Halfway through the homestand

February 12, 2007

As Mike over at Army of the Ohio notes: with the completion of yesterday’s game the Jackets are halfway through the longest homestand in franchise history (six games).  Sporting a 1-2 record, let’s just say it could have gone better.

Truth Serum had his thoughts on last Tuesday’s game against Phoenix.  I didn’t see the game, so I can’t comment.  But from all accounts, it was pretty grisly.  Lack of effort, absence of scoring, and a crowd that risked life to show up.  A recipe for disaster.  Truth also made some bold statements (I’m guessing just to rile up the readers), but received no responses.  I thought for sure there would be at least one person lashing back against his points proposal.  I completely agree with his (and John Buccigross’) comments on more Canadian teams and a shorter season.  It would be okay by me if there were 65-72 games to play instead of 82.  Revenue may be down slightly, but the laws of supply and demand could also balance that out a bit.  It would be nice to try, anyway.

I watched the game on Thursday night against Calgary with the exception of the first ten minutes or so.  A few thoughts:

  • How was the Phaneuf hit on Nash at the end of the first not a boarding/checking from behind/roughing/something penalty?  I was quite confused.  And when this hit (which I’ll go so far as to classify “dirty”) was chosen as Barry Melrose’s top hit of the night, I lost a little faith in the ability of the MSM (or maybe just ESPN) to market hockey successfully.
  • Moving right along, why in the &$%#*ing hell is Adam Foote coming off the bench and taking a penalty like he did to “stand up” for Nash?!?  If you’re going to come off the bench and try and spark your team by doing something dumb, why not go all out and punch the ass right in the face?  When you give a little shove to “send a message” not only did you get a two-minute minor which ended up putting your team down 1-0, you looked like a sissy doing it.
  • Kudos to the team for continuing to work hard and get a couple in the third.  You saved my wife and animals from hearing repeated curse words uttered in your general direction.

I recorded the game yesterday so I could catch the beginning.  I knew that for at least the first period we’d be off doing family stuff.  When we got home, I flipped on the tube to find that not only were we not in HD (bummer), we were down 3-0 with 5 minutes left in the first.  Wow.  Just… wow.

And then I checked my voice mail, to receive the following message: “Hey Andy, it’s (name withheld to protect the innocent).  Don’t bother rushing home, there’s seven minutes left in the third and the Jackets are down 3-0.  Bye.”  Awesome.

Of course, I’m a glutton for punishment.  I watched the rest of the game.  Thought we might get back into it when we put one on the board.  Then the entire team watched the Fritsche/Havlat collision and the score was quickly 4-1.  Then 4-2, can we come back again?  Nope, 5-2.  Then the Jackets turned it on late in the third to pull it to 5-4.  At this point, most of the fans had likely given up hope, but those late goals brought the crowd to life and it was exciting to hear a good crowd in the last few minutes. 

The team couldn’t close the deal and fell one goal short.  The pressure seemed good from about 1:30 out to right around 0:30 left.  Then, as Mrs. EOB eloquently put it, “right there, they just gave up.”  I was not pleased with the loss, but I believe that with the way they were playing if the game had been five minutes longer, that Columbus could have tied up or won the game.  Pulling to 5-4 when you were down 3-0 just over a sixth of the way into the game, that’s a building block.  It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it was nice to see the team battle back when even yours truly was doing the math and predicting the 18-0 shutout.

It wasn’t a win, but it was a baby step.  At least they didn’t lie down and take it.

Last but not least

Is it possible to heap enough praise on Danny Fritsche these days?  His point streak has ended, but a blind man could tell that this kid has energy.  He’s always played with that “all-out” attitude, but it seems that his talent level is finally catching up to his energy level.  As coach Hitchcock says, hard work produces points.  #49 is putting in the hard work.  If more guys could follow his example (like Adam Foote), perhaps the outlook would not be so bleak on this day in February.

Thanks for stopping by the End of the Bench, come back soon.



  1. Drew, the NHL does not have a Checking From Behind rule. They simply access a roughing/boarding/cross-checking penalty, any of which in the five minute variety should have been called. I can’t wait to see how the NHL defends this one if they choose not to fine Mr. Phaneuf.

    Yesterday, at the same time the Jackets were taking their afternoon nap, Upper Arlington and Dublin Jerome battled (and I do mean battled) for the Capital Hockey Conference championship. Jerome won, 3-2, but if anyone wanted to see a real hockey game with the players on both teams giving 100% and the fans cheering as loud as they could, that was the game. The game was fast, hard-hitting, and well-played. It was sad to see the hurt on the faces of the UA kids, but just as exciting to see the Jerome kids celebrate.

  2. “Is it possible to heap enough praise on Danny Fritsche these days?”

    I think we need to find the nearest flyer maker in Columbus and have them start making “Fritsche for Captain 2007-2008” banners to post around the Arena District.

    Seriously, it isn’t like anyone else on this team is showing the same energy or vigor he is. On top of that, he’s practically been the one who lights a fire under this team with his own individual play lately.

    I’m only being partially tongue-in-cheek, too, when I proclaim my vote is for Parma.

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