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.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Showing the Curse We Are Serious

Nationwide Arena was buzzing. It was a sell out crowd. There were a smattering of Blue Hairs. Mason is back. With all the positive energy, we have shown the curse who is boss, and once again kicked the tails off the Red Wings.

Red Wings three-time Cup winner Chris Osgood, said "He's good. He's real good," when asked about Jackets goalie Steve Mason. "He kind of reminds me of Tom Barrasso when he used to play. He's real agile and has quick reflexes and he's big. He doesn't just rely on his butterfly. He moves around and makes some big saves." Wings coach Mike Babcock said "They've got a real good team. They've got good balance and heavy bodies. And I thought Mason did a good job." The Jackets are finally getting well deserved respect.

This was an intense game right up to the end. The Jackets kept the Red Wings working hard and of the defensive most of the night. At one point the Wings looked like a bunch of monkeys trying to chase a banana around the ice. We worked them like a good team should. The Jackets were "on."

Goals were scored by Raffi Torres, Jason Chimera and Jason Williams. Great job guys. But we must acknowledge that these goals were made possible by a team that worked together with an intensity that is becoming more consistent.

Of course the Wings were all over Mason, especially in the last moments. Coming from behind the net on both sides, shooting from every possible angle, blocking our defenders and even sacrificing penalties to try to get a goal. All only to be denied by Mason. The Wings actually out shot us by nine shots. They looked desperate because they were. They gave up a six game winning streak. The final saves by Mason were amazing. One where he slide sideways, stacked his pads and deflected the puck off of his shin. Chuck Norris should be proud.

The arena was filled with screaming fans, I even saw a nicely dressed woman in heals pounding on the glass with excitement. It was so intense, the clock seemed to slow down. I watched every tenth second lapse in hopes of defending our win. When clock read zero, the arena roared. Everyone was on their feet for an epic and lengthy standing ovation.

When the arena is filled with fans and energy, the Jackets win. This is a fact. The players have even acknowledged their feelings about it. Whether or not you believe the Curse of the Jackets, you cannot deny that, Blue Hair or not, when this city rallies around them, they deliver. Columbus is a sports City. While the Buckeyes will always be number one in our college hearts, space has been made for the amazing professional sports our beloved city has earned. It's the fans that brought hem here, and the fans that help make them great.

Thanks for Shaking.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Dan LaCosta. Wow. His second NHL game and his first career shutout. Not too shabby. So, Mason and Dubielewicz can get their needed get-well rest.

With 31 saves - including a last second close one - LaCosta brought the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche.

While the Arena is always a good time, the first two periods of this game were well, a bit underwhelming. Plenty of turnovers and very little excitement. But that's ok, the Jackets turned it on in the third period.

Murry, Williams and Modin kept everyone on in the arena their feet for the third period. Again the Jackets have proven they have the depth, and when their heads are together, they will win.

Shake the Curse.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Could not have been scripted any better.

Of all the strange theories about the Jackets terrible luck, none could have been more unusual than the events that took place last night.

The curse appeared to be making a comeback. The Jackets had suffered three straight losses coming into Saturday night's game against top ranked San José. Plus, Jackets starter and star goalie Steve Mason was sidelined by mononucleosis. Regulars Jakub Voracek (upper body injury), Mike Commodore (food poisoning) and Marc Methot would all be out as well. Then, the day of the game, it was announced that recently acquired backup goalie Wade Dubielewicz would be out with the flu. The curse was strong.

The Jackets depth, specifically goal tending depth was put to test. A third-round pick in 2004, Dan LaCosta was our only hope. The only NHL game experience he had thus far was in two relief appearances. He had allowed a combined two goals on 24 shots.

Some would say there was no hope against the Sharks. But the Blue Hairs showed up and gave it their all, hoping the spirits would at least show some mercy. Mercy was not necessary.

The Jackets came out strong. The game started with a flurry of fists between Dorsett and Clowe. Then a goal by Williams with less than two minutes into the first period. Nash followed at 9:33 with his first goal in five games, giving the Jackets and LaCosta a two goal cushion.

The second period was not as intense. With just 54 seconds into the second period Setoguchi put San Jose on the board. I think I fell asleep for the rest of the period. A fist-to-cuffs between Boll and former Jacket Jody Shelley did catch my attention for a moment.

Then in the third period the Jackets began to pick up the pace. Setting up the puck, showing great coordination, the Jackets looked strong. But this pace was not enough to score. We were stung with a goal by Ehrhoff, pushing the game into OT. But we had a chance in this important game and the crowd knew it.

The arena was standing loud and proud when overtime began. It has been said that noise can ward off bad spirits as well as boosting the spirit of our players. We were doing our part. That is when the worst possible scenario materialized before our eyes. A break was made by none other than San Jose's 6'-4" Joe Thortan – who is considered to be one of the leagues best players. There he was, like slow motion, coming at rookie goalie LaCosta, one-on-one. Thortan shoots at close range and as if the hockey gods wanted to prove a point, the puck appeared to bounce off LaCosta's noggin' and fly right. No goal. The arena went berserk.

The fans would have been happy with that – happy that another Jackets rookie did something amazing. But it didn't end there. With all the excitement the next few exchanges went unnoticed. Then in the darkness of the midwest evening and through the ceiling of the indoor arena, the clouds parted, and a beam of heavenly light came down upon Jackets Christian Backman. Assisted by Umberger and Hejda, Backman was given a blessed puck and scored at 1:33 in overtime. This game, epically played and seemingly spiritually directed, was over. The curse has once again been shaken into submission.

Nice work Jackets. Shake the Curse.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


The CBJ tanked against the Dallas Stars. It was the CBJ of old – bad bounces, 4 hit posts, etc. Here's another reality: no Blue Hairs present for the game.

Come on Columbus, get on board!!!!!!! We need help to eradicate the curse.

The game before we had 8 Shake the Curse fanatics and we got a shutout. Last night no Blue Hairs and a huge loss.

Get a blue wig and a shaker and let's get this team to a playoff. Shake the Curse!