Anger Management

by Rich M on October 19, 2013 · 0 comments

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Fans are an emotional bunch and especially hockey fans. I watched the game Thursday night in Montreal with amusement through the first 20 minutes. I felt completely disconnected watching this game even though the Jackets were down 2-0. I was void of any emotion or anger and accepted that maybe this was going to be a good butt kicking. I thought the CBJ put together many good scoring chances, but chances not converted in the NHL are worthless. They came out watching the Habs skate around them like they were in awe of the Bell Centre banners and raucous crowd. The speed of the game caught them by surprise and the scoreboard showed it. I’m usually not that detached early in the game, but playing in Montreal can emotionally overwhelm a young team like the Blue Jackets and I wasn’t completely surprised by the score.

As the Jackets went on the power play in the 2nd period, I was still somewhat hopeful that they could muster something together and make this competitive. A stupid turnover and an even bigger mental error led to a shorthanded goal and what appeared to be an insurmountable deficit at 3-0. This was the goal that set me off and made me want to kick the dogs and yell at everyone in sight. If not for the fact there was a 2 year old asleep upstairs I would have yelled every combination of profanities that I’ve ever learned and maybe even banged my head against the wall. I can’t put into the words the rage that I felt when they scored that goal and I still feel my blood pressure rising when I think about it. Like I said, fans are an emotional bunch and I can’t be excluded from that. Whatever anger that I felt as a fan, the players on the bench must have felt something similar to that because their urgency and tempo increased after that 3rd goal. Something funny happened along the way that might be a sign of things to come for this franchise.

A 20 year old rookie playing in only his 5th NHL game who was a healthy scratch just a couple of games ago, took this game over. Boone Jenner was a 2nd round pick in 2011 and he played the majority of last season in the OHL with the Oshawa Generals. His aggressive fore checking style and general lack of fear has made him a fan favorite just 2 weeks into the season. After a Ryan Johansen shot was blocked by Montreal goalie Carey Price, Jenner pounced on the rebound to score his 1st NHL goal. This seemed to jump start the team and they added a late goal with 2:51 left in the 2nd on a Ryan Johansen wrist shot on a 2-on-1 break. As the 3rd period started, it was obvious the Jackets were in control and they took advantage of a power play opportunity 4:35 into the period. It was Jenner again who scooped up a juicy rebound and patiently gathered the puck and roofed a beautiful backhand over the sprawled Price. The rest of the period was played at breakneck speed and it appeared destined for OT or a shootout.

What happened next is something that isn’t unfamiliar to Blue Jackets fans and it’s where the emotion has spilled over in years past. Tomas Plekanec skated past center ice just before the blue line and unleashed a shot that caught Bobrovsky by surprise and whizzed into the net to give Montreal a 4-3 lead with 1:07 remaining. The Jackets still had a chance when Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges was called for tripping with 43 seconds left, but it wasn’t meant to be for the CBJ and Plekanec added an empty netter to complete the kick to the nuts.

The rage and irritation was quickly replaced with apathy and then I felt that same rage come again as I tried to sleep. It’s silly to lose sleep over something as meaningless as a hockey game, but that’s the beautiful thing about being a fan. There is no logic to it and most of us wear our heart on our sleeve. This game will sit in my stomach for a couple of days, but I know when the Jackets play on tonight night at 7pm that all will be well in the world again.

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