Monday Hit List

February 19, 2007

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these.  The EOB catch-up sports post after the usual weekend layoff.  I hope everyone had a good weekend and isn’t too slow getting back to work or school.  Without further ado, your Monday Hit List:

  • I caught bits of Friday’s game against San Jose.  More on this shortly.  What is it with me not watching full games anymore?  I used to watch every minute of 70+ games per season, and I think the last game I saw start to finish I actually attended.  How sad.  Back to real things… the Jackets looked pretty good against the Sharks.  Truth mentioned that he didn’t know if it was because the Sharks were slumping or the Jackets were playing that well.  Either way, I thought they looked pretty good.  Nik Zherdev had some get-up-and-go, and Freddy Norrena kept up his Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde routine and played very well.
  • Saturday night we (Mrs. EOB, myself, and the usual suspects) ended up at Z Cucina, an Italian eatery in Grandview (a Columbus suburb for you out-of-towners).  It was our second time there, and we had a great time.  I don’t claim to be a finely discriminating food critic, but I know good food and Z Cucina has it.  When the owner of the restaurant is the one seating you and making sure your visit is going well, that makes me feel very well taken care of.  Thanks, Rick!  We’ll be back soon.
  • I watched some of the Caps/Pens game yesterday afternoon on NBC (with two non-hockey fans, bless them anyway), and I have to say that I’m very impressed with the Penguins, especially on the power play.  I don’t want to take sides in the Ovechkin / Crosby “Who’s the best young star in the game?” contest, but Sid looked very strong yesterday.  Ovechkin played his first NHL game against the Blue Jackets, and looked awesome racking up two goals and a handful of punishing hits.  The studio guys for NBC talked a bit about the differences between the two players.  With Alexander Ovechkin being more of a pure scorer who has the size to get things done, and Sidney Crosby being a player who maybe doesn’t score as many goals as AO but has the skill/vision to make the players around him much better.  His creativity in the offensive zone was fun to watch.  I’m glad (for the Jackets’ sake) that he’s not in the Central Division.
  • The commercial run yesterday during the game was fantastic, with Ovechkin ordering all the food to Crosby’s room and all the other young stars of the game in there as well.  That would have been a good Super Bowl commercial.  Unfortunately, it seems that NBC believes that the best people to market hockey broadcasts to are the folks actually watching the game.  Oh well…
  • The second period against the Habs yesterday was pathetic.  After a strong first, the energy was gone and once the Canadiens put a marker on the board it was the same old story for Columbus.  By the time the Jackets decided to actually resume playing hockey, the score was 3-0 and the game was largely out of reach.  Yes, they pulled to 3-2 before the final buzzer.  But it would be nice to see the effort they put forth in the third period yesterday show up immediately after a goal is scored.  I’ve heard for years (and it makes sense), that the minute following a goal score is very important for establishing momentum.  For the team that scored, are they going to go out and get another (and another) or are they content with that goal?  For the team that gave up the goal, are they done for the night or will they fight that much harder to get one of their own?  It would be nice to see more consistent effort following goals against (consistently better, that is), and I’m sure it’s something that coach Hitchcock is looking to address and/or fix.
  • The OSU men’s basketball team finally put together two halves in a game and dominated in an 85-67 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers.  After halftime, it looked like another near collapse, as Minnesota pulled from a 12-point deficit to make it 47-40.  The Buckeyes responded with an 18-1 run and put the Gophers down.  In the most recent AP poll, the Buckeyes remain second as Wisconsin leapfrogs Ohio State to become the top-ranked team in the country.  This sets up Sunday’s game against the Badgers in Value City Arena as the first #1 vs #2 matchup the Bucks have been involved in on the hardwood since 1960.  I know I’ll be watching.
  • I didn’t make it down to the Ice Haus to watch any of the high school hockey playoffs this week, but I’m going to try and make a game this upcoming weekend.  I’ve heard it is a great time, and I’d like to see some good local hockey.  I’ve read about the HS hockey atmosphere in places like the Twin Cities in Minnesota.  I know we have a long way to go to approach those heights, but the emotion in high school sports is not easy to match.

That’s it for today’s Hit List.  Thanks for stopping by the End of the Bench.  Come back soon.

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