November 11, 2010

Blue Jackets to NHL: Can You Hear Us Now?

Time will tell if what went down in Nationwide last night was a "statement game" for the Blue Jackets. But it sure looks like it had the makings of one.

The St. Louis Blues came into town with a 9-1-2 record and a 7 game winning streak. There weren't a lot of folks around the league who gave the Blue Jackets much of a chance in this one. Hell, there weren't a lot of folks in Columbus  who gave them much of chance either (and certainly not the two guys sitting behind me on my flight to Chicago this morning). I'm not going to tell you that I did. I would classify my pregame mood as somewhat concerned. 

After watching the Blue Jackets dismantle the Blues to the tune of 8-1, I would classify my postgame mood as Holy Crap! People are going to be talking about this game for a long time, and not just for the demonstrative manner in which the CBJ played the Blue Notes.  Around the league, and especially in St. Louis, this game will referenced every time the topic turns to the hole in the Blues lineup where forward TJ Oshie used to be. Midway through the third period, with the Jackets up big and the Blues getting a little petulant, Oshie took a hit by Jake Voracek that prompted a nearby scrum. Oshie picked himself off the ice and tried to join the scrum, but in the process fell awkwardly to the ice and suffered a broken ankle that will reportedly require surgery. Although Voracek was penalized for interference on the hit, he didn't cause Oshie's injury. But that won't stop Blue fans from putting Jake's mug shot on their dartboards.

In Columbus, they'll be talking about this game for a lot of other reasons. They'll be talking about how the Jackets thoroughly dominated this game from start to ugly finish, finally scoring 4 goals in a game (twice in fact). How Chris Clark scored his 99th and 100th goals of his career. How Voracek undressed Jaraslav Halak on two breakaways with two different moves. How Anton Stralman was a plus-4 for the game, tying the team's single game mark. And that's just scratching the surface.

In Columbus and St. Louis they'll most definitely be talking about the chippy 3rd round period.  All told there were eighteen penalties totaling 82 minutes, including 4 misconducts and 4 fighting majors (check out FMJ Vision in the sidebar or here for related video treats). The fireworks might have gone off in the 3rd period, but apparently sparks were flying even before the game started. Apparently, there was a pregame "dustup" between players from both teams as they were warming up in a hallway outside of the locker rooms involving, strangely enough, soccer balls.

Things get to fester until December 9th, when the Blue Jackets visit St. Louis. Go ahead and circle that one on the calendar. It's a pretty safe bet the Blues and their fans already have.

Yep. This one's going to leave a mark.


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