First a recap, then a rant
Tonight the other half of the training camp roster took to the ice for the first time. This time it was in St. Louis, against a team featuring several of the Blues regulars, including goaltender Jake Allen and star forward Vladimir Tarasenko.
Tarasenko drew first blood with the only goal of the first period, on the power play. Yes, this was another game with a lot of penalties: 7 for Columbus and 8 for St. Louis. The teams combined for 8 slashing penalties (one point of emphasis) but only 1 faceoff violation penalty (a sign they learned from their teammates’ struggles last night).
Columbus came back in the second with two goals from former Buckeye Zac Dalpe. Sonny Milano earned the primary assist on both, with linemate Cam Atkinson also contributing on each. Milano has a golden opportunity to make the roster - and stay here - so it’s good to see him seizing that tonight. He led Columbus forwards in ice time. Dalpe was not considered a favorite to make the club, but with the questions looming about the center position, he could earn an opportunity at some point this season.
Jaden Schwartz tied it up for St. Louis with a shorthanded goal. Bad night for CBJ special teams, with 0 PPG on 8 chances, 2 PPG allowed and 1 SHG allowed.
The third period was scoreless, which sent the game to overtime. After Columbus failed to score on a PP following a slashing penalty, St. Louis got their own opportunity and they converted, with Tarasenko getting another PPG to win the game. Final Score: Blues 3, Blue Jackets 2.
Aside from the aforementioned Dalpe and Milano, a special mention goes to Brad Thiessen. He has been reliable in the Cleveland Monsters goalie rotation over the last season and a half. With Anton Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo moving on (to Chicago and Columbus, respectively), he becomes the primary goalie there. He saved 25 of 27 shots in two periods of action. Perhaps he’ll see some NHL action this season if/when Bob or Korpi gets hurt.
It is absurd that in 2017 not every preseason game is televised. Yes, I know it’s just preseason, but I think the league underestimates how many of their fans care about these games. Sure, the end results don’t matter but for many fans this is their first chance to see prospects in action. We read reports about position battles in training camp, but that’s no substitute for seeing the players with our own eyes and reaching our own conclusions as to who is better.
Every other major league puts multiple (or all, in the case of the NFL) preseason games on TV, on at least the regional cable network. Why must the NHL lag behind? You don’t even need TV! There are so many ways to broadcast it now: YouTube, Periscope, Twitter, Facebook Live, etc. Don’t tell me that cost is an issue, because any of these options provide an opportunity to sell ad time and/or sponsorships.
What the Blue Jackets did for Tuesday’s game was a start. They took the video feed from the scoreboard, synced it up with the radio broadcast, and streamed it on their website and on Fox Sports Go. St. Louis did something similar, but it was only available to viewers in the Fox Sports Midwest viewership area. I can’t imagine it would be logistically difficult to have shared that with those of us with Fox Sports Go in the Fox Sports Ohio area.
Bottom line: if you stream it, we will come. Give us fans what we crave.