Category Archives: Miami

Jackets 2, Caps 3

The Jackets actually played pretty well tonight against the top team in the league. If they’d been able to finish some of the good chances they had, this one could well have been a ‘W’ for the home team. Granted, Washington seemed to be mostly going through the motions, but who can blame them? They’re cruising into the playoffs and Columbus will be on the golf course in a week.

Lots of Caps fans in the building tonight, but they weren’t really irritating like some opposing fan bases we’ve seen.

So, one more week and this nightmare of a season will be over. I realize I haven’t posted on the blog in about a month, but my level of interest in the 2009-10 Blue Jackets has been just about nil. I’ve been preoccupied with work stuff, both good and bad, since the start of the new year. And it’s been hard to carve out the mental space to think about this team and analyze their performances. And in a way, the Olympics were the last straw for me — two weeks of exciting, well-played, meaningful hockey in which both of my favorite teams (USA and Slovakia) contended for medals. To switch from that back to, oh, six more weeks of a CBJ season where the playoff hopes were essentially put paid to in November — ugh. I still watch the games, sort of. And go to them when I have tickets (although I did miss three in a row in March for a variety of reasons, the most humorous of which was my car getting completely coated in mud after the Crew home opener last weekend).

I know I’ve made it through lots of bad CBJ seasons before (and a whole string of frustrating Ottawa Senators seasons before that) without getting this turned off. But with the team having made the playoffs last year and looking to be on the upswing, to not even be in a playoff battle is just too much.

But hey, Miami’s in the Frozen Four next week, so there may be some hockey glory for Ohio yet this spring.

And I renewed my CBJ twenty-game pack for next season already. Because hope springs eternal. And that’s why I’m not calling time on the blog, although I strongly considered it at times the past few months. See y’all next season (and probably at some key points before that, like the draft and July 1)!

Saturday catching-up post

First game of the Claude Noel interim era on Thursday. I went — first win I’ve seen in person in its entirety since….um….several decades ago? (Actually, November 7 against Carolina. So just in the last decade) It was a pretty boring affair, as I recall (I went out carousing after the game, so most of my memories of it are seen through a thick haze of beer, karaoke, and cupcakes), not many good scoring chances by either team, neither team really dominating. The most exciting moment was probably Umberger’s empty net (!) goal scored from his stomach in the dying minutes to make it 2-0. Dallas rather quickly answered back to make a thrilling game of it for the last minute, but Mason held on. So, not exactly a 180-degree turnaround for the Jackets in the post-Hitchcock era, but a promising enough start, I suppose.

Buffalo tonight. I’m going, so I had some hopes that Snowmageddon might keep some of the drunken WNY hordes at bay. But this is Buffalo we’re talking about, so no. I think I need a drink already…

In other news, former Jacket O-K Tollefsen is now a Red Wing, so we’ll be seeing more of him (assuming he’s not hurt when the Jackets and Wings meet).

There’s also some sad news in the hockey world today. You’ll recall a few months ago I posted a link to John Buccigross’ excellent piece about the relationship between Leafs GM Brian Burke and his son Brendan, a student manager with the Miami hockey team who had come out publicly as gay in the macho world of hockey. Sadly, Brendan Burke and a friend were killed in a car accident in Indiana yesterday. Condolences to the families and the Miami hockey program.

Montreal Pre-Game Odds & Ends

Random thoughts:

So, I did manage to stay awake for the rest of last night’s game. Jackets did get another goal to make the score look somewhat respectable, but really, that was not a respectable performance by any stretch of the imagination. They were just bad. But it happens in hockey. It’s a long season, and every team is going to lay the occasional egg. No time to dwell on it, though, as the Jackets play again tonight in Montreal. The Habs are another team behind where they might have been expected to be at this point, but as we’ve seen of late with the Wings, Preds, and Rangers, that’s no reason to take them lightly. Also, this is the only game on the schedule tonight, and is being shown nationally on TSN and RDS in Canada, so no doubt the Canadian-born Jackets will want to put on a good show for their family and friends watching at home.

The Jackets move on to play Ottawa on (American) Thanksgiving, but won’t get to face off against former Jacket Pascal Leclaire. He is out for a month with a broken cheekbone, the result of being hit by the puck while he sat on the bench. I always did like Leclaire, and I still think he has some real talent, but the guy has just been snake-bitten by injuries throughout his entire pro career.

I was intending to take in a film tonight, but given that I’m still a little hobbled by this virus (although greatly improved over yesterday), I’ll be staying in to watch the game. Hoping for a better one than last night. Got myself psyched up for a game in La Belle Province by watching Les Boys III today. Okay, so maybe it didn’t psych me up all that much. It was an okay movie, but about half an hour too long. The first movie in the series was pretty funny and enjoyable, though, and if you haven’t seen it, I recommend searching it out.

