The Columbus Blue Jackets are streaking! And yet, I feel like I’m not enjoying it as much as I should. I spent the morning thinking about this, and here’s what I think is holding me back:
- My focus is too much on end-of-year deadlines at work and preparations for holiday celebrations. Hockey is background noise at this point.
- The schedule has been pretty light. There’s not much pride in beating bottom-dwellers like the Red Wings, Kings, and Devils.
- Despite playing some bad teams, it wasn’t that long ago that the Jackets no-showed for two periods against similarly lowly Ottawa. The ending against the Kings was fun to attend in person, but I left feeling like we stole a game. The first 58 minutes of regulation weren’t entertaining. That being said, there have been games where the Jackets played well enough to win and came away with nothing. There’s some kind of cosmic balance to the team winning games they shouldn’t.
- Speaking of that Ottawa game, it burns that we lost this month to recently departed players like Anthony Duclair, Sergei Bobrovsky, and Artemi Panarin.
- Finally, the biggest downer is the wave of injuries hitting the team. It’s not just that many players are hurt (and they are, with six players on the injured reserve and more out on a day-to-day basis), it’s that we’re losing players just as they’re hitting their stride.
To whit: Andrew Peeke was having a strong NHL debut before breaking a finger on a blocked shot. Cam Atkinson had scored five even strength goals this month (after none in the first two months) before suffering a lower body injury against LA which will bench him for the rest of the month. Oliver BJORKSTRAND has scored six goals in the last seven games, including two last night before getting checked in the ribs.
Now, on the bright side it is encouraging that the replacements from Cleveland have played well and the healthy veterans have stepped up as well. You would expect the injuries to take their toll in the standings, so it is a win for us each day the team continues to keep pace. And yet, is it - and I hate to use this word - sustainable?
Whether it is or not, I’m going to try to enjoy the wins as they come, no matter how they come. I’m also going to ask Santa to bring rolls of bubble wrap to protect everyone else on the roster.
The week that was
I did get a lot of enjoyment out of shutting out the Capitals a week after blowing them out of their own building.
We recorded the last two episodes of the Cannon Cast during CBJ games. We’re going to do the same tomorrow because you stick with what works, dammit.
Still a full week, even with the league’s Christmas break.
We’ve got another State of the Monsters recapping the previous week.
Around the League
The latest SBNation NHL FanPulse poll asked fans to describe hockey culture in one or two words. Here are the results. The frequency of “toxic” is not a good sign.
Tag yourself. I’m “old” and “loyal.”
Play me out
I suppose much of the holiday music I listen to is secular, but after twelve years of Catholic education I still have a soft spot for the religious music as well. I appreciate a work like this part of Handel’s Messiah, which I think captures the joy of this holiday and its significance for Christians: