Sunday, October 23, 2011

Almost Laughable (with tears)

I want everyone to think back to their #CBJ happy place for this season.  Excitement and anticipation were at a franchise high during training camp based on the off season (potential) improvements.  I can only imagine that your CBJ happy place (the high point of the Regular Season) is the exact same as mine and also any other fans there may be left right now.

To put it another way, if we were to chart expectation and excitement for this club over time, it would pretty much follow the curve of a pinball game where the handle is broken, and the ball slowly slides downhill and eventually drops into the abyss...

CBJ optimism over time
That's right, the highest point to the season was the very first puck drop on home ice during the opening game against Nashville on Oct 7.  Nashville scored first, the Blue Jackets never had the lead, and essentially nothing has gone right ever since.

I believe we now all need to accept the fact that the franchise is cursed.  There can really be no other explanation for what has occurred over the tenure of the franchise and more specifically this season.  I haven't come up with a catchy name for this curse yet, but that will be for a future posting. The #CBJ twitter folk are quite crafty and I remain confident it will be settled in less than a week.

Why do the Hockey Gods hate the Blue Jackets so much?  This may just be speculation, but I heard that Boomer (@CBJ_Boomer) was caught giving Hockey Jobu's wife a foot massage.

How else can anyone explain this ridiculous set of linked events over the past few weeks?  Certainly this team has made some mistakes, and failed to capitalize on opportunities, but isn't that true of most if not all teams?  This Blue Jackets team even without big-named players in the lineup is way better than an 0-7-1 team.  A typical team that comes out of the gate winless in eight games is usually getting blown away during the games.

Show me a game where the CBJ have lost by more than 2 goals.  The games at MIN, DAL and DET certainly weren't their best games, but they were still 2 goal games (I tend to ignore allowing empty net goals for my math).  I don't think anyone would conclude that those games were blow outs.  Three other games were one goal games and could have easily gone either way.  Let's remember that Johnson's goal was disallowed against DAL due to #DD in the crease, and that Columbus had the lead to start the 3rd period against VAN.  The remaining two losses are the Colorado shoot-out loss where the tying goal was scored with 41 seconds left, and Saturday night's loss to OTT where they gave up TWO goals with 36 seconds left.  Obviously these two games were winnable!

How much of this is mental for the players right now?  If Vermette wasn't goalless in eight games (just 2 assists), and if the team had already notched their first win, I wonder if he wouldn't have fallen over at the blue line with an empty net open at the other end.  That marks twice within the first eight games where the Blue Jackets could have sealed victory with an empty net goal.  Both times the empty net goal may not have seemed necessary to win, but both times missing that opportunity has led to losses.

I say this start is laughable to the point where it draws tears mainly because this team cannot seem to catch a friggen break.  We have all had days like that where it seems impossible for everything to perfectly go wrong all at once and all at the same time.  That is the Blue Jackets season so far.  They locked their keys in their car after getting a flat tire in the rain on their way to the Emergency Room where their spouse went after falling on a slippery patch of ice in the parking lot after losing their job.
Sunrise, Columbus OH

That's a pretty low feeling. But as many of you noted on Sunday October 23, the sun actually did rise in Columbus OH.  The next day came. Like it or not, there are 74 more games to be played this season, and despite starting with the worst record in franchise history, why do I feel like this is one of the best rosters the CBJ have ever had, and the record is not a very good indicator of what the team deserves.  Certainly what counts is the points, and this would be quite a substantial feat to climb back into the race, but I feel good about this team.  Despite loss after loss, I feel encouraged that they will get it figured out and prove a lot of people wrong.  We haven't even seen that $58 Million guy.  I wonder if he can help?

It seems most fair to say that everything that could have gone wrong, has gone wrong and then more went wrong.  It really seems like a bad dream, and I will admit that I felt rather sick to my stomach after the Blue Jackets gave up 2 goals in the final  36 seconds.  Based on how the season has been going, it was a perfect way to close the eighth game and what should have been a sure win with the late lead.  I could only laugh as it became rather hilarious to me that the win was snatched up like a bully with lunch money not even giving the CBJ a regulation tie point!  HAHA HAHA HAHAHA (*sniff)

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