With the All-Star break marking the halfway point of the season just ahead (we'll ignore how many games NHL teams have actually played), let's take a look at some of my favorite GIFs from the first half of the 2015-16 season.
These GIFs, in no particular order, come from the over 150 created for Highlight Recaps and the @cbjcannon Twitter account, which you should follow and shout at if you see moments that should be captured. Also: highlights abound elsewhere on the Internet, so I figured I'd focus less on goals and saves.
David Savard's hit on Joakim Nordstrom - 1/9/16, CAR 4, CBJ 3 (OT)
Slow motion makes nearly everything better, especially hockey and most especially collisions. On the first viewing, watch Nordstrom see what's coming and try to avoid the brunt of Savard's shoulder. On the second, see how Savard lines him up and strikes with an impressive economy of movement. Poetry.
Brandon Saad spins one top shelf - 11/17/15, CBJ 3, STL 1
We all knew Brandon Saad was good before he came to Columbus. We all knew he was good in the preseason. But holy boats, look at this shot. This goal put Columbus up 2-1 and he scored an empty-netter as well. The cojones you gotta have to pull this off, let alone the skill...I'm glad Saad plays here now.
CBJ fan celebrates in style - 1/2/16, CBJ 5, WSH 4 (SO)
God bless this anonymous hero. When your team ties the game against one of the league's best with 68 seconds to go, you show out. You have to. He nailed it too: the timing, the tongue, the little fist pump as he exits the frame...a well-earned and well-done intrusion.
Brandon Saad is really fast - 1/2/16, CBJ 5, WSH 4 (SO)
Another benefit of the GIF? The ability to cut part of a play and have it loop for eternity, seen here as Brandon Saad recovers the puck, turns and enters the zone with possession at approximately 600 MPH. Evgeny Kuznetsov hacked him on the hands at the end of this animation, putting the CBJ on the power play to end overtime. I've watched this probably over 100 times simply to make sense of the physics involved, and I don't know if it's possible.
John Tortorella and Scott Hartnell share a laugh - 12/29/15, CBJ 6, DAL 3
Best buds, havin' a good time! Score three goals in the first period and you unlock a smile from the head coach. Not sure if it works every time, but why not try it?
Down goes Jenner (and friends) - 12/10/15, WPG 6, CBJ 4
Boone Jenner takes out Jacob Trouba here before falling down himself and taking the linesman with him. He's a treasure. Coincidentally, check out the Jackets' Winter Park rink for this exact same scene multiple times daily.
Todd Richards swallows hard - 10/16/15, TOR 6, CBJ 3
This is subtle (watch the Adam's apple), but you can see Todd Richards take a big ol' gulp after Toronto potted one of its six (!) goals in the fifth game of the season. I remember seeing him do that and think "That's it." For a man of little outward emotion, this was the worst possible sign. I hope he's on a warm beach somewhere with a cold drink his hand.
Brandon Dubinsky exhales - 10/24/15, CBJ 4, COL 3
You can count on Brandon Dubinsky for a lot of things, with "visible reactions to goings-on" topping the list. After the Blue Jackets clinched their first win of the season nine games into the campaign, Dubi looked mostly relieved and happy to get that monkey off the team's back. That reaction also belied how close the game was as the CBJ took a tripping penalty in the final minute. Heart on his sleeve, that guy.
Tripp Tracy falls victim to the cannon - 1/9/16, CAR 4, CBJ 3 (OT)
Not a ton to say here. Ya got got, Tripp. Great job by Fox Sports Carolinas to put that split screen together.
Kevin Connauton duffs a celebration - 10/30/15, WSH 2, CBJ 1
JUMPMAN JUMPMAN JUMPMAN / THAT BOY JUST GOT NOTHING
Seriously, though, Connauton should know. Matt Calvert always goes low on his celebrations. Maybe he was just trying to theatrically throw a cape on Calvert, a la James Brown. You tried, bud. You tried.