Last night, the Blue Jackets paid a very brief homage to Dave King, the team’s first coach and some would argue the most successful. For about 60 seconds, a video was shown of the opening night game against Chicago. The Jackets jumped to a quick lead in that very first game, but then lost their energy and the game. Most of the 10,000 fans gave King a standing ovation and the current Jackets paid tribute in their own way, by playing like the Jackets of old, inconsistently, and giving the game to Phoenix, 4-1.
A few notes on the clunker I attended: The announced attendance was 13,184, but that was total BS. And those that were there last night won’t want to come back anytime soon, either. For those of you coming on Friday, I hope you enjoy being in the minority. I talked to some ticket people and they told me that although the game is sold out, Nationwide will be at least half-full of Pittsburgh fans.
Steve Mason couldn’t be blamed for the first two goals. In fact, the second goal hit a Blue Jacket on the way in. The old Steve Mason would have stopped the third Phoenix goal and the current Steve Mason was already thinking about something else when Robert Lang roofed a beauty by him from a very sharp angle.
As for the rest of the team, there were a lot of inconsistencies. I’m probably being charitable, but they had some moment of competitiveness as the current coach likes to say, but Jason LaBarbera was sharp in the nets for Phoenix. The Jackets took some poor penalties and were only one for six on the power play.
There were a lot of reminders of Dave King to see last night. The play of the Jackets last night brought back memories of how bad they were nine years ago. The play of the Coyotes showed what might have been if the team would have let King stay a little longer.