Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fever pitch.

Intense. This was a game of fans. The first period was physical with some outrageous hits. Mason was robbed twice with unfortunate deflections. And the fans never sat down.

The second period was down right incredible. I laughed, I cried, I hugged the guy next to me. The crowd was taunting the Wings goalie by chanting his name "Osgood, Osgood." Wholly crap this was a fired up playoff crowd. There may have been fewer Blue Hairs in the arena, but those without made up for it with a noise level that probably upset the neighbors. The concrete in the stadium shimmied with excitement.

Third period I'm hoarse. The teams are fighting with each other like trashy neighbors. There was more back and forth than a tennis match. Then, a controversial call on the Jackets for too many players. Just crappy. And the Wings take advantage on the power play to make it 6 - 5 with 1:34 left to go. This my friends is why we think there is a curse.

We may have ended our playoff series tonight but not without an incredible last game. This team and coach have proven to everyone that they deserve respect in the NHL. 

Speaking of respect, our mission has been to get this city behind the Jackets and to get fans to show the support that makes these guys play with the intensity we saw tonight. I hope you noticed the correlation between the the level of play and the level of fan craziness. This is what great fans do. Tonight, we the fans gave the Jackets the respect they deserve.

Talent, character and resilience. These are the traits of the real Columbus Blue Jackets. Be proud Columbus, this is only the beginning.

Go Jackets. Shake the Curse.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Feel Good?

Should we feel good about tonight's game? Well, tonight the Arena District was buzzing so loud it could be felt in the suburbs. The energy was thick and the color was blue. I could not find a person in the city that was unaware of the playoff game tonight.

Inside the arena there was even more energy. The number of blue wigs in the crowd made me shed a tear of pride. And the noise – the fans have never been more intense. Even the Redwings Henrik Zetterberg said it was a loud building.

Yes, the game could have been better. The early goal by the Red Wings stung. It appeared we had trouble recovering. However, unlike most games in the arena, we ended the game with intensity, breaking Osgood's shutout and bringing the entire arena to their feet. This being a far cry from the typical letdown in the last few minutes of the previously cursed games.

Whether you were there or at home there should be no doubt how you should feel. Feel good. Feel Damn good. We're making history. Win or lose we're a hockey town. And I for one am friggin proud of our Jackets.

Go Jackets. Shake the Curse.

Keep the dream alive Columbus.

Do you like where you live? Do you like the eclectic city scene, the best-place-to-raise-your-children suburbs, the flagship fast-food testing, the Buckeye's, the Clippers, the Crew, the festivals, the everything? 

If you do, tonight is very, very important. Our team – the Columbus Blue Jackets – have their first-ever home game for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And we must win. In a recent interview after our last matchup, the players told reporters "With our fans getting loud like they have been at home, we hear it, we feel it – we play better." This is what it's all about for us and our city. Get behind your team, make some noise and show the nation we are serious. Wear a wig, shake your shaker, or just scream and stomp. But most of all, make some noise. Tonight is a historic event for our beloved city and we owe it all to the guys on the team. So get loud and let them know we appreciate the effort.

Go Jackets. Shake the Curse.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

ATTENTION: The Curse has left the building.

Shhh. Can you hear that? Listen closely. It may be hard to hear, but it's the sound of The Curse walking away. As Fedor Tyutin scored the winning goal in the shootout against the Blackhawks, our Columbus Blue Jackets have officially ended a long fight with their Playoff Curse.

Beating the Blackhawks 4-3 sends the Jackets into the postseason for the first time in franchise history. This event is most important to us, the Blue Hairs. We've been diligently wearing our blue wigs, shaking our curse shakers and spreading the positive mojo – all in hopes of Shaking the Curse that has kept the Jackets from the playoffs.

For those of you that were proud enough to sport a wig or make your own curse shaker, this is your win too. The Jackets players have told us that the spirit of the fans chase the bad spirits away, giving the team an added focus. This has clearly paid off.

If you happen to hear the footsteps near the arena, it's The Curse walking away. Wear your Blue Hair, turn in the direction of the noise and offer your best single finger salute. This time, we win.

Curse Shaken. Did someone say playoff wig?