Having spent the last couple days at home, in between my hours of judge show watching, I’ve had lots of time to surf the web, and dug out some worthwhile hockey stories:

After all the sturm und drang about Hitchcock’s coaching style after Filatov went back to Russia, there have been a couple of stories in the past couple days that point to Hitchcock having a good effect on young players. NHL.com on Rick Nash and his growth into the captaincy in Columbus and Tom Reed in the Dispatch on the blossoming of Rusty Klesla.

Meanwhile, speaking of the prodigal Filatov, he’s happy to be back with CSKA and playing well. But he’s still saying the right things (publicly at least) about Columbus.

And not Jackets related, but this Buccigross piece at ESPN about Brian Burke’s son Brendan, and his decision to come out publicly, is a must-read. And it speaks well to the character of Enrico Blasi and the program he’s built at Miami, so there’s something in there for the Ohioans.

And it sounds like something interesting might be happening on Judge Mathis, so I leave you with those thoughts. à bientôt.

A disappointing Saturday and a date with Detroit

Turns out I didn’t miss much by skipping the Jackets’ last home game to go to the Crew game. By all accounts, the Jackets played a stinker and lost 6-3 to the non-playoff bound Minnesota Wild. Which meant that they failed to clinch the #6 spot in the West and had to wait for the outcome of today’s St. Louis-Colorado game to determine who they would match up against in the first round. St. Louis won 1-0, which meant the Jackets have fallen into the #7 spot and will play the Red Wings. Not quite the optimal outcome. But can you really say they deserved any better with some of the performances of late?

And as it happened, the Crew game was disappointing too. Much like the first home game against Toronto FC, the Crew led for a good long time, and then conceded a late goal to wind up with the draw. At least it wasn’t an own goal this time. But the defending champs are still looking for their first win.

When I got home from freezing at Crew Stadium and started watching the DVRed Frozen Four title game between Miami and BU, it looked for a time like I should have been home watching that all along, and not at the Crew game or the Jackets game. Miami took a 3-1 lead into the final minute of regulation, and looked to be about to win their first national championship. And then — shades of SLU’s meltdown in the ECAC semifinal! — they gave up two quick goals to send the game into OT. Where Boston U ultimately prevailed on a weird bouncing shot.

All in all, a bad Saturday in sports from my POV. Now I’m just waiting for the NHL to release the playoff schedule and trying to figure out what slender threads of hope there might be that the Jackets win the series…

Miami moves on

They beat Bemidji pretty convincing yesterday in the Frozen Four semifinal, 4-1. They play overall top seed Boston U tomorrow at 7PM. Have to consider the RedHawks underdogs in this game, but it would be awesome to see them bring the NCAA hockey championship back to Ohio for the first time in 25 years.

Another Ohio team heads into new territory

I’m still on quite the high from the Jackets finally clinching a playoff spot last night, but keeping my eye on what another Ohio hockey team is doing today. The Miami RedHawks make their first ever appearance in the Frozen Four today at 5PM against surprising Bemidji State. The game is on ESPN2, and should be a good one. So tune in and cheer on another team from Ohio.

Boston U and Vermont go at 8PM in the other semifinal, which is also on ESPN2.

Jackets 3, Blues 4 (SO) and other assorted sports heartbreaks

I was flipping back and forth last night between several events — the Jackets game, the Miami-UMD game, the US Men’s Soccer World Cup Qualifier against El Salvador, and the Vermont-Air Force game, which I hadn’t intended to watch, but when it’s double OT for a place in the Frozen Four, it’s hard not to be compelling. As a result, I saw mainly fragments of the CBJ game and can’t offer any kind of educated opinion on how they played. With my eye on the playoff standings, it’s good that they came away with a point at least, bad that they gave away two points to a team chasing them, but as it stands right now, all five Central teams are in the playoffs, and I really want that to happen. So my feelings are mixed all around. I wish the Jackets would clinch and then I could unreservedly cheer for Nashville and St. Louis to get in.

Beyond the CBJ loss, it was an all-around disappointing day for Central Ohio sports. I went to the Crew’s home opener — good crowd on hand, good atmosphere with the Nordecke completely full and a thousand or so TFC fans making the trip down. Crew took the lead in the first half on a PK by Schelotto following a TFC hand ball. They looked to be headed to the 1-0 win until Padula scored a shocking own-goal with about six minutes to go. Schelotto had been subbed out by then, and without him in the lineup and other regulars missing due to injury and national team duty, there was just no real offense being generated, and it ended in the 1-1 draw. Which felt like a loss, to be sure.

Then it was home to watch the DVRed Ohio State-BU game from the NCAA regionals. Which also felt like a loss, because it was one. A huge one. The Buckeyes were just outplayed from the very start, eventually went down 6-0. They did start to make it interesting by the middle of the third period, scoring three goals to maybe make a game out of it. Markell pulled the goalie very early to try the hail mary, but BU just scored into the empty net. The final was 8-3. Buckeyes are out.

On the brighter side, Miami held on for a 2-1 win over Minnesota-Duluth, which means the RedHawks will be making their first ever appearance in the Frozen Four. Way to go!