It was a disappointing weekend for Ohio sports fans, and a reminder that sports just aren’t fair. You can have the talent, you can have the right gameplan, you can make the plays, but there will always be factors outside of your control that can alter the outcome of a game. Sometimes you can overcome these factors. Other times they pile up and bring you down.
First, on Saturday night Ohio State’s football team lost in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff, by a mere six points to the defending champion Clemson Tigers. A major turning point in the game occurred when the Buckeyes appeared to have forced a fumble and returned it for a go-ahead touchdown. The replay booth overturned the ruling on the field, baffling all but the largest Clemson homers. The officials said the process of the catch was not complete, but I just don’t understand how, given that he had the ball grasped in his hands for the duration of at least 4 steps, and made the “football move” of bringing the ball down to his body.
Last night, the Columbus Blue Jackets faced some controversy of their own. With the Jackets tied at 2-2 with Chicago late in overtime, the Blackhawks took a penalty for too many men on the ice. The clock appeared to keep running for over a second after the whistle was blown. The referees on the ice and the officials in Toronto took no steps to correct this. Zach Werenski briefly appeared to have scored the game winner as time expired, but replay showed that the puck crossed the line just after the clock hit 0.0. (Alas, the streamers had already dropped from the rafters. AWKWARD!) Had the clock been set properly after the penalty call, then the goal would have been scored in time. In the ensuing shootout, Joonas Korpisalo suffered an injury while unsuccessfully challenging a Jonathan Toews shot and had to be assisted down the tunnel. Elvis Merlikins had to come in cold off the bench to face Patrick Kane, and you can guess how that went.
Torts was predictably upset, and I can’t find fault with anything said here:
So, for those of you (like me) who are fans of both teams, it stings to see referee incompetence on display in a way which clearly altered the final result of the game. HOWEVER, it’s also important to point out that both the Buckeyes and Blue Jackets suffered from self-inflicted wounds in their games. Ohio State completed many ill-timed penalties (for the record: I think the targeting call was the right one by the letter of the rule, but the rule should be changed to reserve ejections for only the most egregious fouls. I would also like to see more consistency from the targeting review process.) The Blue Jackets also committed too many penalties in the third period as they blew a 2-0 lead.
Someone else in Ohio who may feel like sports are unfair is Freddie Kitchens. He probably thinks that he deserved more than just one season to be head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Couldn’t he learn from his mistakes and develop as a coach along with his young roster? But again, much of the blame falls on himself. He was the one failed to create an environment of discipline and accountability. He was the one who made game management blunders that every fan could instantly identify as a mistake, and which no football lifer should make.
The week that was
The point streak extends to 10 games! The bad news is not sealing the deal to get the extra point against Chicago, plus Korpisalo joining the ranks of the walking wounded.
The Cannon Cast covered how the team was winning despite the injuries. It was the third week in a row with a recording occurring during a game which the Jackets ended up winning. That can’t happen tonight, sadly.
MrSwift wrote our entry in the SBN-wide series featuring each team’s worst jerseys. This has been running all month across the network in preparation for the Winter Classic (which features one great jersey and one interesting one).
Elpalito checked in on the prospects, some of whom are currently playing in the World Junior Championship.
On Monday, we joined many of our colleagues in going dark as a protest of Vox Media and SB Nation’s decision to terminate the contracts of all writers based in California or covering a California team. This was done to comply with a new law in California regarding compensation for freeloaders. We appreciate your understanding and your support. In case you missed it, here was the statement of the NHL blogs. The NBA and MLB blogs have joined in as well with their own statements.
Tuesday: vs. Florida
Thursday: at Boston
Saturday: vs. San Jose (1 p.m. game)
The big one is Bob’s homecoming. Beating Boston would be quite the accomplishment with this roster, but they beat the Caps and Isles, so anything is possible.
The Monsters have, of course, been affected by the rash of injuries in Columbus. Elaine summed up how they’re coping with last week’s State of the Monsters.
With less than a full roster available, they returned after the Christmas break with a loss to Charlotte.
Around the League
Chicago has lost Calvin DeHaan and Brent Seabrook for the season. I’m going to be very upset if Seabrook’s injuries become career ending, allowing Chicago to get LTIR relief from his albatross contract.
New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier is shooting 14.% this year, so pay attention when he gives a lesson in shooting your shot:
He succeeded in getting her attention (thanks to some generously embellishing Twitter wingmen):
These replies have been my entertainment for the last two days. Thank you all for regaling me with the true tales of this man’s heroism.— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) December 27, 2019
A true Christmas miracle.
Ohio Sports Update
The Browns lost, too. They once again finished with double digit losses in a season. Only twice in the 2010s did they avoid that accomplishment.
Good news: the Bengals actually won a second game! Even better news: beating their cross-state rival didn’t cost them the chance to draft Joe Burrow #1.
Play me out
Ok, I’m going with the obvious choice this week. Sue me. Please party responsibly on Tuesday night. I’m going to play board games at a friends’ house within walking distance of my home, because I’m that much of a square. Again, sue me.