LIGHT ‘EM UP: Jarmo responds

MONTREAL — After the Columbus Blue Jackets clawed back from a 3-0 deficit to tie, then ultimately lose tonight’s match-up against the Montreal Canadiens, General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen held a brief press conference to address immediate issues with the team.

As a response to the outcry on Twitter about the team’s lack of named captaincy, Kekalainen declared he will be naming a captain immediately after the morning skate tomorrow. “Once our equipment crew is able to fashion a ‘C’ onto a jersey, we will name him,” he told Strait Jackets. “We’ve decided that it’s pivotal to name a captain in order to score more goals than the opposing team. It just has to happen.”

Additionally, he announced the signing of 77 year-old Vaclav “Vinny” Prospal. The left winger from the Czech Republic has played 4,512 games in the NHL, and scored ninety-seven goals for the Blue Jackets in 2013. “His contract offer was lost,” Kekalainen explains when asked why Prospal wasn’t signed sooner. “I forgot to dial the Czech country code on my fax machine. We’re incredibly honored to have our Lord and Saviour return to the club. He should make an immediate impact.”

Prospal will be in the lineup Saturday at Washington, starting alongside Captain Jared Boll. Expect the Blue Jackets to win by ten.

Studs & Duds: Game Two [CBJ 3, NYI 2 F/SO]

studsMark Letestu: How important is this guy to the team? Not only does he play everywhere Todd Richards puts him, he plays hard and he produces. With a goal in regulation to get the Jackets on the board and one in the shootout, Mark Letestu is our #1 stud tonight.

Cam Atkinson: That shootout game-winner was a beaut. But prior to that, he was a pivotal part of a line with Gaborik & Dubinsky that threw a lot of shots toward the net (6 SOG, 7 A/B, 2 MS).


dudsThe first and second periods: blech. The defensive zone play was abysmal. Scrambling, sloppy, lazy, distracted. It wasn’t until Letestu’s goal that there was any life breathed into them.

Ryan Murray: I’m not writing him off. I know it’s early. But he’s nothing like the Ryan Murray we saw in preseason. He’s got to get better, or I’d be content sending him off to Springfield for a little seasoning once Tyutin is back to speed.




10 Completely Serious Predictions for the 2013-14 Season

Who has time for production projections and standings predictions? Strait Jackets is here to bring you the hard-hitting important things: ten completely serious predictions about this season. You know you agree.

  1. Artem Anisimov will receive the jersey-tuck penalty so many times that the equipment staff will be forced to create a uniform onesie to keep him out of the box.

    Prototype for Anisimov’s new uniform.
  2. Black Tie Blue Jackets will feature an epic plaid suit-off between James Wisniewski and Brandon Dubinsky.
  3. Visiting fans will constantly be confused about why Nationwide Arena appears to be booing every time Boone “Grown Ass Man” Jenner does something awesome. (So, often.)
  4. “Mike Foligno” and “Ryan Yohansen” will have huge seasons. Too bad they’re not really Blue Jackets.
  5. Nathan Horton will not hear a “who?” but rather, a “woo!” once he makes his season debut.

    Everybody was kung fu fighting.
    Everybody was kung fu fighting.
  6. On November 7, at least one member of the New York Rangers will mistakenly enter the wrong dressing room, Rick Nash will stare creepily into the Fox Sports Ohio cameras one last time, Jared Boll and Derek Dorsett will have a throw-down to end all throw-downs, and everyone will need Pepto Bismol by the end of the evening.
  7. Cam Atkinson will be confused for a Future Jacket no fewer than five times, no matter how many times the security crew is reminded he’s really a Current Jacket.

    (Photo: ~kexiaohuax3/deviantart)
  8. At least one player will win NHL hardware, and at least one will win some Olympic bling.
  9. An unnamed player will have to be reminded that hybrid icing is a new game rule and not a Tim Horton’s donut feature.
  10. Leo Welsh will sing the national anthem at Nationwide Arena more than 41 times.






2013 Preseason Soundtrack

A few weeks ago, the Blue Jackets’ official Twitter account posed a question asking what songs get you pumped for Blue Jackets hockey? Coincidentally, I had started this project, but wasn’t quite ready to share at the time. This isn’t a collection of pump-me-up-to-kick-ass songs; instead this is a carefully picked soundtrack that I think perfectly plays along with our feelings coming off of a hopeful [but shortened] 2012-13 season, looking forward at a brand new start.

