As you’re probably aware by now, the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association were unable to come to an understanding for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by September 15th. The inability to come to an agreement has led the owners, headed by NHL commish Gary Bettman (public enemy #1), to enforce a “work stoppage” (LOCKOUT) until the owner’s get everything they want issue is resolved. With that being said, “work stoppages” don’t affect Xbox, and since NHL 13 owners don’t bitch about hockey related revenue (whatever that is), the Carolina Hurricanes will be playing every game of their 2012-13 campaign. I bring you NHL hockey in all its virtual glory.
It was a brisk evening in Columbus, as the Carolina Hurricanes looked to kick their preseason off with a bang against the Columbus Blue Jackets. In a surprise twist, both head coach Kirk Muller of the Canes, and Todd Richards of the Jackets decided to play their entire starting rosters against one another. Clearly this move was designed to show that they weren’t going to back down as they fought for that EVER important win #1, preseason of course. Maybe the coaches wanted to spice up a preseason game, which are usually notorious for being glorified AHL matches.
The game started well enough for the Blue Jackets, as Hurricanes defender Justin Faulk dropped his fake nice-guy routine and crosschecked someone (presumably Rick Nash*) into the crossbar about 3 minutes into the game. The penalty was killed off by the Hurricanes officially, but someone for the Jackets (presumably Rick Nash*) put home a rebound as the penalty expired, giving them a 1-0 lead. Jamie McBain scored his first goal of the season off of a booming slap-shot to tie the game at 1 with 8 minutes remaining in the period. This goal came directly after McBain had a monster hit, which reminded me immediately that this wasn’t real. Columbus answered right back, as goalie Cam Ward did his best trampoline impression, gave up a huge rebound, and Rick Nash* (probably) scored. The period ended with 2 minutes of possession by the Jackets in their offensive zone, and a 2-1 lead for Columbus.
Puck behind Cam, happend quite a bit,
The second period started immediately, because who has time for intermission, right? This was honestly the first time I noticed newcomer Alex Semin on the ice, possibly because the virtual Canes don’t want to win, probably because he’s “lazy and enigmatic”. A Columbus player who was probably wearing number 61 scored on a breakaway minutes into the third, extending the lead to 3-1. In an attempt to regain control of the game, the Hurricanes maintained possession of the puck for a few minutes immediately following the goal, only to have their great pressure thwarted by none other than Joe Corvo, who missed an empty net on a slapshot. (Can you believe it!!?!?!?) Something must have sparked the Canes during the 12th- minute TV timeout, because they proceeded to score 3 goals in a 4 minute span. Jordan Staal got his first as a Hurricane, Drayson Bowman followed with a twisted wrister in the slot, and Eric Staal, not to be outdone by little brother, forced a turnover in front of the net and poked the puck in. Just like that, the Hurricanes had a 4-3 lead. The lead was short-lived however, as somebody scored on another rebound for Columbus (Rick Nash’s 4th of the game!) and the period ended in a 4-4 tie.
Aftermath of a Hurricanes goal
Cam Ward decides to nap during the game.
The Blue Jackets didn’t get the memo, and continued to play, and struggle, like there were actual defenders playing against them. Nash* finally scored a pair of empty net goals with seconds remaining, and won the game 7-4. Despite losing the game, the Hurricanes outshot the Jackets 50-46, but were dismal in the face-off dot, winning only 25% of the draws. The team leader in hits was Alex Semin (!!!) with 6, showing me further proof that Iwas not watching a real NHL game. Cam Ward posted a solid .867 save percentage, and started his season off right with an awesome 6.04 goals against average. The Hurricanes ran their second line, which was comprised of Jeff Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu, and Jordan Staal, more than their first line (E.Staal, Semin, and Jussi Jokinen), effectively creating a controversy as to which line is actually line #1.
Dejected Chad LaRose after a loss.
This barn-burner of a game between two elite offenses…ok I’ll stop. Who knew Columbus could score 7 goals? Who knew that the Hurricanes would give up 7 goals? Oh, everybody? Carry on then.
*I’ve been informed that Rick Nash was traded during the offseason to the New York Rangers. If that’s the case, who the hell were those people in the Columbus sweaters?