November 30, 2010

2nd Annual #3 Ryan Salmons Blood Drive Happens on Saturday

You may remember Ryan Salmons, one of the greatest Blue Jackets fans that ever lived. Ryan died in 2009 at the age of 19 from pediatric cancer shortly after the Blue Jackets clinched their first playoff berth. As Tom Reed noted upon Ryan's death, the perseverance and dignity Ryan demonstrated in the face of terminal illness left a lasting impression on the franchise and many of its fans.

You can help keep Ryan's memory alive by giving the gift of life during this holiday season.

The 2nd Annual “#3 Ryan Salmons Day of Giving” takes place on Saturday, December 4th, from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm in the gymnasium at Memorial Baptist Church (2435 Eakin Road – SW Columbus). The event features a blood drive in memory of our favorite Blue Jacket. If you wish to donate but have not yet signed up, please do so NOW as slots are limited. A double red cell machine will also be available for interested and qualified donors. Walk-in’s are welcome but priority is given to appointments.


All donors will be entered into a raffle to win a Columbus Blue Jacket prize package, which includes two tickets to see the Jackets on Saturday, Feb. 5th, dinner at the Time Warner lounge and a team autographed hockey stick. Additional tickets can be purchased for $5 each or three (3) for $10. All contributions benefit the Ryan Salmons Foundation and are 100% tax deductible.

Tickets will be available at the event and can also be purchased in advance by emailing the address below. You need not be present to win.

1. Click Here to Sign Up Today!*
2. Then, click the "Enter a Sponsor Code" link (blue button on left)
3. Enter the Sponsor Code: ryansalmons

If you have any questions or experience difficulty with the e-donor registration, email RyanSalmonsDayofGiving@yahoo.com.

November 29, 2010

Tomorrow's Jackets: A First Hand Look

The following article was written for Full Mental Jackets by Jim Coleman. Jim is a Columbus resident and a charter fan of the Columbus Blue Jackets. At age 8 he skated with Stanley Cup Champion Gerry Cheevers (then of the WHA's Cleveland Crusaders) and went on to become the first goalie in Hudson, Ohio hockey history. Please welcome Jim to the FMJ team!


One of my favorite parts of every Blue Jackets game is to watch the Future Jackets at the beginning of the first intermission. 99.9 % of these players will never wear a hockey Jersey beyond high school but for these brief moments, in their tiny hearts, they are skating in game seven of the Stanley Cup. It should also be noted that 100% of them will never share the ice again with an 8 ft tall green bug.

Friday I had the chance to watch tomorrow’s Jackets, the Springfield Falcons. Every year my family drives from Boothbay Harbor to Portland, Maine to the see Portland Pirates coached by none other than former Jackets Kevin Dineen. Normally the Coleman Family is big Portland Pirates fans but the AHL schedule had brought us to a blind date with destiny. This night the Blue Jackets minor league team was skating into a hostile Portland Civic Center. As I walked the outer Pavilion in my Blue Jackets fashionable, full –zip vintage sweatshirt I was jeered with a few “BOO’S” and two “jackets suck”! Oh it was so on!

The headline in the Pirates program read “PIRATES SEEK TO SOAR OVER FALCONS- Victory tonight will set franchise home points streak record”. I was starting to understand that this was a big game. When Mike Blunden drove a rebound past Pirate goaltender Jhonas Enroth to the back of the net I leapt to my feet. That’s when my true colors of red and blue were revealed to the Portland faithful. 

Minor League hockey is a different animal. It’s raw and a little sloppy but it is laced with passion and desire every second. Every time a player jumps over the boards and his skates hits the ice he is not simply skating a shift. He is starting another 90 second audition for the NHL. The Springfield Falcon players all want to get to Columbus. They all want to get to the show. This Falcons lineup is not of NHL girth but they are of NHL desire. They are fast and they are fearless. Each player who wears the Falcon sweater understands that the Blue Jackets are on their way to a special season and they want to punch their tickets to sit on that bench in Nationwide Arena.