Monday, February 23, 2009

18,628 Reasons to Scream

Saturday night's game against the Ducks was definitely not the best show of skill for the Blue Jackets. That's right, we walked away with our tail between our legs in a disappointing 5-2 loss. But that's not the worst of it.

Nationwide arena attendance has been up for the Jackets. We have been winning and looking good, which brings in the fair-weather fans and creates great buzz for the team and the city. Even with less than fair weather outside, Saturday pulled in 18,628 fans anticipating a pleasant hockey experience. This is good. But this is where the deadly fan cycle begins in this Cursed arena.

Imagine for a moment that you come to only a few games a year. You bring your wife and kid, and plan the whole night. Everything is going great until midway through second period your kid asks "Dad, we're the Blue Team right?" That normally would not be a problem but this night you are noticing they do not look like the team you have been watching on TV. They are not the team you paid your hard earned money for. So you answer in an apologetic tone, "Yes son, we're the Blue Team." I am positive this tone filled the arena.

So what can we do? Granted, Nationwide Arena is a good time regardless of who gets the dubya in the end. But is it enough to recruit more rabid fans? Enough for fans to share their valuable Buckeye sweatshirt shelf with a Blue Jacket jersey? Look in your closet. Look in the mirror. That's what we can do.

The Jackets are still kicking butt. They started off the night with some great fights, and Mason actually made some amazing saves throughout. So they had a bad game on a Saturday night, and maybe altered the opinion of thousands of people about their "hockey experience". If you are reading this you have made it far with the team enough to help this city. You must be enough of a Jackets fan to want tell the guy in the cubicle next to you "Yeah, the game sucked, but we're still in it." or tell your church to "Pray for the playoffs." or even buy a Blue Jackets ice cream cake for Birthday Friday at work. I am certain you can come up with something to remind people that we have a great team that has been doing better than they ever have.

The goal here is to keep the positive energy flowing, deterring negativity. Our players need people screaming in their seats, making noise, supporting the winning vibe, and of course Shaking the Curse. It's the only way.

Shake the Curse.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Curse or Stamina?

Yes we won. We beat the Blues. This keeps us in the running for the playoffs. But why don't I feel good about it? Let me tell you why.

It was 4 to 1 at the start of the third period. Sounds great right? It would be, except for that damn curse that has plagued every third period since the very first game. The Blues came back with 14 minutes left to make it 4 to 3. Too close for a seemingly easy win for the Jackets. We have seen a reduction in curse antics since the start of our eradication campaign. Then what is it?

I noticed something in the shoot-out last Monday night. The Jackets looked tired. Sure, it was the end of the game but to compare demeanors, our guys lacked energy. We have an awesome team. Our players our extremely talented and we've got the depth to win game after game. History shows that a majority of Jackets games have been lost in the third period. This is nothing new to most of us. We need more stamina.

I remember a long time ago, something my high-school wrestling coach said; "In a close match, the guy with more energy in the third period wins, every time." I thought it was an excuse to torture a wrestling team into doing more pushups or laps around the gym. It's the classic Rope-A-Dope. And it works.

To be fair, and to gloat about the effects of the Curse Eradication, the Blue Jackets are over .500 for the first time in team history, repeat, team history. Also, we are tied for fifth in the Western Conference. Clearly we are kicking some butt. So let's keep removing obstacles.

Coach Hitchcock even said, "The third period is why I don't like coaching." Next time you drive by Nationwide Arena look for the Jackets in their sweats jogging laps around the outer perimeter.

Shake the Curse.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Stars were aligned.

It was all there. The team was on, the fans were into it, the energy in the arena was amazing. We had no excuses. I can't even say it was the curse. (Although, there were only a few Blue Hairs in the arena.) But we played well. Really well.

Let's not forget the last time we played the Stars. They served our Jacket asses to us. To compare, I would say we brought our game right, right up to the end. Which is why we ended up in a shoot-out. Shoot-outs are weird like that. You can't say a team really wins in these endings. It's more like the player that gets it past the goalie that wins. But someone gets the dubya, and it was not us.

While we needed this game, we are still in it. The way we played shows we have come a long way. We can't let this season get away from us. I hope you like riding the fence because we may be riding the playoff line like a worn out rodeo cowboy. Let's keep our heads up, hair on, and continue to Shake the Curse. We've made it this far.

Shake the Curse.