November 11, 2010
The Columbus Dispatch reported that the Blues players were holding their soccer game "about 100 feet" from the Jackets' game; alternate captain R.J. Umberger(notes) viewed this as gamesmanship from the Blues, and did wind sprints through their circle of players. This led to some heated words and an appearance from arena security before things might have gotten out of hand.
Umberger joined us on Puck Daddy Radio Thursday (Sirius 98) and addressed the incident which "stole the headlines" from the Jackets' 8-1 win over the Blues:
Money quote: "We felt in the past that they disrespected our area. They came right next to us and played soccer. It's our home arena. It's our area. We deserve some respect. The way they treated our off-ice officials, it wasn't very good."
The full episode of Thursday's PD Radio can be heard or downloaded here; Umberger's interview begins at the 24:50 mark. He also addresses the state of the Blue Jackets, the Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) shootout fail and the team's mysterious third jersey, which he's seen:
"They're nice, they have a little old school feel to them," he said. "They're a little similar to some of the third jerseys in the league. I like it. I think the colors look good. It'll be fun to wear them."
Back to the Blues/Blue Jackets footie affair: Andy Strickland of TrueHockey.com has the "he said" from the St. Louis side; and to the surprise of no one, it's not how Umberger saw it.
Tension began to escalate between the Blues and Umberger once goaltender Ty Conklin(notes) spoke up and asked if he wouldn't mind running somewhere else? That's when Umberger told several Blues players they aren't welcome to use this area to play soccer.
Things officially reached absurdity once Umberger went and fetched building security who tried to remove the Blues from playing soccer in this area. The Blues refused to leave as about a half dozen Columbus players were enjoying their own game of soccer just a few feet away. Eventually NHL security was called over who told the Blues they were fine where they were and could carry on as normal.
Strickland, who writes that no one from the Blue Jackets came over to help Umberger, added this nugget from the disagreement:
One Blues player told Umberger next time Columbus comes to St. Louis he will make sure they are forced to go outside and play soccer in the snow. That's when Umberger apparently responded "your building sucks anyway".
HOW DARE YOU DISRESPECT THE HOUSE THAT BRETT HULL BUILT!
The Blue Jackets visit the Blues on Dec. 9. Plan accordingly.