Jay Pandolfo in sin bin for the Falcons.
Another great performance was turned in by #16 Maksim Mayorov. This left winger had a pretty goal and plays both ends of the ice with equal tenacity. While perusing the Falcon line up I saw many familiar names that were playing well. On Defense, both Ruth and Moore were able to stop many of the Pirate breaks where they were out manned. I was also impressed with the “Dorsett like”, 5’ 9” center Tyler Murovich who had no problem greeting 6-4 Pirate center Mark Mascini every time he tried to get in the Falcon crease. 

Our seats were third row so we were very close during the skate around. I noticed an older player wearing #29 and didn’t think too much about it until he dominated the ice on his shift. Last week, very quietly, the Falcons signed two-time Stanley Cup Champion left winger Jay Pandolfo. The Boston University grad spent his entire NHL career with the New Jersey Devils. In the second period he drove toward the Pirates goal forcing both goaltender and defenseman to commit to a streaking Falcon winger then buried the puck in the top shelf to give the Falcons a 2-1lead.

The AHL standings may not reflect the fury of the Falcons, but two hours outside of Boston Mass. are the potential missing pieces of a Stanley Cup run for our Blue Jackets. My optimism may be a bit reckless but then again so is the “jail break” offense of the AHL’s Springfield Falcons! LET’S GO FALCONS! Carry Tomorrow’s Flag!

November 28, 2010

It's All About the Cannon

"You Columbus people and that damn cannon!"  That's what a friend of mine in Los Angeles had to say about the new third jersey. Say what you will about Columbus' love affair with its big gun, it is loathed and despised by visiting teams. That has to be worth something.

Another great thing about the cannon is that it isn't Stinger. How likely is it that your average NHL player is going to be motivated to play good hockey in a jersey with a lime green bug on it? That's exactly what Blue Jackets players had to deal with for the first 4 years of the team's existence. That's why they sucked people! Let's face it, a player is much more likely to get fired up in a jersey with a cannon on it (pun intended).

By putting it on our third jersey, we have embraced the cannon. It's here to stay. It has become our trademark and a symbol of our still-emerging identity. We will march. We will fight. And if those two things don't work then we will just shoot you with our cannon. 

And then there is Boomer, the new co-mascot introduced by the Blue Jackets along with the new third jerseys. The team continues to distance itself from Stinger, and with good reason, but they can't seem to pull the trigger completely. So it appears we are supposed to look at Stinger as Batman and Boomer as Robin. Whatever. Judging by the public reaction to Boomer, it might not be long before the Blue Jackets go back to the drawing board on the whole mascot thing.

Ready or not, Columbus is celebrating its cannonhood. Here are a few facts about cannons certain to stimulate the inevitable conversations about them that will occur at all those upcoming holiday parties.
  • Many people think that former coach Ken Hitchcock was responsible for bringing the cannon into Nationwide Arena. This is false. The cannon was installed prior to the 2007-08 season, Hitchcock's first full season as head coach. But Hitchcock, who is an avid civil war buff, says it was not his idea.
"I'm not the one that told them we needed the cannon," Hitchcock once said. "But I did tell them where they could find one."
  • According to @RBar_AD, the cannon started with an idea that was floated around HF Boards. For two years, as the story goes, members of the forum would call Doug MacLean on his radio call-in show and harass him about it. 
  • According to Trivia-Library.com,  the first significant use of a cannon occurred in 1453 at the Turkish seige of the Greek Christian city of Constantinople, the greatest of all medieval fortresses, with 13 miles of city walls.
Called the "Precursor of Antichrist" by Christians because he was a sadist, a bisexual, and a sodomite, Sultan Mohammed II of the Ottoman Turks laid siege to Constantinople in April, 1453. He brought with him 68 Hungarian-made cannons, the largest of which was a gigantic 26-ft.-long gun that weighed 20 tons, fired a 1,200-lb. stone cannonball, and required an operating crew of 200 men. For 50 days, the Turkish cannons bombarded Constantinople and ripped holes in its walls, but each time the Turks charged into the gaps, the defenders repulsed them and hastily rebuilt the walls. Finally, on May 29, 1453, a destructive cannonade toppled a wide stretch of the walls, and 12,000 elite Turkish troops successfully rampaged into the city.
  • Many older Blue Jackets fans will remember a TV show in the early 1970's called Cannon starring William Conrad who was, shall we say, a very large man. According to the Internet Movie Database, the storyline of the show was as follows:
The weekly adventures of Frank Cannon, an overweight, balding, ex-cop with a deep voice and expensive tastes in culinary pleasures, who becomes a high-priced private investigator. Since Cannon's girth didn't allow for many fist-fights and gun battles (although there were many), the series substituted car chases and high production values in their place.
  • Prior to that, the TV airwaves were dominated by another cannon. In the 60's, Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon graced the stage on Dick Clark's American Bandstand more than any other artist. It probably didn't hurt that Dick Clark himself owned Freddy's record label. Still, as the video below proves, Freddy was a stone cold rocker. (I apologize in advance. The keyboard line in this song might haunt you for days.)

