Saturday, November 5, 2011

Date or Jackets Game on TV?

My family recently moved to Troy, Ohio.  Since the move, our lives have mostly been devoted to unpacking boxes, fixing things we didn't know needed fixed, and basically just getting settled down.  But tonight my wife and I are going on a date.  The mom-in-law has graciously offered to watch our three kids and we're off to dinner and a movie.

What makes this occasion "blogworthy" is the fact that to go out with my wife, I am voluntarily missing a Blue Jackets game on TV.  Up until this year, I would have taken a rain check.  There would be no way in heck that I would miss watching that game on TV.  What's different about this year?  There's no need to watch because I already know the outcome.

Yes, I'm exaggerating, but I think my decision pretty much sums up what most Jackets fans are feeling right now.  That feeling is the lack of hope.  We feel like the season is lost.  We feel like the Jackets don't have a very good chance of winning games.  So why make watching their game a priority over something that could be done on any other night?  Why subject myself to the frustration?

So I'll go out tonight with my lovely wife.  I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope for a Jackets victory but I'm not going to expect one.  I'll enjoy a nice night out...and perhaps check in on the score from time to time.

Friday, November 4, 2011

8 Reasons to Start York

Here are eight reasons the Blue Jackets should start Allen York in goal against the Flyers 11/5/11.

8. If a roster change is not imminent, might as well make some changes from within. A simple change like a goalie change might even give you a spark.  

7. Give the kid some experience.  He in the NHL as a prospect in your system.  Might as well get him some more experience, even if he isn't considered your long-term solution.  Who cares if it's an away game?  Who cares if it's in Philly?  What's the worst thing that could happen?  A loss?  Mason can get those too.  

6. The players seem to have lost confidence in Mason.  Every player on that bench, although they'd never say it, knows Mason lost that game against Toronto almost single-handedly.  It seems reasonable to think that the players might actually play a better game themselves without Mason as their netminder.  

5. Maybe you catch lightning in a bottle.  Nobody expected Mason to come in two years ago and become a Calder winner just like that.  Yet he did.  It's possible, however unlikely, York will find a groove and play well.  Toronto's third string goaltender did just that.  

4. Perhaps Mason could benefit from some time riding the pine.  It will allow him to rest, mentally and physically, and watch the game from a different perspective...the backup goaltender's.

3. If York loses the game for the Jackets, that's just one step closer to a top 2 draft pick.

2. Mason needs to be punished for his performance against Toronto.  Why reward him with another start?  Does Arniel want him to "bounce back?"  If he hasn't bounced back after two years, he's not going to bounce back now.  Like any player, he needs to be held accountable for bad play.  Let him sit.  

1. The season is all but over.  Could it really do more harm than good?

Why the Blue Jackets Suck

After reading every article and watching nearly every game, I have determined the problem with the Columbus Blue Jackets. I know why they suck. I can sum up all their problems and reasons for failure with one simple word: me. Yes, I regret to inform you fellow Blue Jackets fans that I, Anthony, am solely responsible for this mess.

 Allow me to explain... I started following the NHL in 1985 when I was 9 years old growing up in Connecticut. I distinctly remember this because the Hartford Whalers had an improbable run in the playoffs (yes, it was only the second round, but still). I was enamored. The Whalers were the hometown team. They seemed to be a team on the rise. They took the Canadiens to 7 games in the second round and almost knocked them out. My parents were die-hard Ranger fans so I kind of had a split-allegiance, but I definitely liked the Whale.

 The next year, 1986, they were Adams Division champions. I went to their first playoff game and watched Paul MacDermiad (sp?) score the overtime winner against the Nordiques. Paul Lawless, Ron Francis, Dean Evason, Kevin Dineen, Mike Liut. I was hooked. No more split-allegiance. The Whalers were my team.

 It was almost like the instant I decided they were my favorite team, they went downhill. After going up 2-0 to the Nordiques, they lost the series 4-2. They never won another playoff series before they ceased to exist. In college, still a fan, I went through the Brendan Shanahan debacle and followed them right up until they left Hartford.

 Now living in Ohio, I tried to continue rooting for the now Carolina Hurricanes. It was difficult, but with Center Ice and the Internet, I managed. They had their moments in a weak Southeast Division, but they weren't great. Then there was an anomaly. They made an improbably run to the Stanley Cup finals. They lost, of course, but there was hope. This team was on the rise (much like the 85-86 Whalers). Nope. The wheels came off the next year and they were right back to mediocrity.

 I stuck with them for a while, but there was this other team I started watching on TV. They were still one of the new kids on the block in the NHL. They were young. They worked hard. They were fun to watch. They never seemed to give up even though clearly inferior. The crowds watching them were, to quote Jeff Rimer, ELECTRIC! Plus they were the hometown team. They were the Columbus Blue Jackets. I began watching the Jackets regularly. Like my early days as a Whalers fan, I was enamored. Plus the team had several former Whalers: Sanderson, Dineen, Kron, Kucera, and Cassels. Something told me it was time to switch my allegiance. I decided that I was no longer a Hurricanes fan. I was a Columbus Blue Jackets fan.

 Within the next two years, as if a monkey had been removed from their backs, the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup. It was like they were suddenly able to compete now that they were no longer my favorite team. It was like a kick in the groin to see them hoist the Cup. I stop liking them and suddenly they are Stanley Cup champions??? They couldn't have done this a few years ago? Nope. I guess it would be too much to ask to experience the jubilation of having my favorite team win the Stanley Cup.

 But at least I had the hometown Jackets to watch. They were young. They had the top stadium experience in the country. Surely they would turn things around and become a winner!

 But of course, it was almost like they were doomed the moment I decided to make them my favorite team. Sure they had that one playoff appearance, but there is absolutely nobody in this world who could consider them a success story at this point. What has prevented them from becoming a success? What is the one constant? Me.

 Think about it. In 26 years of being a die-hard hockey fan, I have never been able to say that my favorite team was a winning team. Yes, I've had my moments, bu they have been few and far in between. 26 years is a long time to go without watching my favorite team succeed. I can only imagine what Cubs fans go through . And I know I'm being overly superstitious, but I can't help but think my bad luck has somehow rubbed off on my favorite teams. Sorry Jackets fans. Blame me. If you know of anything I could do to break this curse, you just tell me and I'll do it. I'll try anything. Well, almost anything.