Welcome back to another Red Wings gameday. It's time for our third meeting with the Blue Jackets and therefore our third meeting with Dan Parker of The Cannon. They're good folks over there who just so happen to root for the Jackets. Give them a look for the enemy perspective.
1. How's the feeling in the fanbase in the last week since Scott Howson's firing and subsequent replacement by Jarmo Kekalainen?
Well, I have yet to meet a fan who was sad/mad/upset that Howson was fired. Most felt it was a move far too late. There were some--myself included--that wondered about the timing of the move, but after some digestion it makes sense. This is a draft that this team simply cannot afford to screw up: they're on pace to finish 30th again, and with three first round picks that means they'll have 4 of the top 31 players in this draft coming to Columbus. Kekalainen's reputation as a scout and draft guy scored big points with the fanbase, and the hope is that he and John Davidson can cash in on a deep draft in which they have a LOT of good picks. It's hard to look at what St. Louis has built--which has the fingerprints of those two guys working together all over it--and not be excited.
2. Since beating the Wings, Columbus has gone 1-5-1 (the one win being a hilarious beat-down of the Sharks). What's been costing the Jackets points in those last seven games?
Honestly, it sounds like a cop-out on my part, but it's been consistency. Part of that is due to the roster turn-over as the inevitable injuries start to pile up, but part of it is that they just flat-out can't put 60 minutes of solid hockey together every game. The last three times they did that, they beat Detroit, got a game stolen from them by Edmonton's goalie standing on his head, and then beat the Sharks. There always seems to be a 5 to 10 minute let-down at some key point in the game in which their opponents cash in. Monday night it was 21 seconds in the first period that netted two goals for the Ducks in a game Columbus lost 3-2. This team has to play almost perfectly to win most nights, and any stretch of bad hockey costs them. They aren't talented enough up front to overcome deficits just yet./p>
3. Now's your chance to rename and re-logo any one of the Central Division teams. Whatever you say goes. What do you do with this one-time authority?
Wow, that's a tough one. After minimal thought, I elected to commit the ultimate blasphemy and re-brand one of the Original Six. The Chicago Black Hawks would henceforth be known as the Chicago Bandwagoners in honor of their fans. Here in Columbus, we see our share of visiting fans when Detroit, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Toronto come to play. And, that's understandable, given the proximity and the fact that many fans in the Columbus area may have been fans of those teams prior to the Blue Jackets existing. But the Chicago fans? They only started showing up en masse right around the time they got good. And, those fans seem to forget that less than a decade ago ESPN named them the worst franchise in professional sports, and that they cratered with a 59-point dumpster fire of a team right before the lockout. Yeah, it's because of these fans that come to our rink and talk shit like they've never seen hard times that I elect to alter the brand of an Original Six franchise.
I approve this change wholeheartedly.