 
  • According to The Phrase Finder, the allusion in the phrase "loose cannon" is to improperly secured cannons on ships that were likely to move about on deck and damage the ship. The first known reference to the subject matter is in Victor Hugo's novel Ninety Three in 1874.  A translation of the French original describes cannons being tossed about onboard following a violent incident onboard ship:
"The cannonade, hurled forward by the pitching, dashed into this knot of men, and crushed four at the first blow; then, flung back and shot out anew by the rolling, it cut in two a fifth poor fellow" ... " The enormous cannon was left alone. She was given up to herself. She was her own mistress, and mistress of the vessel. She could do what she willed with both."
          Henry Kingsley picked up this reference in his novel Number Seventeen, 1875 :
"At once, of course, the ship was in the trough of the sea, a more fearfully dangerous engine of destruction than Mr. Victor Hugo’s celebrated loose cannon."
There's really only one way to end this article. Go ahead. Push the button.


November 23, 2010

Pedal to the Metal: A Fast Car, A Fast Start and John Buccigross

I remember the feeling I had when I got behind the wheel of my first new car. Up to that point, I had driven an assortment of hand-me-downs, wrecks and quasi-antiques. This new car had a turbo-charger (one of man's greatest technological achievements). I figured a break-in period of exactly ten minutes was sufficient and then I took it out on the highway and let her rip. I just had to feel what it was like to drive that beautiful beast, really drive it, to let that turbo-charger breathe and feel the g's in my chest, to experience the sensation of passing cars on the highway like they were standing still. 

Leaving Nationwide last night I had the same feeling about this Blue Jackets team. I am filled with anticipation. This feels like a brand new hockey team. Everything before it has been a clunker.  I want to take this new team out on the fan highway and see what it can do. I want to hear the tires squeal, the turbine whistle, and the pistons scream. I want to feel what its like to pass other teams like they are standing still.

Follow John Buccigross on Twitter: @Buccigross
I also had a similar feeling about this blog one year ago. It was new and I had no idea what I might do with it. So, in a moment of blind naivety, I sent an email to John Buccigross at ESPN to see if he would do a Q & A with me, a brand new blogger. This is essentially like a 6th-grade football coach calling up Bill Belichick and asking him to to talk strategy for an hour. To be honest,  I really didn't expect to get a response. 

As it turns out, John Buccigross is an extremely solid dude. Not only did he respond and agree to the Q & A, he even offered me some advice about my blog (like how to spell Gretzky for instance).  I am unabashed in my admiration and respect for "Bucci". He is a class act through and through in a world that could use more class. He took the time to help a newbie out, to spread the love, to let me take my blog out on the internet highway and floor it. 

It's one year later. I recently reached out to John again and,  again, he responded. He agreed to another Q & A and I agreed to use spell-check.

FMJ: You mentioned in a recent Mailbag column that you would be surprised to see the Blue Jackets make the playoffs this year. You went into some detail there and made some very solid points. Yet this is for the most part the same roster that you felt was good enough to make the postseason a year ago. Last season was clearly a step backward for the CBJ. You don’t seem to think it was an aberration. You didn’t mention the coaching change in your Mailbag comment, but it would appear that you don’t think it was a magic pill. Has their recent play changed your mind? Why or why not?
 
