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Ken Hitchcock out, Claude Noel in, Jackets win last two

By Patrick Fleissner

The unavoidable happened and Hitchcock was sent packing making way for Claude Noel. The response to this move has been very positive from the fans and team. Fans packed Nationwide Arena both Thursday for the Dallas game and Saturday for the Buffalo game. Against Dallas the Jackets were successful on their penalty kill three times and Mason showed who we remember him to be with 22 saves, only allowing one goal. The Jackets did not get one power play advantage the entire game but still were able to get the win. In the first period Anton Stralman got the only goal for the first two periods. Until late in the third period the Jackets led 1-0 until the Stars pulled their goalie for the extra man advantage. That turned out to be the mistake of the night, R.J. Umberger was able to score on the empty net giving the Jackets a 2-0 lead. Soon after that goal Mason let the only Stars goal pass as the game was ending. After the game Captain Rick Nash was interviewed. "We looked like a different team," he said. "(It was) a totally different vibe out there tonight. It was nice." That is an understatement, the Jackets should have been on a high going into Colorado after their well deserved victory in St.Louis. Instead they went into Colorado and left embarrassed against the Avalanche once again this season. Antoine Vermette scored early in the first period, though promising it turned out to be the only goal of the game for the Jackets. Five unanswered goals later, Garon and his team left Colorado completely demoralized. The team playing against Dallas on Thursday was indeed different as the Captain noted and showed a team that should be playoff bound. Most fans would agree that the firing of Hitchcock needed to happen and now the team can rebuild.

Last night the Jackets faced the current Northeast Conference leaders, the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres came into Nationwide losing their last three games and hoping to turn it around before Ottawa overtook the #1 spot in the Northeast. It wasn't meant to be for the Sabres. The Jackets fans filled Nationwide and found themselves surrounded by Buffalo fans that had made the trip. The fans did not give up or back down and neither did the Jackets. Mason made 28 saves racking up his third shut out of the season. Mason made some outstanding saves and shut down the Sabres offense. After the first period we were still scoreless but the Jackets found something in the locker room during the first intermission. They came out in the second period scoring early at full strength and then Nash got himself a power play goal to end the period with a 2-0 lead. The success continued into the third period with Anton Stralman coming out of the locker room and scoring a goal to increase the lead to 3-0. A power play goal by Raffi Torres was scored soon after and the rest of the period was for Mason to secure his shut out. Watching the team you saw excitement and motivation. You saw a new team like Nash described Thursday night, and you could see the new hope rising in Columbus. They showed a close up of Claude speaking with the players, getting some new strategy together. You could see the players faces showing interest and understanding what needed to be done. They not only showed it on the bench during that camera shot but more importantly on the ice executing a 4-0 win against a Conference leading team.

With these two wins the Jackets look to take on San Jose at home and continue with their success. This might just be the turnaround that the Columbus area needed to gain some confidence in the team and continue with their support. The coaching staff has be realigned and the fire has been lit under the team to finish this season on a positive note. We all hope the wins continue and Claude is able to move forward with his coaching success. If this happens Nationwide will remain packed with CBJ fans and this could have a positive influence on the teams financial issues. We look to this coming Wednesdays game and hope for another good showing by our Jackets.


  1. the jackets did look good and the game was fun to attend Saturday with all the Sabre fans there but I will not get my hopes up until they play well over a long period of time - as in the rest of the season

  2. Hey Aaron, Columbus needs to win 17 of their last 22 games (91 pnts) to have even a remote chance at the playoffs and you know that ain't happening despite the last two wins!

  3. Hey Pat, what makes you think anyones even cares about the Jackets in Columbus? This is Buckeye country and always will be. When the team moves maybe you can write about football or something else that actually means something.

  4. To the anon punk,
    As an Ohio State and Jacket fan I must tell you that Columbus has had hockey for over fifty years at one level or another and a hell of alot of people care, including transplants from other cities. Get your head out your ass and go to your blog that discusses 13 year olds that Tressell is trying to recruit for the 2015 Bucks season. Then, get a life.

  5. anonymous, I hear there is a website you can go to to see what Tressell's recruits ate for breakfast this morning and what he wears to work each day, enjoy zealot

  6. after watching the Sharks beatdown the Maple Leafs in Toronto last night this feel good Claude Noel crap will end tomorrow night when the CBJ suffer the same fate

  7. Hey Sharks idiot, a slight win is not a beatdown. I don't know what game you watched last night, but it wasn't the one you are commenting about. Stay on and read all the articles there. Your such a fan, write about your beloved San Jose Sharks, otherwise keep your mouth shut

  8. Yup, the CBJ really suffered tonight...

  9. Anonymous, get a life jerk... if you don't like hockey, why are you posting on this site... anyway,the Buckeyes are good but, are not in the same league of the top SEC teams... put that in your pipe and smoke it... Go Gators!!!