01. I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like) – Michael Franti & Spearhead

Life sounds like
I’m alive 
(This is what it sounds like)
Whoa-oh-oh, I’m alive

02. Ready to Go [Get Me Out of my Head] - Panic! at the Disco

So tell me right now
You think you’re ready for it
I wanna know 
Why you got me going
So let’s go
We’ll take it out of here
I think I’m ready to leap
I’m ready to live

03. Harlem - New Politics

(When it gets loud, I turn it up)
Shake it like a bad girl up in Harlem
(When it’s too hot, I light it up)
Light it up, yeah, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em
(When it’s too soft, I shake it up)

04. Future Foe Scenarios - Silversun Pickups

This revolution baby 
Proves who you work for lately 
Who do you work for baby 
And does it work for you lately?

05. Trojans – Atlas Genius

Take it off
Take it in
Take off all the thoughts of what we’ve been

06. Safe and Sound – Capital Cities 

I could lift you up
I could show you what you wanna see
And take you where you wanna be
You could be my luck
Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we’ll be safe and sound

07. Soldier On – The Temper Trap

All that is gold is rusting
No one will know
When seasons cease to change and
How far we’ve gone
How far we’re going
It’s the here and the now
And the love for the sound
Of the moments that keep us moving

08. Reunion – M83

You came out of nowhere
Stealing my heart and brain
Flaming my every cell
You make me feel myself
Will you stand in this land?
Will you stand in this land forever?

09. Counting Stars – OneRepublic

Lately I been, I been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby I been, I been prayin’ hard
Said no more counting dollars
We’ll be counting stars
Yeah, we’ll be counting stars

10. There’s No Going Back – Sick Puppies

There’s no going back,
When life’s a loaded gun, you pull the trigger, trigger
There’s no going back
The past is in the past
Thank God it doesn’t last forever

11. Here’s to Us – Halestorm

Here’s to all that we kissed
And to all that we missed
To the biggest mistakes
That we just wouldn’t trade
To us breaking up
Without us breaking down
To whatever’s come our way

 Like this, and want to listen to it yourself? If you use Spotify, check out this link to follow the playlist! Go Jackets!

On CannonFest, and being a #CBJ fan.

I started going to Blue Jackets games with regularity in 2008. At the time, I lived about 220 miles away in Louisville, KY, but I still made twelve trips up I-71 that year in my beat up little blue car. In 2009, I moved back to Cincinnati, and they became 100 mile trips up I-71, so I upped it to twenty five. I had a partial season package, and so did one of my good friends. I didn’t really know anybody in Columbus, but that didn’t stop us from having a good time.

Then this Twitter thing happened. Around that same time, people started using it more commonly, and the most amazing thing happened. Teams started using it, journalists started using it, and suddenly, everything was there at my fingertips, when I wanted it: information, stories, and photos. With that, slowly this sense of Twitter-community formed. I wasn’t just chattering about the Blue Jackets to an empty auditorium anymore (or maybe I was); there were other people on this new stage who loved them just as much as I did, and now I had an outlet to connect with them:

Post-game at RBar! Dinner at Boston’s! Meet me at the glass for warm-ups!

I didn’t make it to the first CannonFest, but I’ve been to all the rest. It feels like a family reunion without all the baby photos and familial awkwardness. You get to say hey to the Twitter pals and the blogger buddies you probably haven’t seen since April. It brings together everybody you haven’t seen beyond the @-symbol in months, but somehow it’s like you never left. There are new faces in Tom’s videos (like every year it seems), and someone new to hang our hope on. We reel together, just like we celebrate together.

I love being a Blue Jackets fan. For most of the last thirteen years, we’ve been the butt of a lot of stupid, unfunny jokes. We’ve been through a lot of heartbreak. We’ve watched a lot of losing games. But we’ve done it all together. Together. How many times have we gotten together at the cannon in the first intermission and lamented about some terrible goal they gave up after scoring first? How many times have we jumped out of our seats in unison and exchanged high fives after Cam, or Matty, or Arty, or LeBESTu lit the red light? After Bob stopped every single shot? After the defenseman du jour clobbered the other team’s superstar against the boards?