Bucci: The most impressive aspect of the Blue Jackets has been their play on the road. 7-1. Columbus historically has been a dreadful team on the road. This is a sign of character which is of utmost important in hockey. It's a difficult game to play and it takes people who not only are willing to work but also enjoy it. They are also very good in the third period. Third period defense is like a bullpen in baseball.  If it gets off to a good start, confidence soars and it often lasts for the year. This is a very good sign. Now, Columbus needs to start buying tickets, selling out Nationwide Arena, and making home games difficult to play. When they were bad the Jackets were hard to play at home because the crowd was so good.
 
FMJ: Steve Mason has a winning record, but his GAA and SV% are as bloated as last year. As you pointed out in the above-referenced mailbag comment, Mason appears to be lacking confidence (at times anyway) and technique. Can you elaborate on what it is you don’t like about his technique?

Bucci: He is clearly fighting the puck, gettling out of position, and flailing. As a result, he has been up and down so far this season. The last couple of starts have been good. But, he has had two good outings in a row before this season.  He hasn't had three in a row yet. [Note: Bucci submitted these answers prior to Mason's shutout against the Predators last night.] He needs to relax, believe and get some consistency.
 
FMJ: Garon has been hotter than hell’s waiting room. If the Blue Jackets end up having to make a change at goal, do you think they can stay competitive with Garon assuming primary responsibilities?

Bucci: It's a tough call. Mathieu Garon has saved the Jackets so far. But he has never been this good before so we don't know if it's a small sample aberration or the start of a new trend. Garon turns 34 in January and he hasn't been the man for awhile. But we have seen goaltenders, Dwayne Roloson and Tim Thomas, get better as they get older.  I'm sure Mason, 2.9 million cap number for more years, will get plenty of chances to assume the #1 duties.
 
FMJ: The Blue Jackets recently enjoyed a long overdue stomping of the St. Louis Blues at Nationwide. In the 8-1 rout, Chris Clark scored the 99th and 100th goals of his career. Are there any plans to name a street after him in South Windsor, Connecticut?  

Bucci: We already have a Clark St.  South Windsor should do something to honor Chris and let people know he grew up there and his parents were a mailman and a mailwoman. Maybe a stamp? 

FMJ: If you were put in charge of CBJ game ops for a day, what 5 songs would you put on the pregame playlist and what other in-game innovations might you unleash on the fans in Nationwide? 

Bucci: If they haven't turned down the sound  I would start with that. It was always too loud.  I am anti in-game innovation.  I want fans to be able to look at the ice and talk about hockey, not to look up at the Jumbotron and see some shirtless dude from Powell dancing to a WHAM song.  Five pregame songs? 

     1. Vicarious by Tool 
     2. Kick Drum Heart by Avett Brothers  
     3. I'm Pretty Good At Drinking Beer by Billy Currington   
     4. The Cave by Mumford and Sons    
     5. Bloodbuzz Ohio by The National   

FMJ:  The Blue Jackets unveil a 3rd jersey on Wednesday night. If you were in charge, what would it look like? 

Bucci:  The State of Ohio, a beer can, a block of cheese, and a picture of Woody Hayes. Word. 

November 22, 2010

Arnie's Army Approaching Critical Juncture in War on Mediocrity

Chances are you are a Blue Jackets fan if you are reading this. And chances are you are as surprised as anyone else at the Blue Jackets 3-game sweep of California, not mention their hot 12-6 start to the season. Well, you might not be as surprised as NHL fans outside of Columbus actually.

The Blue Jackets came into this season with essentially the same roster as they had at the end of last year's dismal campaign. Nobody around the league (including here in C-Bus) expected much of a change in fortunes.

Blue Jackets fans: Could this be magic?
But something looks different. This team doesn't resemble last years squad much at all. Have they really improved as much as it appears they have? Is Arniel a magician or just a damn fine hockey coach and an incredible motivator? I know. Who cares, right?

Before we get too carried away, consider that after twenty games the Blue Jackets were 12-6-2 last year, eerily similar to this year's record. It was, up to that point, the best start in franchise history. And then things went terribly awry. Over the next 24 games the Jackets went 3-21. Ken Hitchcock suddenly found himself taking long walks in the morning and catching up on Oprah in the afternoon, while Columbus fans found themselves on the Claude to Nowhere.

