Archives for February 2008

Thoughts on the trades

cbjlogonew.jpgSo Howson frees up a couple of million this year, some fans go nuts, and some fans are cautiously optimistic.

I’m somewhere in the middle. I’m sure the Jackets could not have done much better with regards to Fedorov. With the possibility of him bolting this summer, at least they got something out of it now.

Same with Foote. To me, the way his situation worked out seemed more like “shades of MacLean” than anything else. Still, it was clear that Howson saw the writing on the wall here and thought now was as good a time as ever.

The surprising thing to me, though, was that it stopped there. Peca, Vyborny, et. al made it through yesterday without having to change PO boxes. I can’t tell if this was a wise, ‘surgical’ approach to making the team more competitive, or a rather poorly-executed attempt at cleaning house.

One thing is clear: come summertime, the Jackets will be at least $20-25 million under the salary cap. Whatever Howson’s plans for the summer were, at least now he’ll have a little more breathing room.

Nash’s take on the trades:

“I just don’t know what the thought process is. I feel like we have been building for a few years now to get to the point that we’re at. It’s tough to see these guys leave, but if they don’t feel like this is our year and they want to free up some money and get some young players I guess.”

I like this quote. There’s so much here for us to read-between-the-lines. Rick expresses his puzzlement, and wonders where this fits into the moves the team has made over the past few years. Then he wonders aloud if the trades mean the brass is surrendering on this season. (Ruh-roh, Astro.) Rick wraps up with a final shot about them wanting to “get some more young players in here.”

It says a lot.

His thoughts on possibly wearing the ‘C’:

“I’m still a guy who’s 23 years old. It’s kind of tough telling a guy who’s 30 years old to pick up his game and things like that, they might not listen, but I’m ready to take that jump, starting trying those things and I’m sure a lot of guys will be behind me.”

After having some more time to think about it, I’m fairly certain that Nash will be the captain next year. When Hitch came to the team last season, he told a Columbus radio station that the reason he immediately put Nash on the PK was because Nash played his best when he was forced to work outside of his comfort zone. Paraphrasing, he said, ‘Nash is a great shooter with great talent, it’ll be up to me and the veterans to make him a good, well-rounded hockey player.’

And I wonder if that’s how we’ll define Fedorov’s CBJ legacy — if nothing else, as a mentor to the younger players like Rick, Nik, Zhil-Bayre, etc. Sergei didn’t come in here and challenge any scoring records, that’s for sure, but he played hard and did anything asked of him. First line center? Okay. PK? Youbetcha. Oh, want me on the blue line for a couple of weeks? No problem. That attitude had to be contagiously beneficial to the others alongside him in the dressing room.

But back to the trades. No matter what, the first reasonable expectation of playoff-level performance should come next year. Hitch and Howson have set themselves up for a rather critical evaluation next season. We’ll be watching with higher expectations, for sure.

Foote traded

cbjlogonew.jpgToday was the trade deadline, and the Blue Jackets have announced that Adam Foote is moving to Colorado.

Captain Adam Foote.

Foote was traded to the Avs for a 2009 first-round and conditional fourth-round pick.

So, who will be the new team captain in 2008/9? Nash is still quite young, but will no doubt be the fan favorite. I wonder if the team will go with Fedorov for his experience.

Who do you want leading your Jackets in the locker room?

UPDATE: Fedorov has also been traded (to Washington). The trades of the past few weeks make it clear that (1) Howson is trying to free up tons of money for a free agent, and (2) he doesn’t care how much of a veteran you are, you’re in danger if you don’t have a good plus/minus.

Monday Musings and Mutterings

Blog/site newsCavaliersOSU LogoOSU Footballgholstonbicep.jpgIn an attempt to make a weekly brain dump, I’m going to try to do this on a regular basis.

