Tuesday, February 07, 2006


The Curse of the Blue Jackets?

It seems like everyone I like that becomes a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets turns to utter crap once they enter into that cursed organization.

Let's start with Jaroslav Balastik, whose monitor I finally updated today.

His season totals stand at 39GP 8G-4A-12PTS -7, 14PIM and 105SOG.

Not the greatest of numbers, but not a total loss.

The thing is, every game I've seen him play in, he looks like a player that should have a lot more than 12 points in 39 games. When I talk to others that have watched him play, they have been impressed with his play in the offensive zone and his work ethic around the opposing net.

Why just 12 points?

Last night's game against the Canucks was a perfect example of how his season has gone (and a perfect example of how badly the BJs defense sucks).
Balastik had quite a few chances around the net and was dangerous and noticable all night. He finished with just an assist to show for his 3 shots on goal and the many other chances he generated. In his last 5 games, he has just 1 assist and 17 shots on goal.

Overall, he averages 2.87 shots on goal per game, which is usually what solid offensive players do. His 7.6 SHT% is way out of line with the standard 13-15% figure you'd see from a regular contributor. Among the BJs, only Rick Nash averages more shots per game. Only Nikolai Zherdev and Bryan Berard have more total shots on goal, which isn't surprising since they've played more games than Balastik.

Does he just suck? Is he cursed? Or a bit of both? He could certainly use some of that 'puck luck', as the cliché goes. He'd never fail to bury this many chances when he was in the Czech Extraleague, so I'd figure he's due to break out and hit at least the .50 PPG mark.

Gilbert Brule - Suffered both an injured shoulder and jaw early in his NHL career. He had never suffered through anything like that before, so I blame Columbus entirely for this curse. He's back with the Giants now and much healthier! Too bad he's cursed to play with such an awful NHL team when he ends his WHL career.

Doug MacLean - OK, he's not cursed, he's just way over his head. He was an excellent coach with the Florida Panthers before Bryan Murray totally ruined that franchise. Dougie managed to get a great GM job with the Blue Jackets. Who wouldn't take that job? Unfortunately, he is clearly unqualified for the job, and now BJs fans are cursed with having him around longer as his contract was extended? Whaaaaaat?

I'll always have a soft spot for the guy, but I'd never want him near the management table of my organization.

I'm just glad Pavol Demitra isn't a Blow Jacket. He'd probably have his head knocked off and come down with the first case of the Black Plague in centuries if he were to join this club.

Do you think it is because we built our arena on the old state penitentiary site? Seriously though, Balastik has been successful in shootouts and one of the reason we have a good record there. I hope he sticks around. My favorite Czech is Vyborny. Brule will make my team better next year and for that I am thankful. We won't suck forever. Also, the game wasn't televsed here, but it seems like most of the goals were Denis' fault.
Fortunately for Demitra, the WHO reports up to 3,000 cases of the bubonic plague every year.
JacketsFan would do well to find somebody to perform rituals of exorcism at Nationwide Arena. There might be some poltergeists or something.

Hey Jes? Remind me to tell you sometime of my brush with Ye Olde Blacke Deathe.
umm actually, not to get specific, but the current thought on the black death is that it was likely not the bubonic plague..

and how is jackets are so cursed and the preds so blessed?

the preds have done nothing great. not drafted great, traded great, signed great. nothing, but they found themselves a net minder of note and have been on a solid upswing since.

the old adage is you build from net out, if that is true jackets forwards are doomed for a while to come yet
I always pose this question to those who slam Doug. What exactly don't you like about the moves ? Moving up to get Nash ? Feds brought in (his help with Zherdev alone is a huge asset) ? Signing Foote ? Berard ? Trading old, expensive talent away to get young talent like Chimera and Malhotra ? Is it the Marchant signing ? That was in the old NHL by a small market team desperate for any hope of grabbing talent. I'll give you that one.

Outside of that though Doug has been instrumental in turning a city that barely knew hockey 5 years ago into the wet dream envy of every other organization in the NHL. Best arena, best fans (what other city would have constant 17,000+ crowds with our record), best atmosphere, owner that actually cares about the fans over the bottomline, and some of the best young talent in the game.

As for being cursed, well, given the injuries early on you might have a point. Technically the arena is next to the old pen site, but maybe it rubs off. Anyway, since the injuries have healed the Jackets have been one of the top 3 teams in the West, so I guess it's not all bad. Let's see where they are in the 7th year (where Nashville is now). Future looks bright.
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