With the All-Star break marking the halfway point of the season this weekend (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.
Brandon Dubinsky announces his candidacy for President - 1/26/16, CBJ 5, MTL 2
This happened days ago and I'm still coming down. A day after drawing P.K. Subban's post-goal ire for a two-minute minor, Dubinsky shoves Subban to the ice (with one arm, holy boats) and scores a dagger against the Habs in a 5-2 win. These two chirped and shoved each other both nights and it's painfully obvious who came away with the better of the back-to-back. Dubinsky could run for office in Columbus. Look at Subban struggle to get back to his feet after feeling the Forearm of God. This might have already won the "My favorite GIF of the season" award.
Nick Foligno pops Nathan Beaulieu - 12/1/15, MTL 2, CBJ 1
Let's stick with Jackets bodying Canadiens. Can't say I remember the impetus for this fight, but that's a knockout haymaker. The Hockeyfights crowd gave the captain a 97.9 percent vote on this one, which makes you wonder what the other 2.1 percent were watching. Fun Fact: Nick Foligno has two fights this season, the other coming against Kyle Clifford—which he won with a 98.3 vote. I also love the puck rolling past, like a tumbleweed after a saloon throwdown spills out into the street.
Cam Atkinson wins it in OT - 11/27/15, CBJ 2, PIT 1 (OT)
I've been trying to do justice with words but I can't stop staring at this GIF. It's beautiful. Dubinsky's patience, Cam's stick wound up and ready to score, Crosby watching helplessly and Fleury continuing to scoot around the crease like a dog with tapeworms. If nothing else from this season survives the eventual heat death of the universe, let it be this animation.
Anton Forsberg is not happy - 1/8/16, CAR 4, CBJ 1
Poor kid. We've all been there. This reaction came after the third goal, putting the game just about out of reach for a sputtering Columbus offense. Wish there were a little more to this GIF, but Fox Sports cut away just after Forsberg's outburst. The Jackets may not have picked up a ton of wins this year, but they've been good about showing frustration. It's kind of a theme for this post.
Jared Boll tags Brad Malone - 1/9/16, CAR 4, CBJ 3 (OT)
Remember when Carolina and Columbus played the night before and Brad Malone knocked Nick Foligno out of the game? So did Jared Boll. Enough has been said about No. 40 for now, but you can always count on Boll to have his teammates' backs. This particular GIF makes the cut because a) he wins the fight and b) he does it while looking like Ralphie pummeling Scut Farcus.
Brandon Dubinsky...is here - Every game
His mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention.
John Tortorella doesn't know anymore - 1/2/16, CBJ 5, WSH 4 (OT)
Watching John Tortorella behind the bench has been one of the season's greatest sources of joy, if for no other reasons than his naked emotion at watching this team bumble around most nights. This particular facepalm came after Scott Hartnell shot the puck after the whistle, drawing a breathtakingly dumb unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Look at that sigh. We feel you, Torts.
Boone Jenner spins and scores - 11/20/15, CBJ 4, NSH 0
This will make the list of CBJ goals of the year and might stand up as one of Boone's best when it's all said and done. Two Preds had the puck in sight and Boone beat 'em both. At the time, this win (a shutout, of all things) marked the team's fourth out of five games. They would win two of their next three after this one, too. Those were the days.
Sergei Bobrovsky is sad - 10/31/15 - WPG 3, CBJ 2
Poor, poor Bob. This game after No. 72 allowed three goals on seven shots and found himself back on the bench...and pretty much summed up this entire season. You just want to reach through the screen, give him a big hug and tell him everything's gonna be all right.
Ryan Johansen's shootout game-winner, 1/2/16, CBJ 5, WSH 4 (OT)
Just because he's gone doesn't mean we can't remember him making a fool of Vezina candidate Braden Holtby. The little defeated head slump gets me every time.
Ryan Johansen greets Mark Scheifele - 10/31/15 - WPG 3, CBJ 2
Let's keep the Joey GIFs together. Ryan Johansen, God bless him, can (could, I guess, if we're talking Columbus) throw a hit. Scheifele's head makes some uncomfortable maneuvers before Joey throws him to the ice like a schoolyard enforcer unceremoniously dumping a mouthy third-grader. Mark Scheifele is listed at 6' 2", 207, but here he might as well be your little brother.
Sergei Bobrovsky kicks one away - 11/27/15, CBJ 2, PIT 1 (OT)
Bob's ups and downs have been well-documented on this website, but he's still Bob. Excellent work by David Savard to tie up Evgeni Malkin and Bob's split-second heroics proved crucial as Columbus earned a win in its first-ever 3-on-3 overtime.
Brandon Dubinsky is gettin' upset - 10/17/15, CHI 4, CBJ 1
At the end of a 4-1 road loss to Chicago that marked the team's sixth straight defeat, Brandon Dubinsky was fed the heck up. Every single Jackets fan empathized and most endorsed Dubinsky's outburst...but it didn't do much as the team lost two more. In the three act play of a season, this covers Act One.