|The next James Bond?|
When we last left our beloved CBJ, they were just concluding a fun and bizarre season in which they lost the 8th seed tie breaker to the Wild and thus guaranteed the Blackhawks another Stanley Cup that they would never have won if we stood in their path. I will never forget that final game of the season where Nationwide Arena was finally being treated like a hockey rink should be treated. The crowd was bananas. We accomplished nothing at all but it sure as shit didn’t feel like it. In essence, we pulled a Jackie Moon and won the Flint Mega Bowl on that final night. When the shortened 12-13 NHL season ended in June, there were only two happy fan bases: Chicago and Columbus.
There is a sense in central Ohio that we FINALLY have it figured out. We FINALLY have the right foundation and structure in place to compete. It only took 11 years of being ASS. JD and Jarmo have the “brick by brick” mantra rolling strong. Season tickets are way up (I’ve been told). There is more than just a buzz around I-270. There are now expectations. To me at least, just getting to the playoffs isn’t good enough and I don’t think that I’m alone on that. Our only prior playoff appearance was a painfully pathetic 4 game sweep courtesy of the Red Wings. I don’t want that to happen anymore. I demand the playoffs. I demand playoff wins. I DEMAND THE CUP. I figured that I would just ask myself and answer some questions surrounding this year’s CBJ.
Q: Jack Nicklaus is dropping the ceremonial puck before the opener tomorrow night. This is easily the most cherished moment of his life, right?
A: Yes. Nothing else compares. I heard that he wants to ride around on the Zamboni, too.
Q: Bob can’t possibly do THAT again, can he?
A: No, he will not. I don’t think that he is a Steve Mason-like fluke, but he’ll let a few more in than he did last season. My God, Bob was so fucking good last season. It would also be nice if we had a competent back-up that could give Bob a few days off instead of running this Russian stud into the ground.
Q: Since we are now in the Metro Division and thus considered Metrosexuals, what about your competition within the division?
A: The Penguins are an ELITE team with terrible goaltending but they will probably always be better than us. The Flyers employ Steve Mason so you know that they suck. The Devils just lost their best player to Russia. Washington is a frisky bunch who has more talent than we do but, for some reason, always seem to underachieve. The Islanders are kind of like us as they have been a punching bag forever but are now showing signs of life. I know nothing about the Hurricanes except that they have a black goalie and about 13 Staal brothers. The Rangers? Fuck those CBJ outcasts.
Q: That blue-line is fucking incredible, isn’t it?
A: One paper it looks damn fine. Jackie J/Tyutin, Nikitin/Prout, and Wiz/Ryan Murrey are really good pairings. Nikki Six scares the shit out of me but thankfully Tim Erixon is there as D7 just in case. As always the case, PLEASE STAY HEALTHY.
Q: As usual, how the fuck are we going to score?
A: That is always the big elephant in the room. They are going to have to get creative until Nate Horton makes his debut (it’s so nice to have big time free agents wanting to come here). If Gaborik can stay healthy, I really like the top line of him, Boone Jenner, and Dubinsky. I would like to see the three line of Cam, Calvert, and Anisimov be the #2 but whatever. I think that Dubi breaks out this year.
Q: Can we please—just once—have a league average power play?
A: Probably not. It is part of the league rules for the Jackets to have a terrible power play. Is there anything more frustrating than your team not being able to get a shot off on the advantage? This happens ALL THE TIME in Columbus.
Q: Who is your least favorite Blue Jacket? Who is your favorite?
A: Least favorite is easily RJ Umberger. Even though he is an Ohio Buckeye, I feel like most of the other Jacket backers are tired of him, too. Umby and Johansen absolutely HAVE to be better this year. Joey needs to figure out if he’s going to be a stud or a waste of that ELITE hockey body. As far as a favorite, I would probably have to say Cam Atkinson or Nick Foligno. Actually, my favorite Jacket is the one that just scored. It doesn’t happen often so we must cherish it. And OBVZ BOB.
Q: Finally, how does the season shake out for the Blue Jackets?
A: I think the playoffs are set up that the top 4 from each division make it (instead of the 8 highest point teams). We aren’t better than Pittsburgh and probably Washington. We are better than New Jersey, Carolina, and Philly (I don’t care how many goals they score). So it basically comes down to two spots for the Rangers, Islanders, and Blue Jackets. Fuck it—we’re finishing third in the Metro and winning a playoff series before getting our doors blown off by either Boston or Pittsburgh. Hockey is back, fuckos, so CARRY THE GODDAMN FLAG! GOTTA SEE IT LIVE! DEFEND NWA! FUCK DETROIT! If you’re asking me for a Stanley Cup prediction, I’ll pick my favorite fat-necked heavyweight, Ken Hitchcock, and his St. Louis Blues to beat the Penguins. Nelly will be so pumped. HEY! MUST BE G-MONAAAAAAYYYYYY!
Oh, you want me to predict the MLB divisional playoffs? Tigers over A’s in 5 because the Tigers always beat the A’s in the postseason unfortunately. Red Sox over Rays in 4. Red Sox over Indians in 3. Whoever won last night, I’m picking Boston to beat them (please be Tampa, please be Tampa, please be Tampa). Dodgers over Braves in 4 because The Soul Patrol actually sucks. Pirates over Cardinals in 5. If you watched any part of the Reds/Buccos game the other night, you know that the Pirates (and their fans) aren’t just happy to be here. They expect to win. Plus, Pirates fans like to wave The Jolly Roger at all times. Yes, that’s right, the Pirates also like to CARRY THE FLAG! How can you root against that?
And just as an FYI, the Reds never won another game after Lange broke all the rules of the LFL. Your Tigers might be next, Dut. JUST SAYIN’!