  • I know it’s only been one game, but the new Cavs have me excited. Even though Ben Wallace is the headliner of this trade, I think the player I’m most excited about is Joe Smith. Everytime Drew Gooden dropped back to hit a jumper outside of 10 feet, I held my breath and closed my eyes. Joe Smith, on the other hand, has a smooth stroke. I’m looking forward to watching more of the new look Cavs team.
  • I don’t remember where I heard it (it may have been during an OSU basketball game on ESPN or CBS) but supposedly Jon Diebler averaged 40 points in high school. I guess he’s the Ohio all-time scorer in high school basketball or some-such. He scored more points than LeBron James! Has anyone else heard this? Did I miss-hear something? They just mentioned it in passing, if I remember correctly.
  • Terrel Pryor watch: 19 days and counting. My guess? He’s a Buckeye by the end of the month.
  • New blogs of the week: Old Columbus Town and Waiting for Next Year.
  • No surprises here, but Vernon Gholston impressed the butchers at the annual NFL meat market. (h/t Old Columbus Town) He hit 37 reps of 225 on the bench. He scored the highest “Personal Gravity Field” test out of all other participants. Oh, and Darren McFaddens 4.33 40? Someone whispered in his ear that Gholston was after him.
  • Dads: Let your boys grow up to be long-snappers. Thanks to the Monkey for that link, which he sent along to me. As a former long-snapper myself, it warms my heart to see the most important player on special teams get the love he deserves.

Hope everyone had a good weekend.

Now what?

Blog/site newsThey say one of the worst blog posts is the “sorry I haven’t posted lately” post. They’re easy to do, but they’re lazy and show a lack of enthusiasm. Sorry, but this is one of them.

To be honest, the MotSaG HQ has been pretty low in the enthusiasm department since the second week of January. Me personally, I’ve gone into a bit of hibernation. I’m drained. I’m still watching the Buckeye ballers try and find an identity and I’ve been following the recent trade happenings of the Cavs. I’ve also been following Terrell Pryor saga but I haven’t been inspired to post anything. At least not until he signs on the dotted line on the OSU letterhead. Consequently, the blogging has suffered, for which I apologize.

This isn’t a “we’re abandoing the blog” post. Far from it. We’ll still be here, entertaining everyone as much as we can. It’s just an excuse (see above) to post something and tell everyone we are alive and kicking. As for me, at least for the time being, I’m going back to being a nerd and pwning noobs in Halo 3.

Fear the Spartan Buckeye!

The Buckeye Spartan

What are you doing to pass the time? Anyone up for a deathmatch?

The empire becomes weaker

Blog/site newsdarth_vader_nooo.jpegKeith, say it ain’t so.

For you OSU and Big 10 blogging young-uns, Buckeye Commentary has been doing high-quality, thoughtful, classy blogging longer than most others.

When I started MotSaG, my vision was inspired by what Keith was doing over at Buckeye Commentary. Buckeye Commentary ruled the Buckeye amateur writing world, and he and Brian Cook pretty much represented the Big 10 by themselves. They are the standard to which we esteem (and usually fall woefully short).

(And by “amateur,” I mean the act of sportsblogging for the fun of it, because all of us know Keith had more to say, and more talent saying it, than any “pro” writer working for ESPN or their ilk.)

The Buckeye blogging community is losing a great voice. Our best wishes go to Keith in whatever he chooses for his future. You’ll always be welcome here, and we hope to see you around often.

MotSaG Mailbag – Jackets whining; Influenza; OSU’s 2008 recruiting class; VG to the Jets?

Blog/site newsTime for a new feature on Men of the Scarlet and Gray, where we respond to comments, feedback, questions, and suggestions provided to us via the MotSaG Contact Form and/or individual post comments.

MotSaG reader Rob writes:

“You should change the name of your website. Every time I come on here, it is all about the Blue Jackets. On national signing day in which OSU pulls in one of the best classes of that last several years you put this article about how the Blue Jackets have given up.

What gives?”

No excuses here, Rob. You’re right, we totally dropped the ball. In our defense, el Kaiser, the MotSaG recruiting specialist, has spent the past week playing host to an unwelcome visitor from the Solomon Islands. And the CBJ post was written in frustration right after Tuesday’s loss, when yours truly was still loopy on cough medicine after hosting the same overseas traveler the week prior.

Still, after a quick perusal of our archives and some quickie math that involved sticking a finger up in the air, throwing a dart at a dartboard, and dividing the value by pi (which was hard because we missed the board entirely and hit the wall instead), we’ve discovered that over 1 out of 2 articles here at MotSaG are OSU-football related. The remainder is made up of other college football news, Ohio pro and amateur sports teams, and other miscellaneous time-wasting, mindless, and quite frankly, embarrassing entertainment (of which this post is a pristine example). The CBJ comprise only 4.9% of our time – which seems fair, because They Have Given Up anyway.

