s always nice to drown out the regular Sunday afternoon pigskin with the sound of skates digging into the ice, shots ringing off the crossbar, and crisp tape to tape passes. After a very disappointing shootout loss to Montreal on Friday, expectations were not terribly high that the entire Columbus roster could come out and play a full sixty minutes. Ottawa played host in front of a surprisingly low 15,535 (84%).
Regardless of games past, the Jackets fans were awarded for their loyalty with arguably the best game Columbus has put together this year – they dominated Ottawa from the opening faceoff. Taking a quick look at the stats will not tell the story. I have talked endlessly both on twitter and through these recaps that Columbus lacks the meaningful shots it takes to win games, and that was not the issue yesterday.
It was another heart breaker for both the Blue Jackets and their fans. A consistently tough opponent in Boston was bound to give Columbus a hard fought battle, but as the game came to a close I could not help but feel like a win was stolen. This scenario played out plenty of times last season, tied heading to overtime. One would think that Blue Jackets fans are used to the knee knocking heart pounding moments of overtime by now, but it rarely gets easier.
For the most part, I think it was a game the Blue Jackets deserved to win. I personally didn’t fall in love with their scoring opportunities, but they certainly had them, and for at least forty minutes throughout the game, they controlled play. Despite a very lackluster start to the second period, Columbus managed to battle back to 12-12 in second period shots after being down 4-12 at the midway point.
Bobrovksy was good, but not great. Through the wickets is never a good thing, making the overtime loss a bit more painful. Hard to fault him on the Thornton goal as Johnson tipped the shot, and I am sure he’d rather have the first goal back instead of settling for begging the referees for goaltender interference. Beyond the goals, he had a couple of moments where he was just barely in control and the puck seemed to squirm through him a bit. That said, he also managed a couple great saves to keep Columbus in the game when they were playing poorly during stretches. In any case, at .903 on the night, Bob was once again very human.