Sunday, September 28, 2014

Getting Closer to 10/11

As we get closer to the start of the season, teams are starting to make cuts to get their rosters down. The Columbus Blue Jackets made their roster moves this weekend. I have to say, nothing surprising about the moves so far. Most have been or are expected to go to Springfield, with one going back to their Junior club.

From what I've seen and read about in regards to the pre-season games so far, all I can say is that I'm excited. Excited for the future of CBJ hockey. As it stands right now, (barring a signing of Ryan Johansen, which I would welcome), I see Wennberg getting the call to come to Columbus over Rychel, although it would be very close call. I got to see Kirby thrown down at the Penguins game, and I must say I was impressed. I like Wennberg, and his style of play, which seems to fit well with how it's done in Blue Jacket land. But, that said, I wouldn't be disappointed if Rychel got the call either.

With the status of Nathan Horton up in the air, it's quite possible we'll see both of them. Moving Jenner to 2nd line center (moving Dubi up to first, assuming nothing changes) would be a great move. That would enable the CBJ to bring up both of them to get some early experience while both the Horton and Johansen situations sort themselves out.

Something else I want to get out there is something that I'm excited to be a part of. That is the March of the Union Army. We start at R Bar @ 5:30 and march from there to Nationwide Arena. Kevin Valentine came up with this idea, which is a terrific idea. This will not only bring together some of the great CBJ fans that I've gotten to meet so far, such as the CBJ Avengers, Boone's Goones, the Arch City Army, just to name a few. Hopefully, we can bring more to the march. This is going to be an epic evening.

I'm honored to be a part of the March. We've got some great ideas for it, such as CBJ chants, sounding off each players name, and doing it by line. We are trying to get a couple of other things together for the March as well, although they may not happen, and something we could save for another time, say a playoff march.

Now, my next dilemma.... is figuring out which sweater to get next? Is it Jenner, Hartnell, or a blank one and get my name on it. These are the types of decisions that keep me up at night.....

CBJ Podcasts

Over the past few days, book ending my OSU game I attended, I've been able to listen to a couple of podcasts. The first one I listened to was called Blue Jacket Racket. You can find that podcast here. It is on the air on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 5pm, although that is subject to change come the start of the regular season. The gentleman who runs that is Kevin J VanManen. You can find him on Twitter @k_vanmanen. His guests that day were the guys who run the twitter account @boones_goones. They were on to talk about the CBJ, and announce their 2014-15 World Tour. They are visiting various towns in Ohio during the Columbus Blue Jacket Season. They are bringing some giveaways to each stop on their World Tour.

I enjoyed listening to Blue Jacket Racket. The passion that Kevin has is undeniable. But he is also honest. I'll definitely catch his podcast when I can. He will have the creator of the March of the Union Army Kevin Valentin on his pod cast this week on Friday at 5pm EST. I could be wrong, but there might be mention of a March on Oct 11th. Catch it. This one is going to take off, in my opinion. Support him and this really good podcast.

The other podcast I listened to was one done by @WithAnOhioBias. That podcast can be heard here. I listened to that earlier this morning, and let me tell you, it was an outstanding piece of work as well. They had the CBJ Artillery on discussing the #WeAreThe5thLine movement they started. They also had one of the CBJ Ice Girls on, who explained why she wears goalie skates instead of regular skates. Kevin Valentin was on as well, talking about the March of the Union Army that is happening Opening Night. They ended by talking about the latest RyJo news.

With An Ohio Bias was a great podcast as well. Great questions, and some great responses. The hosts were very gracious with their guests, and the guests got to talk about their CBJ world, and even had time to give shoutouts (Disclaimer..I got one....went all fan boy here...). This is definitely one I will catch on a regular basis.

This is actually my first two times listening to any type of podcasts. I will have to indulge a little more on those, especially those that talk about the Blue Jackets.

Give both of these a podcasts a listen. If you are even a casual Blue Jacket fan, you'll be better for it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Two down, two to go (Preseason Style)

So, I just got back from my second of two pre-season games this week. Let me tell you, it's getting me even more pumped up for the season. Being there for both games, the smell of the ice (yes, it has a smell I can get all the way up in Sec 209), the me goose bumps.

After watching the first two pre-season games, one thing that stood out to me was the puck control. It seemed like the CBJ just couldn't keep the puck in control. I'm not as concerned so much as many of the lines that played the last two nights haven't played together, so they may be a bit off. It also seemed like the ice was playing a major factor, as it was scrapped several times each period.