Columbus now stands 12-6 after giving California a "Nash-kicking"of epic proportions. The Blue Jackets are playing with an increasing confidence. They have shown an incredible amount of grit and resilience, traits woefully lacking on last year's team. They appear to have "bought in" to what Arniel is selling from top to bottom. This team comes at you in waves, from the first line to the fourth, like a well-trained army.

Is it all a mirage? As well as the Blue Jackets have played so far this season there are still many rivers to cross (in the words of Jimmy Cliff). Are we heading toward a big fall like last year? I'm sitting here staring at my Magic 8-Ball. It says:  "Ask again later." OK, I shook it and asked again. Now it says: "My sources say no."

Odds and ends:  If you missed the games this weekend because they were on so late, click on the FMJ Vision tab at the top of the page and enjoy the video highlights. I promise you will. . . . . . The Gameday Chat will be running tonight right here on FMJ. (The Gameday Chat tab is also at the top of this page). However, I won't be jumping on the chat tonight as a guest panelist. I 've got something better to do (and there's only one thing that's better than the Gameday Chat) . . . . Don't forget the CBJ's new 3rd jersey will be unveiled Wednesday night during the first intermission of the away game against the New York Islanders. All the details are here.  . . . The week caps off with back-to-back games against the Red Wings on Friday (at Nationwide) and Sunday (at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit). Even if you aren't a Buckeyes fan, it will be Michigan Weekend come Friday! . . . Finally, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Safe travels and good times to you all.

November 20, 2010

Lighting Up the Left Coast

The Blue Jackets just completed a 2 game sweep of SoCal by posting two very solid wins against the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks. Sadly, not a lot of Blue Jackets fans stayed up late enough to see them. In fact, Wednesday night's contest against the Kings ended so late that the Thursday morning Columbus Dispatch went to press before the game was over. Most subscribers were greeted by a small gray box on the front page of the Sports section directing them to the Dispatch web site for the score and the game recap.  

Good news/bad news: Steve Mason had 47 saves against the Ducks. 
It's a shame. These may have been the two most impressive back-to-back games the Blue Jackets have played so far in a very impressive start to the season. The victory over the Kings was a complete team effort with gritty performances from the likes of Rusty Klesla, Derek Dorsett and Jared Boll, topped off by a classic game-winner by Rick Nash. 

The win over the Ducks last night was even grittier. The Ducks outshot the Jackets by an astonishing 21 shots (50 to 29), but it wasn't enough to defeat an increasingly confident Columbus team that essentially just refused to lose. All season long, the Blue Jackets have been getting solid contributions from unexpected sources. That theme continued against the Ducks as (surprise!) Mike Commodore, playing in only his 2nd game back from a long stint in the training room, pitched in with a goal and an assist. The Jackets scored three unanswered goals in the second period to take a 4-2 lead, then held on in the third as the Ducks sprayed Steve Mason with 25 shots. 

Speaking of Mason, I wrote a piece earlier in the week for The Fourth Period in which I noted the disparity in the numbers between Mason and Mathieu Garon. I theorized that if things kept moving in the same direction it would not be a shock to see Garon play more and Mason less. I'm not ready to retract that just yet, but I will say this: Mason played a solid game against the Kings and came up absolutely HUGE in Anaheim with 47 freaking saves! Still, his goals against average stands at 3.20 and that needs to start dropping before anyone should say "he's back." But you have to like the way things are trending recently.

Some other things to note as the CBJ gets ready to wrap up what has to be considered already to be a very successful trip out west:

