Friday, April 24, 2009

Loss Nothing to be Ashamed of...

Well Jackets fans, the year ended sooner than I had anticipated, and the feeling of shock and numbness of a playoff loss reverberated throughout Nationwide Arena last night as the final horn went and the Jackets had saluted the best crowd they will ever play for.

A loss that was not reasonable, a feeling of remorse that should not be there, and a feeling of being robbed should be on the back of ever fans mind who was at the game.  The Jackets outplayed Detroit for most of the game, but got outplayed by the refs and Detroit's ability to score garbage bang in goals.

Not only was their resilience tested early after a bad break goal off Tyutin's leg, their feeling of being on the wrong side of the luck train was clear after a shot bounced back from the angle it came (basically impossible if you consider the laws of physics) to be easily buried.  So many things seemed to go Detroit's way, even after Columbus stormed back from two goals down twice on tremendous efforts by some of their secondary scorers, and a crowd that seemed relentless in their quest to make Osgood want to crawl under a bed and hide.

Two years ago, I hated the people who fought with the officiating of a game.  Two years ago, I believed that regardless of how the game is called, teams make their own luck.  Since then, I have really opened my eyes to see the Jackets get the short end of the stick on entirely too many occasions.  Situations arise where the calls are not being made, and then finally when the ref opts to make the call, it is on Columbus.  There have also been glaringly bad calls made on Columbus for lifting guys sticks to play the puck, where there simply was a bad misread on the part of the official, putting the Jackets down a man at a critical juncture in the game.

Last night was no different.  Columbus received twice as many penalties in the game, even though they were by far the cleaner team of the two.  There were missed calls on Columbus including Vermette being checked from behind and then in the same play sticked in the face.  Nash all game was grabbed and pulled by players who could not match his intensity, all of which got ignored even when Nash was hauled to the ice.

Most notably, both teams were jumping early on their line changes.  So bad, in fact, that at one point in the game Detroit's man who replaced a player played the puck prior to that player getting off the ice.  The same exact thing that happened when Modin played the puck before Jake got off the ice, leading to the final penalty of the game.  Absolutely mind boggling, and just another sample of how the Jackets were never given a fair shot at that series.

I hope this does not deter Jackets fans from being as awesome as they were last night.  Being at Nationwide was an incredible experience and one I will never forget.  Our team was resilient and exciting, and we are only going to get better as our young players progress in their development.

I hope to break down some of the finer points of the Jackets season over the next couple week, and then maybe give you some information on some of our younger players with a few profiles during the off-season.  I look forward to seeing what Howson can do this off-season to make the Jackets even better!


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