So, point taken, sir. You’re right, perhaps we should have been analyzing OSU’s recruiting class instead of writing fake Pryor chat logs. Keep an eye on this space for our take on the Buckeyes’ 2008 class. We promise to give our two Abe’s worth just as soon as the fever breaks and the NyQuil wears off.

MotSaG reader and most excellent Jets blogger Brian Basset writes:

“Greetings! …I wanted to inquire about Vernon Gholston… could you send me a rundown on him? Many fans seem excited that he might be sitting at #6 when the Jets will likely pick.”

Happy to do it, Brian. Here’s the MotSaG man-crush’s relevant information:

  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 265 lbs.
  • Bench Press: 455 lbs.
  • Bicep circumference: Unknown (The Cray supercomputer on west campus is still working on that number)
  • Lawsuits pending: 1, against NBC (Vernon claims that Law and Order are the trademarked names of his left and right biceps)
  • 2007 TFL’s: 15.5
  • 2007 Sacks: 14
  • # of mothers of said QBs who felt a sharp pain in their uterus after their son was sacked: 14
  • # of QBs he made to fill their shorts with excrement: 28 (includes the backup QBs who were watching game film)
  • Number of patents he holds: 1 (his sweat is collected into cans and sold under the name Red Bull)
  • Records: Single game sacks – 4, for minus 32 yards (the QB is recovering nicely, btw), single season sacks (tie – Mike Vrabel).
  • Moves it takes him to win a Connect Four game: 3

Sounds to me like we’ve got another excuse to post a Vernon Gholston pic:



They’re starting to give up

cbjlogonew.jpgThe most disappointing thing about this team since the All-Star break isn’t the four losses, or the fact that they’re letting teams come from behind to win.

It isn’t that three of those losses were at home.

It’s not even that Pazzy – once again – won’t be able to pull off an injury-free season.

No, the most disappointing thing is that the team allowed Pazzy’s injury to go unanswered. Laing bull-rushed a franchise neminder – an All-Star player by most opinions – and not one Jacket stood up for his goalie? Where were the enforcers? Does the squad miss Jody that much already? (Would Jody have done anything if he were still here anyway?)

To me, that’s indicative of the team’s attitude. For the first time in franchise history, the team has had something to lose, and now that they’ve hit a slump, cohesion is clearly suffering.

The primary reason the Jackets were fighting for that 8th spot was LeClaire’s performance. The forwards’ collective numbers are comparable to last year’s; it’s only the French Alfalfa’s performance that had the team in position for a playoff push. If there’s one player you do stick up for, it’s him.

Now, down four points from the last spot, with a stretch of eight of nine games on the road starting on the 15th, the Jackets’ playoff hopes are probably dashed. It’s not likely they’ll be able to make this up with the rough month ahead. Sure, it’s possible; stranger things have happened. But realistically, it’s quite unlikely now, especially with a mighty-cold Norrena between the pipes (saving only 77% in relief last night, 80% in his last three starts).

So the question remains… what will the team do? What tone will the leaders set heading into spring? Men or mice? Fall apart and start pointing fingers, or pull it together and keep working toward that long-term goal (in this case, playoffs in 08/09)? Time will tell, and we’ll be watching.

To Catch a Recruiter

hansen.jpg[ Scene: A modern living room, the front door at one end and a kitchen at the other. Separating the two rooms is a long bar, upon which is a computer. Two barstools are present, one on each side of the counter. Cameras are located behind two-way mirrors and hidden behind furniture. ]

A knock at the front door. Staff scurry into their places. The young man (YM), hidden from view, speaks:

    YM: Yo! C’mon in.

The door creaks open. A middle-aged man wearing an orange and blue jacket peeks his head in.

    Man: Hello?!?

    YM: Yeah! I’m here. Be down in a sec.

    Man: Is ‘Lil_V_Young’ here?

    YM: Yo. That’s me. Be down in a sec. You can sit down at the bar. Be down in a minute.

Man nervously sits down at the bar. His eyes scan the room, and he fidgets with the zipper on his jacket, then pokes at the computer mouse.

[ Chris Hansen (CH) enters the kitchen from the stairwell. ]

    CH: Excuse me, who are you? What are you doing here?

    Man: Uh… hm? What?

    CH: I asked what you were doing here.

    Man: Uh… just here to visit. Who are you?

