This may be pathetic, but when I got of bed this morning at 5:15 (the wife and daughter going shopping) my thoughts went immediately to this game. I think we'll compete hard, not sure if we'll win though. I'll be there, section 215, row F. Go Jackets!!!!
Detroit will be on fire for the following reasons:
> Losing 5-1 to the Thrashers. The freaking Thrashers!
> Being tied in points (for first place in the conference, I might add) with the Blue Jackets. The freaking Blue Jackets!
Mason must be prepared for the most intense first period he's experienced since the opening game of the playoffs.
Section 207 tonight.
Swore that I wasn't going to get sucked into the new thirds, but I'm liking them. And the touch with the collar is very nice - may have to grab one of the first productions before they drop the JHM
As for the game, we can look at it one of two ways: the Dead Thangs are going to be pissed that the Thrashers embarrassed them and will be out for redemption
The Thrashers beat them, they are beatable, just another team. Punch the clock and let's get to work.
I choose the latter.
Hope a big crowd is there and as lively as Monday. The boys have to shut up the Detroit fans early & often.
Take back the Nat.
First place in the Central Division and the Western Conference will be on the line when the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets play a home-and-home set Friday and Sunday.
The perennially contending Red Wings often have challengers in the division race, losing the title last season to the Chicago Blackhawks, but the Blue Jackets haven't been on that list. They have made the playoffs once in franchise history and followed that up with a 14th-place finish last season.
They were relatively quiet during the offseason, other than hiring Scott Arniel as coach. But they have turned it around under him with a franchise-best 14-6 start and take a five-game winning streak into Friday's game. Last season they didn't reach 14 wins until the 30th game.
Signs of improvement:
•The Blue Jackets have eight wins in nine road games and are on a franchise-record five-game road winning streak. Last season they didn't pick up their eighth road win until their 25th away game. Sunday's game in Detroit will be a big test, because the Red Wings are 9-1-2 at home.
•They've scored 12 more goals than they've allowed, second-best margin in the West. Last season they were minus 43.
•Their top players are playing better. Rick Nash, whose six-game goal streak ended Wednesday, is on pace to top 40 again after dropping to 33 last season. Derick Brassard has points in 13 of his last 14 games, and R.J. Umberger is riding a franchise-record seven-game assist streak. Defenseman Rostislav Klesla, who missed 56 games last season with a groin injury, is tied for second in the league with a plus-minus rating of 15.
•Their goaltending is better. Last season the Blue Jackets finished 24th in goals against. But Arniel hasn't been shy about using red-hot backup Mathieu Garon (league-best 1.33 goals-against average), and that has allowed 2008-09 rookie of the year Steve Mason to work on his game and pick up wins in six of his last eight games.
I said before the season, a six game win streak could make the difference between this being a playoff and a non-playoff team. The streak stands at 5 games. And now the difference between a 5 game streak and a six game streak has larger implications than merely making the playoffs.
A win today in front of a sold out crowd is absolutely what this team needs to start bringing back the fans. This team has underperformed at home. Today is a chance to tell the fans this is not the "same old Jackets."
Today is about pride. It is about the team saying "why not us?" It is about telling the Red Wings fans that show up to these games they can make the drive down if they like, but they'd best expect to drive home unhappy. It is about telling Jackets fans that when they come to Nationwide, no matter who the opponent is, there is a likelihood of victory.
i cannot explain how much i want to beat this team....
I tried to put what a win would mean into words yesterday, and couldn't. Too damned frustrating.
On an unrelated note ... is that an inflatable replica 1850s artillery field piece in your avatar, or are you just happy to see me?
Sorry. I fought the urge to join the rest for two days, instead taking the high road. But that is the first - and only - bad dong-related joke you'll hear from me. Unless I'm talking about Detroit. The Wangs.