Thursday, October 13, 2011

Recap: Columbus vs Colorado 10/12

This will act as somewhat of a recap to the Blue Jackets game against the Colorado Avalanche, while also generating crater sized holes in some of the more ridiculous statements I have had the opportunity of enduring last night on twitter.  I usually don't get too bothered by the comments that are made post game on numerous social media outlets.  Yes, I get plenty argumentative, but I don't USUALLY get bothered by it.  Tonight, I am bothered.


First and (for some ridiculous reason) foremost, the attendance.  Portzline tweeted the grand total at the arena of 8,986.  For a night that found the Jackets blacked out in all viewing areas, one would suspect that those interested in the team, the game of hockey, and the success of the franchise would make a point to come out and support the team in person.  Tickets were more than accessible to those looking for discounted rates, and yet somehow, only half the building was filled.

What gets me so 'bothered' is that these people (literally it simply refuses to stop being retweeted on the #CBJ feed) who don't seem to muster the energy to attend games, feel the need to publicly note the lack of attendance.  Now, I drive about an hour and a half to attend what I am hoping to be 30-50% of the home games in Columbus (so far I am 2 for 3), so I don't have all that much sympathy for people who can't travel a very short distance to enjoy one of the most exciting sports this earth has to offer.  So if you're someone who retweeted and didn't feel like showing up, come on.  Get out there and support this team.  You are the reason the attendance was so low.


Second, this insane amount of thrashing that Mason gets game, after game, after game.  Two goals were scored on him this evening in regulation.  One in which he made the first save through traffic, but could not get enough of the rebound to keep it out of the net.  The game tying goal came late in the game in what I would suspect was his 15th of 16 shots against him in the third period alone.  It was a point shot with plenty of traffic in front of the net, which tipped off of a jumping Landeskog and found the far side of the net just inside the post.  Mason completed the game with a .938 save percentage.

In the shootout, Mason struggled.  For anyone that doesn't know why, I highly recommend you watch what happened.  An absolute snipe by Hejduk that went just under the crossbar, and a gorgeous deke by Matt Duchene that scored through the five hole.  I am not going to speculate whether other goalies would have made these saves, but they were two of the more impressive shootout attempts I have seen this year.  Compare them to the Prospal and Carter attempts, and you're looking at a D grade vs and A grade, easy.

The Record

0-3..... AND 1!!!!!!!!!  Try not to lose your lunch over this.  Sometimes the wins come easy, and sometimes it takes nothing short of a miracle to make something happen.  At this point, the Jackets are finding multiple periods a game of pure dominance, followed by (or as a result of) some truly mediocre hockey.  Tonight, I certainly think they held back in the third period in an attempt to protect the 2-1 lead after Martinek ripped a point shot through Varlamov, but they really did not do a bad job of it.  Short of one fluke deflection, all signs were pointing to a textbook victory for the Jackets.

What is being ignored here, is the progress that was made.  Mason had a game, the defense had some very notable quality (see Martinek - dude has HANDS! - and Methot - who was physical and appeared to be all over the puck tonight).  Once again the mistakes were present, but the level of disastrous mistakes were held to a minimum, and those mistakes which were made were quickly recovered or resolved by an additional player moving in.  If you need a thumbs down, my nod goes to Clitsome on D (made some truly mediocre plays are looked hurried a lot) as well as MacKenzie (who I still cannot figure out how he is in the lineup over Mayorov, especially considering how lost he looks on the wing).

While this is only one play, I really want to point out an absolutely ridiculous faceoff win by Antoine Vermette.  After the puck was won slightly behind the opposing center, Vermette literally reached around the guy with one hand and pulled the puck back to his defender.  I have never seen anything like it and frankly, I did a double take to really consider what he had done.  I have long been a fan of Vermette's ability on the draw, but this was just beyond anything I have seen.

The Positive

I experienced another awesome meeting with some fellow bloggers and tweeps during the first intermission.  Finally purchased my Blue Jackets third jersey (went with the man, Carter), and enjoyed the excellent seats and service of the club level.  I also enjoyed two of the more impressive periods of hockey I have seen out of this team, and one fantastic effort by Steve Mason, including a kick save which he appeared to intentionally launch toward the empty blueline, sending the Jackets on the rush.  While I am disappointed about the loss, it is a step in the right direction and I expect more success for the team as the season wears on.

Carry the Flag!

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