Now that my fellow fans was intense playoff hockey!!
With the way this series has gone we all needed that didn't we?!
Not sure about the rest of ya but that is all anybody is talking about today at my work. I've got non-hockey fan friends calling me and saying "dude... I listened to the entire game on the radio and that was one of the craziest and best sporting experiences I have ever had".... "if every hockey game was like that I'd be the world's biggest hockey fan".. that was just from the radio mind you.
My co-worker who was at the game with me had a family member from Cleveland call him, mind you once again a non-hockey fan, and say "what in the hell is goin on in there??"... they just couldn't believe how crazy that atmosphere was and that came through from the TV broadcast.
Yeah it sucks we lost, but I really believe that game did more for hockey in this market than probably every other game this season combined....heck from the past 5 seasons combined. I really get the sense that the casual fans who tuned in were like "holy sh**!.... that was awesome!!"... and will be back for more.
This franchise just took a couple of gigantic steps this season... not just in terms of on ice play but in winning over a lot new fans and regaining the trust of existing ones in the process.
Of course with winning comes higher expectations which believe me I'll be exploring on this blog many times over the summer.
Bottom line is they need to build off it and make sure there is no regression.
Okay so on to the final stoplight game review of the historic 2008-2009 Blue Jackets season.
STOPLIGHT GAME REVIEW
* 3-1 game over right? 5-3 game over right? Not for this resilient bunch who gave everything they had to try to prolong this series... As a fan I couldn't be prouder than to see the way this team competed and battled under difficult circumstances.
* The crowd... ohhhh the wonderful wonderful crowd! You guys/gals absolutely blew the roof off that house!
* Absolutely loved the playoff intensity.. everybody standing in the 3rd period... that's what it's all about baby!
* I wanted to give props to a fan named Tyler who drove in some 7 hours for the games from Iowa and to Dan from Missouri who was an original season ticket holder who moved away 5 years ago but made a promise to come back for the playoffs when they made it.
* Once again I loved both Klesla and Voracek... I just can't get over how much these two raised their games in the 2nd season. Klesla with 23+ min and a beautiful assist to Nasher but it was his touch defensive play that really impressed me. Voracek had great jump and was really strong on the puck.... he also had a team high 6 shots... Really it's a shame he only ended up with an assist for the 4 games as he played really well.
* Derek Dorsett.. I don't think he has to worry about a job next season. This dude made an impact every time he was on the ice.. he had a team high 6 hits in just 10 minutes of play and was just nasty to play against.
* Nasher had a real strong first 40 but kind of faded in the last 20... still a strong game.. was great to see him get that first playoff goal... I would like to see him get a little chippier against guys like Zetterberg but damn did he ever lay out Stuart in the Wings zone... POW..! what a hit that ultimately led to a goal.
* The Jackets were much more physical last night.. for whatever reason guys finally decided to match the Wings physically and to do so meant guys who normally don't hit like Modin and Huselius actually taking the body and being strong on the puck...
* The R Bar and entire arena district were just absolutely jumping before the game. The "beer garden" and live band have been fantastic... and how about the dude in the white posing as a hockey player?
* No octopi on the ice! A story I hadn't seen covered is that indeed a Wing fan in section 113 tried to toss one but was swarmed by 4 Jackets fans (neither of which knew each other)... the dead tissue never had a chance. Wayto protect our ice Tim S. and company! .... and Tim sign me up for one of those Eel patrol shirts!
* Congrats to Russ for his first ever goal... I gotta admit though I thought for sure he was gonna pass!
* What else can you say about Umberger? This dude just understands what it takes to be successful in the playoffs. He led all Jackets with 3 playoff goals.... The great part about RJ is that he is just now hitting his prime.
* Two for two on the powerplay? Did I seriously just write that? Was great to see the PP contribute to this game.
* Congrats to Juice on his first ever playoff goal.. only took him 20 games but he finally got it. Juice was much better last night but really needs to work on stepping up his competitive level in the playoffs... his skill game will get him by in the regular season but he's got to get stronger on that puck in the post season.
* I give the Wings full credit. They were certainly the better team and deserved to win this series.
* Timmy.. a Columbus fan... taking off his Jackets jersey and giving it to the owner of the Anchor Bar (Von) who made his first visit to Columbus to watch the Wings/Jackets playoff game.
* Not sure what it is but those pucks seem to be magnified to anything in red. It just seems like when ever there is a contested puck or bounce a Wing always came out with it.
* What was with all those broken and dropped sticks in the first period?
* I hate to write anything bad about Mase since without him we aren't even in the playoffs but I thought once again he was average... Nobody will ever admit it but I think he's exhausted and his game to me just hasn't been quite the same since the death threat. I hope he takes a good month off to recharge as the one thing this squad must avoid next year is the dreaded "sophomore slump". Howson must get him a capable backup this offseason.
* Still way to many of those "pinned in" sequences for the Jackets where the Wings just played keep away... they weren't as often as the first 3 games but still very apparent.
* It sure would have been nice to pull one out.
* "The call". The problem I have is not with the call itself... technically it was a penalty... the problem that I have is that when you decide to put the whistle away for an entire period you can't just break it back out and claim "obvious call" with a minute to play and expect everyone to be cool and the gang with it.... Not with all the crap that was let go... Not when the play was not going to result in an advantage for the offending team.. Not when the guys in orange stripes weren't even gonna call it. Heck even the Wings fans I talked to said it shouldn't have been called.... nothing we can do about it now but what a missed opportunity to let the guys on the ice decide that game.
* I personally didn't throw anything on the ice but I'm also not going to be a hypocrite and say I've always made the best decisions "in the moment" either. I'm not really sure how I feel about it to be honest.. I know it's not the right thing to do but at the same time I understood it.
* 6 straight regulation losses to end the season...
* We now join Atlanta with the dubious distinction as the only two NHL teams never to have won a playoff game.
* Just when I thought game ops was getting it's act together they throw out that rediculous Bon Jovi sing-a-long segment... I'll actually apologize to the Wings fans who made the trip for having to sit through that crap.
3 BRIGHT LIGHTS ON THE NIGHT
* Team fights til the end
* That truly was a FANtastic finale!
* 86 games sure is better than 82!
I think this team finally adjusted to the pace and price that it takes to pay to be competitive in the playoffs. It started in the 3rd period of the 3rd game and carried over to last night's game.
That is the learning curve that everyone talks about and it can't be substituted.. players must go through it to understand it. Next year when they make the playoffs again I think we are going to see a much different squad from the get go.
That said there is still plenty of work to do to for Howson and co. this offseason to this roster to help take the next steps. I'll cover every step along the way on this blog.
I gotta admit I'm a little depressed today knowing it's all over. Always next year right? Right around the corner though is Steve Mason winning the Calder and then time to focus on the draft which I believe we'll be picking 16th overall (that kinda sounds weird eh?).
For now though it was a helluva ride Jackets fans. Not many folks expected us to make the playoffs this season yet here we are. I'll have a recap about the entire series in the next day or two.
We salute you Jackets!!