    CH: I’ll ask the questions here. What exactly are you doing here?


    Man: Nothin’ man. Just, you know, just come by to visit someone.

    CH: Who? What’s his name?

    Man: Um. Why?

    CH: Because I’d like to know why you’re here to visit this young man.

    Man: He’s just a friend, you know. He invited me to come over, you know, hang out. Are you his father?

    CH: No, I’m not. But I do have a couple of questions. What did you mean when you told him, “I can’t wait to see those long galloping legs with my own eyes”?

    Man (sweating profusely): What?!? I didn’t say that to nobody, man.

    CH: I’m gonna stop you right there; you see, I know who you are, gator4114. And I know why you’re here. My name’s Chris Hansen. And no, the young man you came to see is not here, and he’s not a teenage boy. You were chatting with one of my staffers, I’ve got all those seedy conversations right here, and you’re on television right now. There’s the camera.

    Man: What? I don’t know what’s going on.

    CH: Don’t. Just don’t. You’ve seen a show called ‘Dateline,’ haven’t you? Well, you’re on it, and these chat logs are disgusting. What do you have to say for yourself?

    Man: …I dunno. I just thought… maybe he’d want to play for me. It was nothing.

    CH: Nothing? You wrote, and I quote, “I love the way you protect those balls, el-oh-el.”

    Man: …

    CH: These officers will have a few questions for you. You’ll have to go with them.

    Man (crying silently): I don’t know what I was doing… I’ve never done this before… I swear. I just thought… just thought…

    CH: You need help.

Officers escort man out of frame as Hansen shakes head in disgust.

[ Scene continues… stage is quickly reset as another man approaches the door. ]

Knocking, YM speaks again:

    YM: Yo! C’mon in!

The door opens wide, and a pudgy man (PM) with a round face confidently strides in. Little confetti-like flecks of paper coat the arms of his new blue sweatshirt. He brushes them off.

    PM: Dude! Where you at? YO!

    YM: Be down in a sec. Go ahead and have a seat.

    PM: What? C’mon man, let’s see you.

    YM: Taking a leak! Be down in a second.

    PM: m’Kay! Walks around the room, looking at pictures, whisting & singing to himself.


    PM (singing softly): mmm hmm hmm…. to the plaaaace…. mmHMHMM… mountain mam-

    CH (Walking into frame): Excuse me.

    PM: Huh? Who’re you, slick…?

    CH: Who are YOU?

    PM: Who’s askin? What’s going on? Is he coming down or what?

    CH: Have a seat.

    PM (scans around the room quickly): Don’t think so.

    CH: Why not?

    PM: Don’t feel like it. Who are you, anyway?

    CH: Someone who wants to know what you were thinking when you tried to hit on a teenage boy in an Internet chat room.

    PM: I never did anything of the sort.

    CH: I’ve got the chats right here. See that? That’s you, ‘EnRod,’ and you were talking to a teenage boy, ‘Ain’tGotNoPriors.’

    PM: That ain’t me, man.

    CH: Oh, no? What about this: “w3rd. I’m sure that underneath that UnderArmour shirt lies abs as tight and tough as the Roaring Plains of the Monongahela.”

    PM: I don’t know wha- (takes off at full gallop)

Officers close in quickly and tackle him to ground in the front yard. Paper dust flies everywhere in the scuffle.

[ Scene three, that evening. An elderly man (EM) shuffles to the door, and knocks quietly. ]

    YM: Yo! C’mon in.

    EM: What?

    YM: Yo! C’mon in.

    EM: Huh?

    YM (loudly): COME IN!

    EM: Er, okay.

The aged man opens the door. He shuffles into the room, looking around in apparent confusion. He takes his thick glasses off to wipe them clean.

    CH (entering and startling the man): Hello!

    EM: Oh, hello! Where am I supposed to go?

    CH: You can have a seat right here.

    EM: Thanks. Boy, this is different, eh?

    CH: Who are you?

    EM (laughs politely): You don’t know who I am?

    CH: Oh, I know who you are.

    EM: Nice. What’s your name? (offers his hand)

    CH: My name’s Chris. (shakes hand, a puzzled look on his face)


    EM: Pleased to meet ya. What do you do, Chris?

    CH: Well, I’m a host anchor for a nightly news magazine show, Dateline NBC.

