Game 1 | Columbus @ Detroit | 4/16 7PM | The First Playoff Game. Ever.
The Blue Jackets were given an organization after John H. McConnell placed a bid for an expansion team. John H. McConnell was the biggest fan favorite and now, after his death, he is legendary among Blue Jackets fans. When one thinks of the Blue Jackets, they must think of McConnell because without his love for the city of Columbus, Columbus would not have an NHL franchise.
Blue Jackets fans have waited a long time for this day. But to say they've "waited" a long time is putting it lightly. Blue Jackets fans have suffered through 7 painstaking years of false hope and non-practical promises from management, as well as shortcomings by every team put out onto the ice.
Fans have seen players such as Lyle Odelein, Mathieu Darche, Scott LaChance, Fred Brathwaite, Sean Pronger, among other players that wouldn't break the fourth line on any other NHL team. Fans have seen the Blue Jackets finish 13th (three times), 15th (twice), 14th, and 11th place in the Western Conference. Fans have seen five coaches in the past 8 years. Fans have seen 5 different captains, four of them failed to lead the team to the post-season. One succeeded.
Rick Nash, selected 1st overall by your Columbus Blue Jackets, has come from a 3rd line rookie scoring 39 points in his first regular season to a 1st line franchise leader and a 80 point (79 points, to be exact) scorer. Without Rick Nash, Columbus would not have had a franchise player. Until this season, that is. With the introduction of Steve Mason, Derick Brassard, Jakub Voracek and Nikita Filatov, Columbus will soon be a hot bed of franchise players.
This season started with mediocre play by the team and eventually took a turn for the worse when Pascal Leclaire, the teams thought to be franchise goalie after a fantastic 2007-2008 season, became injured and was put on injured reserve. After backup goaltender, Fredrick Norrena took over in place of Leclaire and did not impress, along came rookie goaltender and, soon to be phenom, Steve Mason. After impressing the coaches in his first few games, Mason stuck around. Once it was clear Leclaire wouldn't be back for a while, he stuck around even longer. With the team's new goaltender, their play improved, especially with the play of rookie, Derick Brassard.
The team hit another low and a big one at that, when Brassard dislocated his shoulder in an unneeded fight between him and James Neal of the Dallas Stars. When injuries come...they come. At one point, many of the starters of the team went out with injuries and the Blue Jackets became the Syracuse Crunch. In that time, the team's passion seemed to increase dramatically. During that time, the team found a way to shut out the Washington Capitals, a team with Alexander Ovechkin-confidence boomed.
As the season progressed, fans showed up in greater numbers. It was largely evident that the fans believed. As the season wound down, the team stayed in the 6th position and it was obvious they were making the post season for the first time ever. Low and behold, they made it. For the first time. Ever.
They made it.
Their first opponent ever? The Detroit Red Wings. The series will be a hard fought one between both clubs as Detroit has a Stanley Cup to defend and Columbus has a momentum so high because of their first playoff series ever.
Detroit has is a rich history of playoff success. They have won 11 Stanley Cups and have appeared in the playoffs many, many times.
Detroit has iced players such as Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Terry Sawchuck, Chris Chelios, Glenn Hall, among many other greats. This is a team with a history of winning and with the roster they have now, the winning will not stop any time soon.
They are led by Pavel Datsyuk, a Frank P. Selke trophy and Lady Byng trophy winner, Henrik Zetterberg, a Conn Smythe trophy winner and Nicklas Lidstrom, a Conn Smythe and James Norris Memorial trophy winner.
This first game will be played at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan at 7PM.
Columbus hasn't exactly had a favorable history against Detroit, but for the past couple years they have been holding their own better and better with each game played. Their overall record against Detroit is 13-30-1-7, but as mentioned before this, they have improved their play against Detroit in tremendous ways, finishing the season with an even series against Detroit in the regular season.
The Blue Jackets are led by Captain Rick Nash, off season pick up, RJ Umberger, and rookie goaltender, team savior, Steve Mason.
Rick Nash has taken the team and has carried them on his shoulders as he has had his biggest season in his short, although promising, career. Nash has amassed 40 goals (1 short of his career high), 39 assists (a career high), and 79 points (another career high). If not for a mid-season injury and a several game slump because of the injury, Nash might have amassed more points.
In the beginning of his tenure in Columbus, RJ was used as a center. Things didn't go as planned as he wasn't the center we were looking for after all. After being placed on the top two lines, Umberger produced. Umberger came up big with 26 goals, 20 assists and 46 points. This has been a career year for RJ Umberger and it couldn't have came at a more important time.
Steve Mason. The savior of the Blue Jackets' season. He was brought in as an emergency call up and never looked back. Mason is in talks for the Calder, Vezina, and possibly even the Hart (although not likely with a huge year from Evgeni Malkin). He has put up career numbers among Blue Jackets goaltenders. With a 2.29 GAA, .916 SV% and 10 shutouts, Steve Mason has set the bar high for next season and has, at times, looked like a 10 year veteran.
The Red Wings are led by Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, and Henrik Zetterberg.
Lidstrom is the first European captain to lead his team to a Stanley Cup and a large part of the Detroit Red Wings.
Datsyuk is one of the best puck handlers in the game of hockey and is a prolific scorer. He is one of the hardest players to contain and has amassed 32 goals and 65 assists this season for a total of 97 points.
Zetterberg is another one of those players that can control games and has scored 31 goals and 42 assists in the regular season this year.
My final thoughts consist of this:
Will the team play like this is their first playoff series ever or will the veterans that have been to the playoffs before step up and take charge?
Will Nash play big in the big game as he has been known to do in the past with Team Canada?
Will RJ Umberger continue his playoff dominance that he showed traits of last year in Philadelphia?
Will we be able to contain Detroit in this series...CAN the Blue Jackets create an upset?
And for the Blue Jackets fans, do NOT be intimidated by the number of Red Wings fans in your building. They will be there and they will be there in numbers. Even with the limited selling of tickets to Ohio Residents only, there is a huge number of Columbus fans in the Ohio area willing to switch sides for the playoffs. Just remember to cheer and CHEER LOUD for your Columbus Blue Jackets. By playing a team like Detroit, they are going to need your support. If Columbus is winning by a goal or 3 or losing by a goal or 3, you CHEER.
This is the Stanley Cup Playoffs, anything can happen.
We aren't here for an appearance. We are here to win the cup.
Support your team.
Carry The Flag.
Last edited by Hilliardsw55: 04-16-2009 at 12:00 AM.
Best thread ever! I especially love the work you did for Mr. Mac and the early players and fans.. Nice tribute to them all.
The pictures are great also.. That said, I'm not predicting a score. On the surface I think Detroit is goin to kill us today but for some reason I think we may win it. It's strange, perhaps my heart is taking command over my brain...
My heart says...WE WIN!
Edit: our first playoff GDT in history! We need to save this one.
Damn Right today is a good day!! Hey yo Couga whats up!!! Couldnt wait til tomorrow to make my lil rant on the GDT and I must say Hillard you've outdone yourself this time, well done.
Gettin that outta the way let me just let everyone know that circleville is pumped!! We've been curning out that believe train love since the start and on here since feb. I am already waiting on the train to come through town and take me north up to D town to get this thing rocking
Lastly but certainly not least, I just wanna say thanks to everyone on our board for making me feel so welcome on here. Its been a good ride on here so far and I wouldnt wanna take this thing to the top without all of you.
Lets pull all the stops out for this GDT, Im callin for the rick rolled video, the Dont stop believein journey, and anything else yall can think of