Thank God Almighty, it’s here at last!
As far as sports narratives go, Thursday’s New York Rangers / Columbus Blue Jackets game is a gold mine. Journalists perk up whenever a player faces his former team for the first time, and this particular game marks that First Matchup for a whopping seven players. (I’m including Nash, even though, barring a miraculous Callahan-esque recovery, he won’t be playing. And I’m excluding Stralman, because he faced the Blue Jackets as a Ranger during that infamous “We don’t want you!” game in 2012 at MSG.) Why is that First Time Back so meaningful? Well, my friends, why is any matchup against a former team meaningful? If two teams exchange a certain amount of players, at what point does one team simply morph into the other? Will the universe explode if Columbus starts a line of Gaborik-Anisimov-Dubinsky against New York? Is a team really more than the sum of its parts? Am I getting off topic? Lest we get tangled up in philosophical quandaries, here’s a quick refresher on the relevant “parts” in question: (s/t to Mike MacLean for the visual; I adapted it from this article.)
CURRENT BLUE JACKETS, FORMER RANGERS
CURRENT RANGERS, FORMER BLUE JACKETS
John Davidson (President)
Scott Arniel (Assistant Coach)
Craig Patrick (Senior Advisor)
Jody Shelley (Broadcast Associate)
* Currently playing for the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons. Erixon leads the team with 9 points in 6 games.
** Johnson leads the Hartford Wolfpack with 14 points in 12 games.
The two trade breakdowns are as follows:
1. Rangers acquire: Rick Nash’s concussions, Steven Delisle, and a conditional third-round pick (Pavel Buchnevich)
Blue Jackets acquire: Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon, and a 2013 first-round pick (Kerby Rychel)
2. Rangers acquire: Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, John Moore, and a 2014 sixth-round pick
Blue Jackets acquire: Marian Gaborik, Blake Parlett, and Steven “Hot Potato” Delisle
Most (if not all) of the players traded between these two teams were core members of their former teams. Any Blue Jackets or Rangers fan telling you they don’t feel even a sliver of nostalgia at seeing this group of players together again on the ice is straight-up lying. Or has no soul. So, what better way to ease your case of heart-wrenching nostalgia than by imbibing liver-wrenching doses of alcohol? Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to drink until you literally can’t differentiate between the two teams. In other words, until you reach my perpetual state of existence. And so, I hereby present: The unofficially official New Columbus York Blueshirt Jackets intra-squad scrimmage drinking game:
Note: The drinking game commences as soon as the pre-game show begins. I mean, it’s called “pre-game” for a reason, amiright?
- A Rangers/Blue Jackets crossover infographic is displayed on screen.
- A former/current Blue Jacket/Ranger scores a goal.
- Tyutin throws a hip-check.
- A broadcaster references former teammates catching up over dinner.
- “Familiar face(s)”
- A player interview is shown on screen for the sole purpose of talking about his former team.
Bonus drink: The phrase “loved my time there” is used.
Extra Bonus drink: That phrase is followed up with “But I’m happy to be here now!”
- “No hard feelings”
- The word “emotional” is used by a broadcaster or player (But not by me. You’d be dead in seconds.)
- The phrase “fan favorite” is used to describe a) Dubinsky as a Ranger, b) Dorsett as a Blue Jacket.
- The former GAS Line (Gaborik-Anisimov-Stepan) ends up on the ice together.
- A Rangers fan tweets about “wishing we had [current Blue Jacket] back.”
Bonus drink: The player is Fedor Tyutin.
- Marian Gaborik is compared to Rick Nash.
- John Moore is compared to Tim Erixon.
- Someone on Twitter uses a bromance hashtag.
Bonus drink:… and it’s not me.
- A Rangers jersey is spotted in the crowd.
- @BlueJacketsNHL and @NYRangers snarkily tweet at each other.
Bonus drink: I manage to weasel my way into the conversation.
- Derek Dorsett and Brandon Dubinsky fight.
- Derek Dorsett and Jared Boll fight.
Bonus drink: …and then surreptitiously fist-bump.
- The points awarded on a Blue Jackets goal consist entirely of former Rangers.
- Jody Shelley offers in-game commentary that is deemed “irrelevant.”
- A Rangers broadcaster experiences a senior moment and mistakes J. T. Miller (currently #10 on the Rangers) for Marian Gaborik (formerly #10 on the Rangers) or John Moore (currently #17 for the Rangers) for Brandon Dubinsky (formerly #17 for the Rangers).
- TMFT on the ice—that is, Too Many Former Teammates (more than 5) end up on the ice at one time.
- Vinny Prospal is mentioned.
Bonus Drink: His headshot is displayed on screen and his spray tan is still fantastic.
- Nikolai Zherdev is mentioned.
Bonus Drink: Christian Backman and Dan Fritsche are also mentioned.
- A player from one team celebrates a goal by “accidentally” hugging someone from the other team.
- Dubinsky is announced as the new Blue Jackets captain.
- Steven Delisle gets a shoutout. (s/t to @CBJProspects)
Buy out the nearest liquor store:
- Gaborik scores five goals; Lundqvist, watching from the bench, whistles innocently.
- Another trade is announced between the two teams… in the middle of the game.
- Petr Prucha is mentioned. Hey, you never know.
Feel free to add in any additional ideas (especially some Blue Jackets-centric ones!) in the comments below. May your livers recover in time for the next Rangers-Blue Jackets matchup at Madison Square Garden on December 12. Good luck!