Yawn… how ’bout a few meaningless lists?

January 19, 2008

So, is winter hibernation over yet? 

Heh, yeah, I’ve been quiet for a while.  You don’t want excuses, but here are a few reasons I haven’t written since last year:

  • Work finally got smart and blocked WordPress from our servers.
  • That little California trip where there was no TV.  This was good for my sleep schedule, but bad for my hockey fix.
  • I had an extended vacation from work, which should have meant more EOB time, but it ended up meaning more hours sitting around on the couch.
  • I simply got lazy.

Whatever has happened to date, I’m pleased to see that Truth Serum has kept things going with a series of good posts.

So we’re nearing the end of January, and the Blue Jackets are still very much in the playoff picture.  A lot of the reason the team is still up there has to be the current 4-game winning streak.  After getting waxed in St. Louis 6-1, the team has reeled off three home wins and a rare road victory.  The team is in the middle of a five-game road trip, and the excursion outside Nationwide will give a good picture of what we can look forward to for the rest of the season: hope, or a long slow slide out of it. 

Why do I say this?  Well, for all the things this team “is”, one thing it’s not is a good road team.  15 of their next 21 games are away from the friendly confines.  Their 7-12-2 record on the road is not going to get them to the playoffs, and they will need more efforts like they produced against Phoenix if they expect to still be smelling so sweet in March.

(Yeah, you missed me, didn’t you?)

What have I “missed”?  How about personnel moves?

  • Andrew Murray gets called up from Syracuse and reportedly looks good (I haven’t really seen him play) before suffering from a concussion. 
  • Gilbert Brule gets sent down to Syracuse to find himself.  Let’s hope the kid does well, gains confidence, and is able to return when he’s ready.  All accounts are that the guy is full of talent, but it cannot be said that we’ve seen it in Columbus.
  • Derick Brassard is currently playing in his fifth NHL game, having been called up from Syracuse a few games after making his return from sitting out over a month with a facial injury.
  • Duvie Westcott is sent down to Syracuse (pending no waiver claim), when Ole-Kristian Tollefsen made an unexpected comeback (at least, if you’ve been reading the Dispatch or Puck-rakers).  Marc Methot took Tollefsen’s place, and it appears the OKT’s return may be the end of Westcott in Columbus.  Even Ron Hainsey’s (hopefully minor) back injury couldn’t save Duvie.  I’m sure Mrs. EOB will be crushed.  I’ll break it to her gently.

And lastly, here are a few things I’ll remember about the last three or so weeks since we’ve talked:

  • I hate to complalin because it’s one of my favorite sports, but there are too many bowl games.  I simply lack the desire to watch BGSU get annihilated by Tulsa, or Purdue outlast Central Michigan.  Not fun.
  • While we’re at it, the BCS needs a reform.  No, the Buckeyes probably shouldn’t have been in the title game if we were to pick the two best teams at the time, but neither should LSU have been there.  I would have picked USC and Georgia.
  • Okay, one last college football note.  Kudos to Kansas for sticking up to the big boys when nobody (including myself) gave them a chance.
  • OSU basketball is being shown mostly on the Big Ten network, and I don’t care.  Moving on…
  • Nikolai Zherdev is a slick, sick SOB.  Whatever Scott Howson and Ken Hitchcock said to him and his agent over the summer, they should bottle that stuff and administer it regularly for as long as #13 is a member of the organization.  Zherdev is, as coach Hitchcock recently opined, one of the top players in the league.  He had the opportunity for a hat-trick before the end of 2007, and passed off to a teammate for the empty netter.  Some in the public panned the pass, saying that Nationwide needs a hat-trick.  I applauded Z for his unselfish play (yes, I physically applauded in my living room, you should expect this from me) and think that team play (especially in a win) is more important than a hat-trick.  He’s doing what’s necessary to help his team win: passing, scoring (that end-to-ender a week or two ago), and defending (the blocked shot last week in the final minute).
  • Rick Nash.  Earlier this year he had the between the legs madness, and two nights ago he pulled the dipsy-dangle-dip-deke-kick-score move to win the game that caused me to involuntarily yell, scaring my cat and waking my wife.  He’s produced two of the slickest goals in the NHL this year, and I’m sure he’s enjoying the attention that Zherdev is drawing as it takes a bit off of him.
  • The NHL Winter Classic.  This was a fun game to watch, as much for the falling snow and slow ice as the roar of the 70,000+ crowd and the child-like joy on so many of the player’s faces.  I wouldn’t mind seeing more of these.
  • A win streak.  Not just two games, it currently stands at four.  These are fun, and let you enjoy being a fan.  I really like it when the non-hockey fans come in to the office in the morning and feel the need to talk to me about how the team is doing.  You non-believers are welcome on the wagon whenever you please.

I’ll try to be a little more “present” as the days wear on.  I hope we all have something good to talk about.

Thanks for stopping by the End of the Bench.  Come back soon.

– Drew

One comment

  1. I chose to not wake my wife or dog after the crazy Nash goal, and just sat with my jaw open for about a minute. Those were SICK moves. The second defensemen he beat looked like he was being exorcised, as his head spun in circles looking for Nash; “Which way did he go boss, which way did he go?!?!” And any guy who can de-pants two defensemen, then a goalie, THEN bounce the puck off his “bojangles” before slapping it into the net gets my vote for B.A.M.F. of the Year.

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