directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Screwed again

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Screwed again

I'm not sure what its going to take for the Columbus Blue Jackets to get a little respect in this league. At this point I wonder if winning the Stanley Cup would do it.

Rick Nash, for the second straight year, was snubbed as an All Star MVP. He scored 3 goals, two of the spectacular variety, and more than any other player in the game. Somehow Eric Staal who had two goals (one a tap in) and an assist (a 2nd assist mind you) walked away with the hardware.

That's not even mentioning the two All Star records Nash broke. Nash's first goal was an All Star record as the fastest goal ever scored and he also became the first All Star in history to score two or more goals in back to back years.

Or the fact that Nash single handily got the West back into this game after they fell down 5-1 after the first period.

Some say it was b/c Staal was on the East which was the winning team. I say try again. The last 4 MVPs were from the losing team.

It was unfortunate ending to what really was a fun, probably the best, All Star game I've ever watched.

At this point, Jackets fans shouldn't be surprised by the snub after Colin Campbell failed to select Pascal Leclaire, who leads the league in shutouts and save%, is 2nd in GAA and is 10th in wins was left out of the game. Not to mention was voted 2nd by the fans.

Here was Campbell's explanation for Leclaire's snub from Mike Arace's blog:

1. “We like to try to get a representative from each team.” (Admirable, but not fair in every case.)

2. “The Stanley Cup champions should be well represented.” (Last year, the Carolina Hurricanes had two representatives, Eric Staal and Justin Williams, and Williams was a late add. This year, the Anaheim Ducks have four, including late addition Scott Niedermayer, who has played 19 games since coming out of retirement. So, which year did the league get it right?)

3. “We like to make sure teams that are doing well this year are well represented.” (Detroit has three representatives – all of them starters – one of them, goaltender Chris Osgood, who plays in a platoon.)

4. “For people who come to the games and pay a lot of money for tickets and travel, they want to see true, year-in, year-out All-Stars here.” (I can only take this to mean that Leclaire is not a true All-Star, and Manny Legace is).

“You look at Leclaire,” Campbell said, “and he is having a career year. Hopefully, he continues like that into other years.”

I say again: Leclaire ranks first in shutouts and save percentage and second in goals against average, and he got the second-most votes among goalies in the Western Conference, and the leading vote getter begged out. Doesn’t the league look bad for such an egregious slight?

“My counter to that is, if he’s that good, he’ll be here next year,” Campbell said. “If he’s that good, don’t worry. Tampa was all over us because we didn’t select (Dan) Boyle last year, but they already had three guys on the team. It’s tough to put four on and get every team represented.”

Unless Niedermayer is unretired.

“I hope (Leclaire) faces us,” Campbell said, meaning that he hopes Leclaire gives the league a facial by tearing it up in the second half. “I hope he sticks it to us by winning the Stanley Cup.”

I hope Campbell didn't tweak an any kind of muscles reaching for some of those "explanations".

The 2nd half? C'mon the Jackets only have 31 games left -- we are way beyond the point of "2nd half". The plain truth of the matter is the Campbell screwed up and he screwed the Pascal Leclaire, the Columbus Blue Jackets organization and its fans. Its crystal clear now that the All Star game is a popularity contest and not a true representation of the best players in the league that season. If it were, then certainly Scott Neidermeyer would not be at this event after playing 19 games.

Props to the broadcast team of Doc Emerick and Eddie Olcyk for at least acknowledging during the broadcast the Leclaire snub. Just goes to show it wasn't just Jacket fans scratching their heads over this one.

For the Jackets one thing is obvious, respect for this market and team will not come easily. As Rick Nash was quoted in the paper this morning:

"It's up to our team to prove something to them," Nash said. "The ball's in our court. We've got to make the playoffs and play better. It's all up to us."

He's right.....and if the Jackets were smart about it, they just use this as more motivation/ammunition in that room to come out swinging in these last 31 games.

I applaud Rick Nash for his spectacular performance last night and his job of representing this team and market.

I applaud Pascal Leclaire for his spectacular performance to date and his professionalism in handling the snub.

I applaud Nik Zherdev, who if anyone outside of Columbus payed any kind of attention to this team, would realize he has been the best Jacket on this team, for his transformation from zero to hero.

I applaud the team for staying in the hunt when everyone had written them off at the start of the year.

Next step, for the city of Columbus to applaud this team as it embarks on its first ever legit playoff push!

Also there is a great article in the USAToday today regarding Nash -- Nash's picture-perfect goal is snapshot of talent


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

uh, it's obvious in every sport that the ASG is a popularity contest. not exactly a mind-blowing revelation.