  •  Rusty Klesla  was + 1 against the Ducks and he now leads the NHL with a +15 rating. Do you think he likes the new systems Scott Arniel has installed? Marc Methot, Klesla's partner in crime along the blue line, is tied for 13th in the league at +10. Many predicted Methot would thrive under Arniel. Raise your hand if you predicted Klesla would and you're willing to take a polygraph examination.
  • When Kyle Wilson and Derek MacKenzie stormed out of the starting gate this year, Andrew "Weighty" Murray became a forgotten man while he rehabilitated from a knee injury suffered late in camp.  Murray has turned the west coast trip into his "coming out" party and has made his presence felt demonstrably. In the three games since returning to the lineup, Murray has registered a goal, 2 assists and a +3 rating. He's also drawn praise from Arniel, not to mention some key late game shifts. Keep an eye on Weighty, yet another "secret weapon" in the CBJ arsenal.
  • Commodore's resurgence can be mostly attributed to one of the more desperate moves Arniel has made this year. When Arny put Commodore on the point of the second powerplay unit before the Kings game, CBJ followers blew a lot of coffee out of their noses. Arniel's theory was simple: the Jackets need to shoot the puck more from the top to generate scoring chances on the PP, and Commie doesn't meet a lot of shots that he doesn't like (when he's allowed to shoot). The move paid off as the Blue Jackets snapped an 0-for-18 scoreless streak with the man advantage on a shot blasted at the net by Commodore and redirected by Clark. Go figure.
  • One thing is becoming quite clear about this team. It is refreshingly resilient. This was never more clear than during the second period in Anaheim. After the Ducks went ahead 2-1 on (yet another) short-handed goal, and before Blue Jackets fans could finish spewing invectives toward their TV's, the Jackets returned fire with the aforementioned Clark PP goal a mere 25 seconds later. Giving up shorties is nothing new for the Jackets. Bucking up and responding quickly is. Arniel and his staff deserve a lot of credit for the fight and tenacity they have already instilled in this team. 

    Finally, I made a few design changes to the site this week that I'm really jacked up about. FMJ Vision and the Gameday Chat have been given their own pages here at FMJ.  FMJ Vision is a custom aggregator of CBJ game highlight reels, fight clips and other pertinent video. So, if you missed the game last night, click on the FMJ Vision tab at the top of the page (underneath the banner) and get caught up. 

    The Gameday Chat is a new feature on this site that allows you to follow various CBJ reporters and bloggers as they chat about the CBJ games live. The next time you find yourself camped in front of the TV watching the game, pull up the Gameday Chat on your laptop and follow along. You'll receive insight, entertaining multimedia (like the in-game CBJ Instant Cannon button) and a quick way to find out if  Billy Davidge just said what you think he said.

    Who's ready for some Shark sushi tonight?

    November 18, 2010

    Win Two Tickets to See the Blue Jackets Host the Penguins

    OhioHealth is putting on a contest that gives you a chance to win a pair of tickets to the sold-out December 4th game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    This contest is taking place on Twitter and OhioHealth wants to hear your Best Sports “Power Play” story in 140 characters or less. Simply tweet @Ohio_Health your greatest sports story, using the hashtag #CBJPP. Tell them about a time you hit a grand slam, caught an impossible catch, or made that at-the-buzzer shot to win the game, and you will be entered to win.

    A panel of judges from OhioHealth’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine team will choose the ten (10) best tweets, and randomly select five (5) winners from those finalists. The five winners will receive two tickets to the game between the Blue Jackets and Penguins.

    There are just a few things to keep in mind during this contest:
    • Tweets must be 140 characters or less
    • Tweets must share your Best Sports “Power Play”, explaining your greatest sports moment
    • All tweets must be sent to @Ohio_Health and include the hashtag #CBJPP
    The contest begins on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010 and will last until Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010 at 10 a.m. EST. The ten finalists will be announced on Nov. 30 at 4 p.m. EST and the five winners will be randomly selected Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 2:30 p.m. EST with a video of them being selected on Facebook.

    This is a great opportunity for you to not only share your greatest sports story, but also to win tickets to this already sold-out game. To enter, simply visit the OhioHealth Twitter page and submit your entry with the hashtag #CBJPP.

    Have at it fans!

    November 12, 2010

    Game 15: Avalanche at Blue Jackets -- Let's Chat About It!

    For those of you who can't make it to the game tonight, here's a way for you to elevate your viewing experience as you watch the game on TV. Fox Sports Ohio has invited the CBJ blogerati  to co-host the Gameday Chat they produce during all CBJ games. That's why you see the embedded frame below. (NOTE: the frame has since been removed)  That's right, you can follow along from right here, which means you can also follow my custom CBJ Feed from Twitter in the sidebar at the same time. It will be a veritable CBJ data stream bonanza!