    EM: Is that right? Good for you then. Wow. News reporter, that’s great. So, when are we going to get started?

    CH: Uh, started with what?

    EM: You know. The games. Where is everyone?

    CH: Are there more coming?

    EM: Usually, sure. I’ve never done this by myself, you know!

    CH: Are you aware of what I’m doing here?

    EM: You’re not here to play?

    CH: No, I’m not. That’s disgusting. I’m here to discuss some very disturbing things with you.

    EM: Oh, really? What do you mean?

    CH: Well listen to this exchange, for instance:

    JP_Ly’nRoar: I have to meet with you.
    NotRelatedToRichard: Why?
    JP_Ly’nRoar: I can’t stand thinking of you leaving home. I must have you.
    NotRelatedToRichard: For what?
    JP_Ly’nRoar: I need you to ‘run my spread,’ eleventy1!

    What do you think?

    EM: Sounds nice. I dunno. Sounds like some nice young men talking. Their names are weird though. Must be a club or something (laughs).

    CH: Does that sound appropriate to you?

    EM: Well, sure. Hey, when is this thing going to start?

    CH: Do you even know what’s going on? How much trouble you’re in?

    EM (eyes open wide behind glasses): Trouble? What have they done now?

    CH: Enough! You’re JP_Ly’nRoar, aren’t you?!?

    EM: What? Hm? I don’t understand what you’re saying, sonny. What do you mean trouble?

    CH: Why are you here?

    EM: Same reason you’re here. The bingo game. Jay told me to show up here, that there would be a late game.

    CH: Bingo?!?

    EM: Yeah. Play all the time. What, did I get the address wrong again?

    CH: You said, “Jay” sent you here?

    EM: Yeah, he watches out for his old man. Good kid.

    CH: I think there’s been a mistake.

    EM: Yeah? Too bad. I drank an extra Ensure; was hoping for an exciting night.

    CH: Where is Jay now?

    EM: I dunno. Said something about going to the playground around the corner from my house. He goes there a lot, helps him think. Asked if he could borrow my computer again.

    CH: Well, thanks for your time, I guess.

    EM: No problem. It’s been my pleasure. Wow, NBC, wow. Must be fun to work there.

    CH (sighing deeply): Sometimes.

[ As the crew packs up, the young man is seen slipping out of the apartment and approaching a limousine. A middle-aged man wearing a vest opens the door for him, hands him a red shirt, says something quietly inspirational, and the two climb in. The sun, a blazing scarlet, is setting behind the gray clouds in the western sky as the two drive off. ]

So long, Jody

cbjlogonew.jpgshelly.jpgEnd of an era.

I can’t say it was a surprise, especially with how well some of the new guys (like Jared Boll) have worked out, but it’s still sad to see Shelly go. Old-school, tough-but-fair enforcers are hard to come by in the “new NHL,” and Jody was the classiest. Even my kids knew him well enough to look for #45 whenever the Jackets were on the ice.

I agree that the move is probably best for both the team and for Shelly. The Sharks will give him a chance to extend his career and contribute more as a player, which is something that Howson wasn’t going to do (the GM had already said he wasn’t going to re-sign Shelly).

Still, I’ll bet we see Jody back in Columbus eventually. His wife is from around here, and he’s settled here, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him stay in town during off-seasons and/or look for a job in the Jackets front office someday.

Thanks for the years of entertainment and hard work, sir. Best wishes.

We’re still here

Blog/site newsWe just wanted to check in and let people know what we are, in fact, alive and well. In fact, I don’t know why I’m blogging this while there’s science to be done. (I’m really hoping someone in the audience gets that reference) Everything at la Casa MotSaG is going well, we’ve just been tres busy with real life, including getting extremely busy at our real jobs.

We are, however, taking in all manner of Ohio sports, including the Buckeye Ballers, the Cavs and the CBJ. We’re aware of some kid by the name of Pryor. We just got worn down after the Bourbon Bowl and haven’t found our blogging groove yet. But we have been working on some good stuff that we think you guys are going to like. So thanks for sticking around through another MotSaG dry spell, thanks for the “are you guys alive?” emails and for all your tips. We appreciate it.

We also recently saw the movie Cloverfield, and we don’t want to ruin anyone’s surprise with spoilers, but we were certainly surprised to find out the identity of the monster destroying Manhattan.

It was the 2008 Ohio State Defense.