Shrapnel - 1/29/12
Depending on who you were watching and listening to, yesterday was a day of pure joy, righteous anger, anticipation, or fear - and perhaps a mix of all four for those closely monitoring the pulse of the NHL here in Columbus.
In the "Joy" department, the NHL held their All Star skills competition (featuring the Jackets' Ryan Johansen in the breakaway challenge), with some good natured one-upsmanship, record setting power, and a general sense of enjoyment characterized the spectacle.
For the anger, look to the crowd of ~250 who gathered at Nationwide yesterday, delivering a message to ownership and grabbing local media attention as they called for the team to deliver a winning product. Check reactions from Puck Rakers, the Dispatch mailbox, and a Bob Hunter column, while DBJ provided photos of the event.
Appropriately, yesterday also saw the start of a series on NHL.com titled "unzipping the Jackets", looking at the team's fall from early season excitement to midseason frustration.
Anticipation has already begun for next year's All Star Game, to be held here in Columbus, with reactions coming in from SBN, the Dispatch, Puck Daddy, and PHT.
Fear, on the other hand, has raised it's head once again in the direction of Sidney Crosby. The Penguins captain, already dealing with the return of concussion symptoms, now appears to also be recovering from a recently discovered neck injury that may have been 'missed' during his initial treatment. On the one hand, it's another step to helping one of the best players in the world recover, but on the other, it does bring up questions about the treatment he received from the Pittsburgh medical staff, and what it might mean for his relationship with the team going forward..
A few other links for your Sunday reading: At Strait-Jackets, Dannie wants to hear your stories, Phil Kessel and Claude Julien mended fences, a massive ECHL line brawl, Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr hope for fairly painless CBA negotiations, and the roof is coming down at the Igloo as the demolition of the iconic building continues.