Game 24 Recap: Bowling Shoe Ugly
Anyone who has ever rented a pair of bowling shoes understands the phrase "Bowling shoe ugly." Red, white, and green striped clogs, electrical neon rainbow abominations, or bizarrely textured and ridged wingtips that look like they should be paired with a Klingon tuxedo are all common options when you hit the bowling palace and pay for your rented footwear. Sure, a serious bowler can invest in dedicated shoes with attractive designs or relatively normal appearance, yet still containing a Sure-Glide sole, but 99% of the time? You lace up those hideous rental shoes even as you cringe at their bizarre appearance.
For Jackets fans, tonight's game against the Sabres had plenty of ugly, way too much cringing, and a general sense of frustration.
When it was simply back to back losses against the Wings, it was put down to playing a very, very good team.
After getting a point against Nashville, it was at least some traction, even if it was a bit concerning.
Tonight, a lot of hands slammed on the panic button.
Ryan Miller played well in the 5-0 shutout, but the Jackets didn't do much to challenge the Olympian. 19 shots for the entire game.
They've had more shots in a single period than they mustered this game. That's pathetic. Particularly when you consider the fact that the Jackets had several 4 on 4 opportunities, and three outright powerplays.
Two goals did appear to be scored by Chris Clark and Fedor Tyutin, but one was waved off for being touched with a high stick, and the other on a goaltender interference, which....well, look at the picture. I agree that the goaltender must be able to play the puck within the crease, but Miller isn't IN his crease. He's well outside it.
Even if the goal was to be waved off, the following interference penalty on Moreau seems....unwarranted. But on the other hand, Stephane Auger and Eric Furlatt didn't really bother making consistent or good calls tonight.
The Jackets were probably going to lose this game regardless of the officiating - Buffalo had a week to rest and prepare for them, and it showed from the get go. But the game certainly got out of control because of the poor reffing, and both teams decided to continue escalating the hits and the retributions when it became clear that the officials would do nothing about it, finally culminating in Jared Boll's terrible, stupid, uncalled for elbow to the head of Shoane Morrissonn that saw Boll ejected from the game and likely to face supplementary discipline.
It was a rough game when the Jackets were down 2-0.
It was enraging when both goals were waved off, and Buffalo used the ensuing power play after Tyutin's waved off goal to go ahead 3-0.
After several Buffalo wingers were allowed to drag Rick Nash to the ice with no calls, I turned the TV off. I got word of the 4-0 and 5-0 scores via text message. I watched a replay of the Boll hit afterwards because I knew I'd need to write about the game.
Every time I saw Scott Arniel on the bench, he seemed to go through various phases of rage.
I thought back to Justin Bourne's excellent column on a post-defeat practice.
Given the way Arniel seemed to settle into a cold rage at the end of the game? I wouldn't like to be on the bus ride to the hotel, or the plane ride back to Columbus.
If the team didn't have to play against Pittsburgh tomorrow night, I suspect that Saturday's practice would be punishing - at best.
Did they look past the Sabres to the Pens?
Did they ignore tonight's game?
Did they leave their hockey game in Columbus, the same way they left the power play in Sweden?
I don't have answers. I wish I did. All I can tell you is that the team pretty clearly is lacking something to get them in gear.
I have to wonder if the team fails to engage again tomorrow, if the coach is going to sit down with Scott Howson tomorrow and ask him to try and make a deal to acquire it, either by addition....or subtraction.