    The Gameday Chat runs live during the game and is moderated by FSO's Eric Smith and a panel of other CBJ reporters, bloggers and commentators. There's really nothing you have to do. Just read, watch and, if the spirit moves you, send in a comment or question and vote in the polling questions. If Eric likes your comment or question, he'll publish it. It's really not a chatroom though, and that's a good thing. An open chatroom with dozens of participants gets out of hand quickly and becomes hard to follow.

    I participated in the Gameday Chat on Wednesday night as a moderator and it was a blast.  Sure, the fun factor was given a huge boost each time the cannon fired during the 8-1 bombardment of the Blues. But there was a lot of interesting and insightful commentary from the moderators, some of whom were at the game, as well as photos and video links, all of which made the experience very worthwhile.  I found that there was quite a bit of good information and insight passed along that was not available from watching the broadcast alone. For instance, the moderators that were in attendance noticed that Rick Nash had gone to the locker room a good 5 minutes before it was reported on the telecast. Who knows, maybe Rimer and Davidge were following the Gameday Chat and learned about it from there!

    I'll definitely be participating in these Gameday Chats whenever I can. But not tonight. I'll be attending the game at Nationwide this evening and carrying the flag in person. If you follow the Gameday Chat, be sure to leave a comment below and let me know what you think of this new feature.

    The Gameday Chat will go "live" shortly before the game starts

    NOTE: The Gameday Chat now has it's very own page here at FMJ. Go to the menu bar at the top of the page to check it out.

    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.

     


    November 05, 2010

    Some Helpful Advice for Blue Jackets Fans

    It's Friday and Blue Jackets fans are basking in the glow of a second consecutive 3-0 shutout win, this time on the road against the Thrashers. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let's remember how important it is to use the right words when discussing the Blue Jackets and their strong start. Let's not jinx anyone or anything connected with the team.

    You can never be too careful.  So with that in mind, here are some tried and true sports cliches to commit to memory:
    1. We gotta play 'em one game at a time.
    2. We're just happy to be here. Hope we can support this team.
    3. We just want this team to give it their best shot and the good lord willing things will work out.
    Also, if you happen to be re-channeling your sexual energy. Don't give in now. Never [mess] with a winning streak.

    November 03, 2010

    Hockey Jobu Will Wake Up CBJ Sticks (For a Price)

    While we are having some fun (and you have to admit, it is fun to wake up and find the Blue Jackets tied for 3rd in the Western Conference), be sure to check out what is certain to become a hockey meme within the next couple of weeks: Hockey Jobu.  The brainchild of CBJ Nation's own Tom Fellrath (aka The Dark Blue Jacket), Hockey Jobu provides a simple offer to hockey fans. Bring chicken legs, rum and cigars. Jobu offers good luck for your hockey team if he is satisfied with your offering.

    Kudos to Tom Fellrath for this masterpiece. He made this up, but it soon be might seen in Jake Voracek's locker.

    Once word spreads about Hockey Jobu, and it will once Puck Daddy and other well traveled hockey destinations get hold of it, he will catch fire like a fart in a California forest. He will become a cult figure. He will amass large quantities of rum. And cigars. And chicken legs. And possibly even ladies undergarments.

    If you are not getting this whole Jobu thing then it is a safe bet 1) you are not a baseball fan and 2) you never saw the 1989 movie Major League "starring" Charlie Sheen. That's OK, all you need to see is this one clip and you'll have it all figured out:





    Link: Major League JOBU


    Brassard: Say What?

    If love means never having to say you're sorry, then maybe Columbus and Derick Brassard are not in love. Yet. Apparently, Brassard said some unflattering things about CBJ owner John P. McConnell and to some extent the Columbus fans during an interview with Montreal radio station CKAC on Monday. At least it's being reported that the comments were unflattering. You kind of have to take it on faith because the interview was conducted in French. Judge for yourself if you happen to parlez vous francais: Click here to listen to the the interview in its entirety.

    Brassard says his comments were taken out of context and that CKAC was just trying to "get a headline" out of him. Still, he offered an apology to McConnell and the fans on Tuesday. Then he went out and scored his fourth goal in five games, helping Columbus beat the visiting Canadiens 3-0 Tuesday night. Apology accepted. And Derick, just for the record, we la . . la . . . loooooooov . . . . umm . . .we loooooooooov. . . . we luuuuuuuuuuuuv. . . .