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The Sports Page: CBJ WrapUp + Crew & Clippers

 Corey Barnes The Sports Page: CBJ WrapUp + Crew & Clippers
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Columbus Blue Jackets Week/Season in Review:

The 2010-2011 Columbus Blue Jackets regular season came to an end on Saturday night. The season ended not with a bang, but a whimper. CBJ dropped their last three games of the season – in Dallas, in Nashville, and at home against the Buffalo Sabres – getting outscored 12-5 on the week. The final record for the Unionmen is 34-35-13, good for 81 points. Despite the disappointing second half, the team did end up faring better than one year ago; the 2009-10 season resulted in only 79 points.

However, a two point bump is hardly the return to postseason play that many members of the Columbus organization were expecting back in October. The Jackets were relatively quiet in the off-season last year in terms of players, believing the pieces were in place to replicate their magical run back in 2008-09. That assumption was wrong. Still, give credit to General Manager Scott Howsen for making a few moves before the trade deadline in an effort to bolster the Blue Jackets’ playoff hopes. Ultimately these personnel decisions were not enough and regardless of where you want to assign blame – a young goalie, the coach’s new system, a faulty GM – this team just was not post-season ready.

Still, the beat goes on the National Hockey League will still have playoffs without Columbus. As bitter a pill as it may be to watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs without the Pride of Nationwide on the ice, there can still be joy in watching postseason hockey. Do not forget, last year featured the no. 8 seeded Montreal Canadians besting the top tiered Washington Capitals in seven games, the Flyers overcoming a 3-0 deficit over the Bruins, and an overtime finale for a Chicago parade. Enjoy these games; all we can do is hope a year from today the Blue Jackets will be on the ice.

Columbus Crew Week in Review:

Winning in southern California has always been difficult for the Columbus Crew. Since 2006 the Crew had lost every game they had played Chivas USA’s house, the Home Depot Center. That streak was broken on Saturday when the Black and Gold left the west coast with a 0-0 tie and a point. The contest moves Columbus’ record to 1-1-2, meaning they have five points on the year which is good for a third place tie in the Eastern Conference. Crew keeper William Hesmer finished the night with two saves and has now not allowed a goal for 283 consecutive minutes which is ninety short of the club mark.

One reason the game lacked offensive fireworks may be attributed to the unusually high number of fouls. Between the two clubs, 39 fouls were called which can greatly slow down the game’s rate of play and prove a roadblock to momentum. The offense continued to struggle in establishing a new identity. Eddie Gaven, who is the de facto replacement for striker Guillermo Barros Schelotto, had a shot pushed away in the 74th minute and nearly created an opportunity for teammate Robbie Rogers in the 92nd minute but the play was ruled offside. Overall the Crew was tagged for seven offside violations. The team needs to get their communication down and do their best to make that number more manageable.
Now the Black and Gold return to Ohio to prepare for a home contest with Sporting Kansas City at 7:30 this Saturday at Columbus Crew Stadium.

Columbus Clippers Week in Review:

Spring is back in Ohio’s capital and the Columbus Clippers have started their season off just like they finished last year – winning. The Clips have started off the season with a four-game sweep of the Indianapolis Indians in Indiana; the 4-0 mark is the best since 1980. The Clippers definitely earned their wins; the first three games of the series were each decided by one run and the finale was only a two run difference.

There are a few players in Columbus that the Cleveland Indians brass has their collective eye on for call-ups later in the season. One of whom is top third-base prospect Lonnie Chisenhall who some thought would open the season with the big league club. So far Chisenhall has been unable to keep up his ferocious spring training pace, hitting .211 with a homer and 5 RBI. Right-handed hurler Alex White, the Tribe’s first overall pick in the 2009 draft, threw on Saturday and had a no decision. In five innings White allowed two earned runs, walked three, and fanned six. These two are certainly two major pieces of the Indians’ future and Clippers’ present.

The Clippers travel now to Louisville to play a two-game set with the Bats tonight and tomorrow. They will then play three games in two days in Toledo against the Mud Hens before returning to Ohio for a three game set with the same Mud Hens.

Corey Barnes is a third year at The Ohio State University studying business. He hails from Cleveland, Ohio and has a profound understanding of sports suffering and mediocrity. In addition to this column, he also writes sports things at buckeyenerd.tumblr.com and can be followed on The Twitter @Corey_Barnes.

Blue Jackets game photos from bluejackets.nhl.com.

Columbus Crew game photos from thecrew.com.

Columbus Clippers game photos from clippersbaseball.com.

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