December 6, 2007

For those of you who stayed home to watch Kid Nation, you missed a great comeback by the Blue Jackets. For the first two periods, the Jackets stunk the place up. In fact, I thought Hitch was going to call Stanley Steamer to have the brown stains removed from the ice. But they got their act together in the third and put the Avalanche away, 5-4. Had they played that way for the entire game, the score might have been 9-2.

Frederick L’Ecuyer worked the game last night along with Don VanMassenhoven as referees. (Go here to see their files because the NHLOA won’t let me link.) Young Frederick is starting his second season as an NHL official, although this is his first season in the big show as he spent last year in the AHL. Officials always pack a spare whistle in their pocket while working and probably have a reserve of six or seven in their equipment bag. If I were Acme Whistle Company, I would make sure that L’Ecuyer has at least a dozen in his bag because he is going to wear them out. His call on Dan Fritsche for goal tender interference should have set the standard for how the game was going to be called last night, but then I don’t know if he was looking at one of the Mountain Dew girls or what, but he and Don missed Ryan Smyth committing a much greater violation of the same rule that actually led to a goal. If I was playing in that game last night, I would be totally confused.

The Blue Jackets overcame this and their own sluggishness and put on a show. The switch was turned on and they didn’t let up. Fred Norrena came on in relief of Leclaire and got credit for the win. The only goal he gave was when the Jackets had a momentary breakdown and left Scott Hannan alone in the slot. But he did the job and stopped Colorado.

This obviously was a much better game than Monday, with the third period being an extended commercial showing why hockey is best to watch live at the rink. After Rick Nash scored his second goal of the game to make it 3-2, you could feel the team come alive and you just sat back and waited for the frenzy to begin. Joakim Lindstrom got the monkey off his back and tied it, Nikolai Zherdev brought back the toe-drag and gave the team a temporary lead, and then Fritsche put the game away for good. Adam Foote led all players with 27:40 in ice time, a number that needs to be examined later to make sure he can deliver for the entire season.

Now the team awaits Minnesota on Saturday. I think we’ll hear a lot of whistles in that one.

Before I go, I need to give a gratuitous plug to Caribou Coffee in Dublin, who let me sit in their store and use their free WiFi to post this. It’s great that they didn’t notice me hanging around for an hour without spending much money. Thanks to the staff. Maybe I can get my boss, Drew, to pay for my coffee next time.

-Truth Serum



  1. I mentioned your possible raise in the December forecast comments. I guess we’ll find out on the 12th if you’ve earned that cup of coffee.

    I was ready to send you a message after two periods and see if you still stood by your prediction for the game. Glad I didn’t, I’d hate for you to have an “I told you so” in your back pocket. 🙂

    What a game.

  2. Drew, I was never in doubt! But I did start doing some math to see if they could still come out with 20 points for December if they tanked last night.

    I would have responded sooner, but Caribou cut my access. The lady who runs the place said the WiFi was for paying customers only.

  3. Should I set you up with a tab for next time?

    You seem very optimistic about December. Based on what you’ve seen to this point, do you feel as rosy about January and February? (And no, you can’t say you have to wait and see how this month turns out)

    I’m cautiously optimistic at this point.

  4. […] of the Bench Views on the Blue Jackets, hockey, and sports in general « Rally! Are these minutes sustainable? December 6, 2007 I really wanted to title this post, […]

  5. I haven’t looked at January or February very carefully yet, but there are ONLY nine total home games then. Who made up this schedule?

  6. Probably Doug MacLean.

    (I’m kidding folks, really)

  7. Honestly, MacLean actually did, since it was at the board of governors/GMs meetings about this time last year…but I don’t entirely blame him.

    Stacking our home schedule in December makes a lot of sense. OSU football’s on hiatus until the bowl, the basketball team’s barely playing, and the Bengals/Browns are winding down. It’s a sport vacuum the Jackets can hopefully seize. Plus you get a chance for more people going to a game while they blow some of their vacation days at the end of the year.

    That said, If I’d done it, I’d have tried to pack more games into Feb myself, but what can you do?

    (Now, want to see a -real- funny home schedule? Go look at Nashville. Even their division opponents are always coming in at the bad end of back to backs, and often at the end of 3-4 game road stretches. Gee, that’s a funny co-incidence…)

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