Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
It might have been the most boisterous Tuesday night in the city’s history. It didn’t seem to matter to anyone that the Red Wings had easily disposed of the Jackets in the first two games in Detroit. The Columbus franchise had to get through 658 games to get here. It was time to relish a moment in the city’s sports history….
Most of the 19,219 who had tickets made it inside the arena early, but the party was just beginning. A video of season highlights was played on the scoreboard and the fans went crazy. John H. McConnell II, grandson of the team’s late owner, carried the flag and the fans went crazy. The Blue Jackets took the ice and the fans went crazier, maybe offering up the loudest ovation in the building’s history.
It was a grand party, at least until the game started. One minute, seven seconds in, while most of the fans were chanting “Let’s go Jackets” in their outside voices, Tomas Holmstrom scored to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead.
added 10:35am, from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
But with their playoff debut Tuesday night, and the buzz filling the area leading up to it, the city made it clear it has embraced the Blue Jackets. And playoff hockey.
“I think we’re turning a corner here as a franchise. . . . The buzz in this city is that we matter a little more now, we’re more in the fabric,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We have our time of the season like OSU has their time. We matter right now. That’s huge.”
There was no doubt they mattered when the packed house provided a vibrant, loud atmosphere during early action. There was also no doubt there’s still a long way to go on the ice.
from Michael Arace of Puck-rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,
Tonight, the Detroit Red Wings put a 4-1 whipping on the Jackets at Nationwide Arena. With that, the Wings took a 3-0 lead in the series. It is, for all practical purposes, over.
The Jackets know what they are up against. They’re not going to quit. They’ll come out hard in Game 4 Thursday night. No one would expect anything different.
“We’re down 3-0 and we’ve got a lot of things to clean up,” forward R.J. Umberger said. “It’s not over yet. You’ve got to win four games. We still need the first playoff win in franchise history. The crowd here deserves a win. They need to see it. This city needs to see it. . . .
“Crazier things have happened.”
Fox Sports Ohio with the call…
added 10:12pm, Watch the Fox Sports Detroit view below…
from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,
Hockey fever has officially arrived in downtown Columbus at Nationwide Arena in anticipation of the first Stanley Cup Playoff contest in team history on Tuesday night.
“I don’t think anybody considers you a legitimate franchise in the NHL until you’ve played in the playoffs,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We’re in there now and we’re a young team that has a lot of talented players, who, in my eyes are just going to get better. But you still have to be playing this time of the year to be considered legitimate and we’re here.”
Update 4:45pm ET: From Puck Daddy—
How much of a boost will playing the first postseason home game in franchise history have on the Jackets? We looked back as some other “expansion era” playoff home debuts for comparison—including two against the Red Wings.
Game 1 (April 16, 1997): Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 4, Phoenix Coyotes 2
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
If you’re a Detroit Red Wings fan, the first two games of the team’s series against Columbus have been bliss. If you’re just a neutral observer, the first two games have been depressing.
Why? Because Detroit is too good.
Now I’m not ragging on the Wings; I just hope the Blue Jackets can harness what will surely be the awesome energy of Nationwide Arena when the teams square off again Tuesday night. As far as the Jackets should be concerned, one goal in two games does not a series make.
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
For the young Jackets, seeing how the Red Wings elevate their competitive level has been a staggering experience. They didn’t know it would be like this.
“I don’t think it’s just been our young guys,” Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. “I think it’s been an eye-opener for anybody that’s played them. I think it’s been an eye-opener for people watching on television, I think it’s been an eye-opener for our team.
“I’ve said this before: These are unbelievable lessons. This is exactly what you need to grow. You need to have these games so you just don’t talk about the level, you’ve got reference points all the time.
“We’re a team that’s got the reference points. Our players are going to get better daily.”
from Rob Oiler of the Columbus Dispatch,
“I just sell it. What they do with it is up to them,” said Frank Gonzalez, owner of Frank’s Fish & Seafood Market on Trabue Road in Columbus.
What they do with it is the second hurdle. The common method is to sneak the octopus through the turnstiles by slipping it into your trousers, a technique that Gonzalez does not understand.
“I wouldn’t want something moving around down there when you’re moving around,” he said, smiling.
“They’ve been creative,” said Eric Granger, general manager of Nationwide Arena. “We’ve caught them Saran-wrapped to the body.”
Most contraband carriers get caught before they reach their seats, having failed to elude the authorities, who conduct bag searches and quick visuals under jerseys and around torsos for every game and event.
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
A day after the Blues’ 3-0 loss to Vancouver, television highlights continued to focus on the postgame tirade of head coach Andy Murray on the team’s bench.
Murray was incensed because after Vancouver scored its empty-net goal, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault put his physical fourth line of Darcy Hordichuk, Ryan Johnson and Rick Rypien on the ice….
“I didn’t particularly like the line that (Vigneault) sent out,” Murray said. “I could have sent out Brad Winchester and B.J. Crombeen. We were alerted by the league that there’s no messages to be sent at the end of the game.”
Murray was witnessed screaming at Vigneault from the Blues’ bench, telling the Canucks’ coach to “Use your head ... Use your head.”
“I didn’t get it at the time and I still don’t get it today,” Vigneault said Saturday. “All I know is (later in the game) I was looking at Crombeen jumping Kevin (Bieksa) from the back, obviously an instigator, and then all of a sudden something on the side got my attention.”
a bit more on the Blues, including Paul Kariya will take the morning skate but will not play tonight…
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
He is fighting shots and fumbling pucks. “Shaky” is the age-old hockey term. The thing is, the Wings seem to have the puck all the time, and when they don’t, their defensive bearing has been superb. The ice has tilted. The shots Osgood is facing are coming uphill.
Osgood faced eight shots in the last 40 minutes of Game 1. He faced 15 shots in the first 40 minutes of Game 2. His teammates have erected a force field in front of him. They have flipped the switch. Their keepaway game has given them a physical advantage against a bigger team. The Jackets might be finishing their checks, but the puck is usually gone by the time the hit is made.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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