CannonFest is just a one-day, three hour display of what happens 365 days a year for a Blue Jackets fan. Being a Blue Jackets fan is being part of a community. Everybody wants to feel like they’re part of something, especially something that they’re so passionate about. I’ve never felt that in other sports: there is something so insanely intimate about hockey that sets it apart. Thank you, Twitter, for making it so easy, and thank you CannonFest, for making it so fun.

Totally Legitimate Things We Learned: Devo Camp Edition

There were no confirmed red flower pot hat sightings.
There were no confirmed red flower pot hat sightings.

This week, a horde of young whipper-snappers invaded the Arena District (unrelated to Justin Bieber) for a week full of life’s lessons (on how not to be Tyler Seguin) and a little bit of on-ice work. Here’s what we learned this week:

1. Alexander Wennberg was “actually born with this face,” thus confirming the existence of a God. Thank you. It appears that Mr. Wennberg will be a great addition to the organization(‘s collection of future male models), and he’s probably also pretty good at hockey. The 2016 edition of Black Tie Blue Jackets might rival New York Fashion Week.

2. Ilari Melart is a very large human being and wears sweaters that make him resemble a large, overstuffed teddy bear, the kind you win at a carnival. Sweet potatoes fear him. (Bonus: see all of @derdrache‘s photos & @AlisonL’s story over at FSO.)

"Hey girl. Wanna know what my jersey's made of? Boyfriend material."
“Hey girl. Wanna know what my jersey’s made of? Boyfriend material.”

3. Kerby Rychel enjoys cats.

4. Brandon Dubinsky was also born with a great face, and a fantastic fashion sense. Currently, the rumor the organization may have to change their name to the Columbus LadyKillers in the next few years, is still unconfirmed. #CLK

5. If hockey doesn’t work out for our prospects, they may have a future performing on Broadway. And no, that was not a Columyorkus BlueShirtJackets joke.

6. And lastly, at the end of the week, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

The CBJ Real Life Roster Challenge

So hindsight is 20/20, but this is the internet so we can do whatever we want. Here is the mission, should you choose to accept it. Create the ideal 2012-13 roster. But here are the tricks:

1. They have to all be or have been CBJ property. So Rick Nash is okay, but Sidney Crosby is not.
2. Consider their current playing status. Tugnutt was awesome but he’s kinda old now.
3. You cannot choose guys who were traded for each other. So, you cannot choose Rick Nash AND Brandon Dubinsky. Or a guy who was traded for a draft pick and the guy who was drafted by that pick.

Merry picking! Send your rosters to and I’ll share them here. Then we can sit around and drink copious amounts of wine and cry about what might have been.

Boyfriend of the Week: 2013 Edition



Did you miss us? I missed us. Two weeks into the season and I’ve been waffling over this all along. Who should be the Boyfriend of the Week? It took me so long to decide I needed two weeks. Realizing the Blue Jackets are a 2-5-1 team, there haven’t been a lot of fireworks to get excited about. Which is exactly why you’re not going to believe who I’ve picked this week… Continue reading

“The Blue Jackets will be terrible without Rick Nash,” said everybody ever.

As we wake on Day One of the Post Nashpocalyptic world, national opinion beyond the friendly confines of I-270 seem to be of the belief that the Columbus Blue Jackets are going to be absolutely terrible and abysmal without Rick Nash (as opposed to 30th place with Rick Nash), as if he is the sole proprietor of goal scoring in Columbus. I decided to take a look forward at what the Blue Jackets could do. I went through Rob Mixer’s “How Will they Line Up?” on CBJToday, and used that as the proposed lines. Obviously, anything can change between now and October. Obviously, just because a guy’s numbers averaged over the last two years say he’ll score 15 goals, it doesn’t mean he can’t slump or explode into a career year. And no amount of stats can predict the chemistry (or lack thereof) between a couple of guys – but let’s find some basis for what everyone’s griping about.

