Showing posts tagged Columbus Blue Jackets

The Freaking Blue Jackets

After blowing a 2 goal lead in the third period, the Islanders lost the shoutout to Columbus, who are now 10-1-4 all time against the Islanders.

As I’ve said before, I used to be a Jackets fan. I lived in Columbus when they started, spent plenty of time…

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Most Important Position in Sports

With all due respect to quarterbacks, is there any question that hockey goaltender is the most important position in sports? With free agent signing period upon us, just think about the consequences of getting this position wrong.

Last year’s Flyers. Traded away Bobrovsky and went with Bryzgalov as their goaltender. Bob won the Vezina and almost got an offensively deficient Blue Jackets team into the playoffs single handedly. The Flyers didn’t make the playoffs and bought out Bryzgalov this week. They now either need to turn Steve Mason into the greatest reclamation project of all time, or find another goalie.

Not a good enough example, how about those Blue Jackets? So, so close to a playoff berth, which would only have been their second. The only year they had a playoff team, Steve Mason’s Calder winning rookie year. Every other year, even with a much more talented roster, poor goaltending kept them from being competitive at all.

Or, how about another goaltender who is being bought out this week, Rick Dipietro? He was an All Star goaltender and the face of the Isles franchise. He was all set to spend his career having the team built around him. Then he got hurt, then he got hurt again, and again, and again. More importantly than the long contract that seemed silly as the missed games piled up, the Isles fell apart without a decent solution in goal, for years. The high price of getting it wrong in goal.

Here’s hoping the promise shown by those same Islanders last season isn’t derailed by a poor choice in goaltending this year. It’s an open question going into the offseason, and getting it wrong will only set this team back once again.

NHL14 Cover Vote Previews Next Season For Me

As the semifinals of the EA Sports NHL14 Cover Vote went down this past weekend, I was given a quick preview of what Twitter will be like for me next season. The Islanders John Tavares was up against the Blue Jackets Sergei Bobrovsky.

Now, I’ve been an Islanders fan for as long as I can remember. I used to go out to Long Island to visit my grandparents and watch the games on TV with them as a small child. I was heartbroken when the lost in the 1979 playoffs to the hated Rangers. (Especially since my brothers were Ranger fans, ugh!) I sat and listened to the games on radio when they weren’t on TV during the glory years, and I’ve hung with them through some tough years since.

I lived in Columbus when the Blue Jackets came into existence. Since they represented the chance to see NHL games locally, I was a big fan of Columbus getting a team, and since they were in the Western Conference, I was safe to root for them for 79 or 80 games every year. (The exceptions being games against the Isles, where I traded out my Blue Jackets jersey for an Islanders one!) I figured one day, they might meet in the Finals, but it was unlikely and I’d worry about that then.

Now, with both teams in the same division next year, there’s no rooting for the Blue Jackets. As I watched my Columbus followers push for votes for Bob, and my Isles tweeps push for Tavares, there was no doubt which one I wanted to win. They are the enemy. We maybe don’t have the same history as we do with the Rangers, Devils, Flyers, and Penguins, but the Blue Jackets are the same as those teams. A division foe that must be banished if we are to make the playoffs and ultimately win the Cup.

Sure, I’ll always have a soft spot for the Blue Jackets, and if the Isles are eliminated, I might just pick up some rooting interest for them. On the other hand, as the years go by, there will be incidents, games, and players who I grow to hate, that will up the emotional ante for competing against the Jackets just like with our more traditional rivals.

It’s been fun Jackets, but starting next season, it’s over between us.

NHL Realignment

Well, with the Blue Jackets, the team I adopted while living in Columbus, moving to the same division as the Islanders, the team I’ve rooted for since I was a little kid, it might soon be time to truly say goodbye to Columbus.

Moving to the East is definitely good news for the Jackets though, in terms of less travel, more games in the same time zone and budding rivalries wit teams that are closer to Ohio, like Pittsburgh, Buffalo, etc.

On the other hand, they run into the same problem that the Isles have, trying to improve and make the playoffs in a division that already has the Pens, Flyers, Rangers and Devils, without having the same budget to spend and other advantages used to attract free agents that those teams do.

Rare Night - Islanders and Blue Jackets Win

Not just win, but both come from behind, on the road, in places that are usually a nightmare for them. First the Jackets on Vinny Prospal’s goal with under 25 seconds left in Detroit, then the Isles with Hickey getting his first NHL goal in overtime to get the win in Montreal.

Maybe there is hope for my two favorite teams yet…..

The Number is Two

Yes, that was obviously the relevant number for me last night. I followed three games closely last night, the Islanders 4-2 loss to the Penguins, the Blue Jackets 4-2 loss to the Kings, and Ohio States 76-74 loss to Michigan.

Ohio State scored all of 2 points in the overtime period.

In all three cases, a failure to generate more than 2, mostly due to a failure to execute a good offense, meant a loss for the team I root for. For the Islanders, a sudden inability to do anything with powerplay chances put them behind and kept them there. For the Jackets, going 18 minutes of game time without even getting a shot on goal tells you everything you need to know, and for the Buckeyes, well as much as I love Aaron Craft’s hustle and defense, the end of that game was pathetic as he consistently drove into traffic and got his shot blocked instead of looking to drive and dish to an open shooter.

So my message to my teams this morning is, score more points!