Players that stood out to me:

Alex Wennberg. Scored a goal in the first game. He seemed aggressive the first game, and seemed to fit in well with his line mates. I think he'll get the call if (player name deleted) isn't available, especially if Jenner slides to Center.

Boone Jenner (shout out to @BoonesGoons): I feel he did well at center. Since he's played center every level, this would not surprise anyone. He works hard, plays hard, and leaves it on the ice every night, and Sunday was no exception. One I was happy. There was also a good article by @aportzline on Jenner this week. Check it out here.

Kerby Rychel: Scored the first goal Sunday night. That didn't impress me as much as what he did against the Penguins....He threw down. I went crazy over that. The guy has a great punch. I hope to see that alot this year, and especially against Crysby.

Those three stood out to me. Of course, Bob made 30 saves out of 30 shots against the a  BIG shout out to him for his performance. Dansk(ing) made 12 more. I think he's making a statement as well.

What does this all mean right now? It means that we are stocking the pantry. If one player goes down, we have enough spice to choose from and get the job done. I think it will come together nicely by the time Oct 9th rolls around in Buffalo, NY. Then on October 11th, NWA may need a new roof.

I will say one good thing about what I saw out of the Flightless Birds that Don't wear Pants. The team seemed to communicate well. Nice clean passes for the most part.  They just suck at shooting at the goal.

questions, comments, concerns, media requests? Drop me a line. I have a great face for Radio... :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thoughts of the day....

I do want to thank Greg May for including my blog yesterday on his CBJ Daily on Ryan Johansen. Three posts in, and I'm linked. Thanks.

I just learned that Johnasen's camp made an offer. What it was, is up for ALOT of speculation. My take from this is, that the door is still open. I'm not caring at this point what the offer was, or why it was rejected (although I think hurt feelings may have played into it).

What do I want, as a fan? A fair deal, that also allows us to sign our Top Cop Sergei Bobrovosky, and maybe some room for another free agent next year. I don't think that is asking much. I hope Joey is of the same mindset. Everyone one know Joey wants to be here. The Blue Jackets want him here. Something will give, and Joey will be here. I have faith in Jarmo, Davidson, and the Management team.

On to happier news, the first preseason game is this Sunday. It is against the St. Louis Blues (Columbus is doing a split squad in Carolina as well). This will be my first true game as a Season Ticket Holder. We will also be practicing for the March of the Union Army. This will be a March from R-Bar to Nationwide Arena. There will be chants, there will be flags, there will be guys from Illinois leading the way, there will be fun. But most of all, brotherhood. We are all united in our love of the Columbus Blue Jackets. This will be my first march, and I'm excited about it.

Oh, and I get to see a former, not-to-be-named former Blue Jacket get his ass handed to him.....

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

As the Lines Turn

See what I did there in the title? HEE HEE

In the past twenty four hours (give or take a couple), there has been SOOOOOOO much discussion about one Ryan Johansen, a center for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He wears #19. He was the one of the top scorers last year for the CBJ. He is a physical presence on the ice. He made some exciting plays during the course of the year. He fed Dubinski the tying goal in Game 4 of the playoffs against that team in PA, a shot that beat THREE different flightless birds.

That was last season. It seems so far away. Since then, it's been nothing but "When is Joey going to sign?" or "Let's get this done, Joey". I was part of that questioning as well. I really want him to sign and be in camp tomorrow. I think he would be a great presence to build around in the coming years.

But, he won't be in camp. According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, he has cleaned out his locker and has flown to Vancouver (his home). He and his agent declined several offers made to him over the summer. Some of these offers were very good. One of them was eight years at $46 million. That's just under 6 million a year. That's one million under what they wanted. I would think that was MORE than enough of a concession.

That said, I will say that with not knowing what the details were, it's hard to put the blame all on Joey. I would think that his agent should shoulder much of the blame, and the Blue Jackets a little bit.

Let's start with his agent. Kent Overhardt. He is also Brandon Dubinski's agent, yet a great deal got done with him. A proven player. Someone who has shown over the last couple of years what he can do. He was trying to get the same for Johansen. However, based on what has come out, I believe that he was operating from a position that wasn't available to Joey, and that of a UFA. Joey was a RFA, meaning he was in a position of very little leverage (outside of any offer sheet from another team, which the CBJ can, and would match). This agent seemed to me, and this is my opinion, that he was trying to make a splash for himself as well. He seemed to be trying to circumvent the CBA that was reached during the strike shortened 2012-2013 season. I understand that he was trying to do what was best for his client, but he wasn't doing it the way it should have been done.