L1: Prospal – Brassard – Foligno

Vinny Prospal - age 37 – LW

2011-12 82 16 39 55 -11 3 165
2010-11 29 9 14 23 4 2 61
(projected over 82) 82 25 40 65 11 6 172
Average 82 21 39 60 0 4 169

Derick Brassard - age 24 – C

2011-12 74 14 27 41 -20 5 125
2010-11 74 17 30 47 -11 6 183
Average 74 16 29 44 -16 6 154

Nick Foligno – age 24 – W

2011-12 82 15 32 47 2 1 153
2010-11 82 14 20 34 -19 5 149
Average 82 15 26 41 -9 3 151

L1* has three guys who seem to have no difficulty averaging around 15 goals apiece and point totaling in the 40-55 range. If they develop chemistry and take shots (why so few, Brassard?), they could turn into a 40-50 goal line. Or more? It would be fantastic if all three could produce 20-goal seasons, and that doesn’t seem overly unrealistic, especially with Foligno looking to assume a larger role with Columbus than he did in Ottawa. If they can shore up their defensive liability (big minuses) they could be effective.

L2: Umberger – Dubinsky – Johansen

RJ Umberger – age 30 – LW

2011-12 77 20 20 40 -10 5 200
2010-11 82 25 32 57 3 8 220
Average 80 23 26 49 -4 7 210

Brandon Dubinsky – age 26 – C

2011-12 77 10 24 34 16 0 140
2011-12 77 24 30 54 -3 4 202
Average 77 17 27 44 7 2 171

 Ryan Johansen – age 19 – C/W

2011-12 67 9 12 21 -2 3 99

L2* is a little harder to predict as both Umberger and Dubinsky trailed off in 2011-12 compared to their prior production, but had scored in the 20-25 range with regularity prior to 2012. If they return to form – and Ryan Johansen feeds off of their experience after having an up and down rookie year – could they be a 60 goal line? One third of Ryan Johansen’s goals were on the PP. Could this be PP1?

L3: Anisimov – Letestu – Atkinson

Artem Anisimov – age 24 – C

2011-12 79 16 20 36 12 4 132
2010-11 82 18 26 44 3 3 190
Average 81 17 23 40 8 4 161

Mark Letestu – age 27 – C

2011-12 62 11 14 25 -9 4 105
2010-11 64 14 13 27 4 4 128
Average 63 13 14 26 -3 4 117

Cam Atkinson – age 23 – RW

2011-12 27 7 7 14 1 1 66
(projected over 82) 82 21 21 43 3 3 200

L3* is home to a guy who was on fire in his rookie season’s latter stages (Atkinson) and dominated the AHL, a guy who was ineffective with a minimal role in Pittsburgh (Letestu) but caught fire in Columbus in a new role, and a guy who has scored at least twelve goals in all three of his NHL seasons (Anisimov). It’s hard to say if Letestu’s change of scenery will continue to be in his favor, or if Anisimov will flourish in his new home, or if the sneak preview of Atkinson we got last season will last, but I see no reason why this line couldn’t put up 40 goals between them.

L4: Gillies – MacKenzie – Dorsett

Colton Gillies – age 23 – C/W

2011-12 75 2 6 8 -9 0 24
2010-11 7 1 0 1 -2 0 3
2009-10 45 2 5 7 -2 0 22
Average 42 2 4 5 -4 0 16

Derek MacKenzie – age 31 – C

2011-12 66 7 7 14 4 1 61
2010-11 63 9 14 23 14 0 76
Average 65 8 11 19 9 1 69

Derek Dorsett – age 25 – RW

2011-12 77 12 8 20 -11 2 137
2010-11 76 4 13 17 -15 0 112
Average 77 8 11 19 -13 1 125

L4* is about what you expect from a fourth line. I went back three years to show Gillies’ complete lack of any kind of production (completely underwhelming, but also completely replaceable), but MacKenzie and Dorsett make up for it. Dorsett’s new-found offense, if it sticks, added to MacKenzie’s defensive game, could make this a formidable shut down line that is capable of 40+ points.

What I see overall is instead of having one guy who is expected to tip in 30-40 goals with a supporting cast around him, the new Blue Jackets appear to be a team of small ego-ed, hard working players. At least 6-7, if not 10, have 20-goal potential. In 2011-12, the Blue Jackets had one 30G, one 20G, and one 16G (four others with double digits). The Nashville Predators (11 with 10+ G, 2 over 20) and St. Louis Blues (9 with 10+ G, 2 over 20) have shown that a team doesn’t have to be loaded with high-priced superstars to have success. What the Blue Jackets have “lost” in removing #61′s 30g/29a, they have gained in a handful of additional players with 20g potential at the same cost.