October 12, 2011
Blackout restrictions stink, whether it's the NFL punishing fans whose teams can't sell out a stadium or those nights of exclusivity for VERSUS' NHL coverage.
Wednesday night is one such night; hence, the Colorado Avalanche's game at the Columbus Blue Jackets isn't televised locally and isn't on Center Ice. (Check that: They're running the gawdawful Jumbotron feed on CI. So it's just blacked out locally.)
Which is a shame, because it's a compelling little early season game. Sure, it lacks the sex appeal of the Canucks and the Flyers, but it's got its own interesting storylines:
The Blue Jackets Are Making The Wrong Kind of History: The 0-3 start is the worst in Columbus' franchise history. And while this is nothing to panic over if you're coach Scott Arniel, it was enough for GM Scott Howson to go on Twitter and write: "Really tough start. Have to stay with it. Disappointed but undeterred." OK, so maybe it is something to panic over when the GM is tweeting about it.
Semyon Varlamov(notes): It's been two games. No one's giving the guy the Vezina. No one's saying he's worth what could be a lottery pick. But he has a 1.00 GAA and is coming off a shutout of the Stanley Cup champions. Adrian Dater called the performance "Varlemous." He gets the nod again Wednesday night.
The Return of Disgruntled Jan Hejda(notes): The defenseman spent four years in Columbus before leaving for a free-agent deal with the Avalanche. Or, more to the point, before the Jackets low-balled him:
Hejda remains stung, he said, that the Blue Jackets refused to budge on their contract offer, that they let him test the market after four consistently solid seasons in Columbus.
"I was disappointed," Hejda said. "To be honest, it still pisses me off. … When the offer came out, to be honest, I felt like I wasn't respected here. I did some work here for four years, and (the contract offer) was not close to what I was looking for."
Columbus' Power Play is Still Terrible: The Blue Jackets have earned 16 power-play chances in three games. They're 0 for 16. Fixing the power play was a priority over the summer. Problem is that Jeff Carter's(notes) been battling the flu and James Wisniewski(notes) felt the awesome power of the Shanahammer before the season, and is still suspended for four more games after Wednesday night. The Avs, meanwhile, are 6 for 6 on the kill.
Have We Mentioned The Jackets Are 0-3? Aaron Portzline of the Dispatch passes along this nugget:
"Since the Blue Jackets joined the NHL in 2000-01, only one club has gone pointless in their first four games and still made the playoffs. That would be the 2008-09 Anaheim Ducks."
Oh dear … well this should be a fun one to watch … er, listen to … er, read the box score for Wednesday night.