Joey. Joey should shoulder some of the blame, as he allowed his agent to take it to this level. If he really wanted to be here (again, my opinion), he would have pulled the leash on his agent and said, make a deal. Compromise. Get me on that ice with my teammates. I want to be there. But he didn't. He just sat back waiting for a big payday that was, in many respects, offered to him. But he didn't take it.

Blue Jackets. They deserve a little of it. But it seems they tried. They tried and put forth some damn good offers to Team Joey. And they said no. Why? Who knows. I'm betting there are several devils in the details that haven't gotten out yet. I don't like how they did the public beatdown of Johansen's team, but I'm sure they are frustrated with the situation. We are all are.

Bottom line. We will win without Joey. We will move forward and have our best players on the ice on October 9th in Buffalo. Is that going to be with or without Joey? Time will tell. But we can't afford to wait. The Blue Jacket will be fine.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Traverse City, and other thoughts

I just "watched" the last period and the overtime of the Traverse City prospects final, and the Blue Jackets prospects have emerged the winners, beating the Dallas Stars prospects 3-2. I say "watched" as the play by play was done by Rob Mixer and Alison on Twitter, and then I followed the last minute or two on DRW training's website.

It got me more excited about the upcoming season. Being a first time Season Ticket Holder (STH), watching a home team do well, and being part of a growing, but close knit family, just gets the blood pumping more for the upcoming season. Watching the CBJ prospects win this tournament gives me chills. We have some great prospects that are just chomping at the bit to come to Columbus. They want to come up to Columbus.

Which brings me to Joey. Ryan Johansen. Let me start by saying that I love Joey. I think he is a great talent and has TONS of potential to be the new face of the CBJ and being as recognized as a Blue Jacket as much as Rick Nash (that hurt to type). But this contract thing is getting old. I realize there is blame on both sides of this dispute. Get a deal done. Get Joey back to the Blue Jacket Family where he belongs. I think we, as fans, will forgive both sides once we see him skate on the ice at Nationwide Arena.

However, if he doesn't, we do have some amazing prospects, as was proven over the past week. Wennberg, Rychel, Bjorkstrand, Dansk.....These names will be spoken soon in Columbus. I'm excited for the future of this team, this organization, and this devoted, passionate fan base. I think that with the depth we have, we will be "THE" team no one wants to play, not just one of the teams that other's don't want to play. I think the hockey world took notice of that last season, especially during the playoffs.

This season, starting with the game this Sunday against St. Louis, let's show the world that even during the pre-season, we get up for our Blue Jackets. The Union Army is ready to go, no matter during training camp, or on the battlefield of the season.

Let's #BattleOn.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Opening FaceOff

I'm excited to be a Columbus Blue Jacket fan. I've been a fan off and on since about 2009. It really b
egan to take hold of me last season, when I attended several games, one of which I got to high five the team as they went out on the ice with my son. Last season, we got bit hardcore by Stinger, and my girlfriend and I decided to get full season tickets, so we would be able to go to any game we want. We got to watch Game 4 of the first playoff round at Nationwide from one of the suites at Nationwide. This was an amazing experience for us, and just left us wanting more.

We got to go to the draft party at Nationwide Arena in June. Got a few pictures with Prout and Letestu, both of whom are completely awesome. We've been to Cannonfest, which was a great time. We got to go to a Meet and Greet, and got to meet Boone Jenner, get his autograph and a picture with him.

I've meet some great people via the Blue Jackets as well. I'm hoping to meet many more throughout the year. If the first few months is any indication, it's going to be a very memorable time.

October 11th cannot come soon enough. That is the date of the home opener for the Columbus Blue Jackets. We are doing the March of the Union Army with fellow Blue Jacket fans that starts at R-Bar at 5:30 that evening, and we march to Nationwide Arena. I can't wait to meet several other Union Blue soldiers and cheer the Blue Jackets on to victory.

This blog will be undergoing some cosmetic changes as I go along. I'm always changing something as I'm never quite happy. If you have any suggestions for me, or ideas on how to make the blog look better, please pass them along to me.