The 8-seed Columbus Blue Jackets swept the 1-seed–and Presidents’ Trophy-winning–Tampa Bay Lightning in four games in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This remarkable feat was the first time:
- The Columbus Blue Jackets had won a playoff series in its franchise history
- The Presidents’ Cup winners were swept in the first round of the NHL Playoffs
Game 1: A 3-0 deficit was erased with a stunning Blue Jackets 4-3 comeback win.
Game 2: Columbus destroyed Tampa Bay 5-1 in Florida.
Game 3: The Blue Jackets won 3-1.
Game 4: Watch below to relieve the dramatic, magical night inside Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH-IO on Tuesday evening.
Was last season’s four-game collapse against the favorited Washington Capitals the odd springboard for the Blue Jackets playoff success thus far in 2019? That’s probably a safe presumption, specifically when discussing the third game in this series. More broadly, Columbus has arrived in a way this city has been waiting around two decades to witness.
And now its NHL counterparts and fans alike are seeing something different about the Blue Jackets right now…
something they don’t want to face-off with anytime soon.
All they needed was one, just one goal.
Columbus Crew SC fell 1-nil to Toronto FC in Canada tonight in the second (and decisive) leg of the 2017 MLS Eastern Conference Final, thereby preventing the black & gold from hosting an MLS Cup for the ages. Admittedly, as a Crew fan from the beginning, it’s difficult to find the words in this trying moment. The chances were there for that critical one away goal, but Justin Meram and Ola Kamara couldn’t place the ball in the back of the net.
That one goal was right there…
By the way, huge props to the next USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen for another fantastic penalty kick save in the 26th minute.
And in predictable snake-like behavior, MLS Commissioner Don Garber claimed he was “stuck in traffic” so he didn’t have to answer questions live on FS1 regarding his active participation in the deception, sabotage and attempted removal of the Crew from Columbus. Without diving deep tonight into the ongoing shameful acts by Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt, Crew SC President of Business Operations Andy Loughnane, Precourt Sports Ventures President Dave Greeley and MLS Commissioner Don Garber, I have just one thing to say right now:
The #SaveTheCrew movement is not over and will continue far beyond this MLS post-season. The efforts behind the rallying cry “We’re not done yet” will not yield because if Columbus ceases to be home to a professional soccer club, then so goes the identity and beating heart of American soccer in its capital city.
Columbus Crew SC 0 – Toronto FC 0
Not the best case scenario, but also not the worst.
Just getting back home from the nil-nil draw between the best damn fans in MLS land, more reflection, and analysis on tonight’s tense game will follow tomorrow. One thing’s for sure at this moment, which is that the city of Columbus continues to solidify its rightful place as THE soccer capital of the United States of America. The fans who rocked the sold-out Crew stadium on this chilly November night were passionate, excited and inspiring. The history of the Crew in MLS (and USMNT’s Dos-a-Cero) is unmatched.
Once again, the very identity of American soccer, let alone MLS, is at stake with keeping the Crew and professional soccer in Columbus. And fans let everyone in Crew Stadium hear it with more chants for Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt, as well as sporting a special banner before kickoff that will be featured in tomorrow’s blog post.
Until next Wednesday’s second leg of the Eastern Conference Final in Toronto, let’s all memorize and sing the newest Crew chant inspired by the timeless classic (and very appropriate) Les Misérables.
“We’re not done!”
Today’s first meeting in New York between Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and the President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership Alex Fischer (the Resistance) and scumbag MLS Commissioner Don Garber and scumbag Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt (the Empire) resulted in what can be described as a major bummer. Here’s the statement from the Resistance:
“We met with Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber and Columbus Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt in New York today. It is clear the MLS and ownership did not come to the meeting willing to commit to staying in Columbus. We know this is heartbreaking for the dedicated fans in Columbus and across the country who have shown unwavering support for the Columbus Crew SC.
“We are disappointed and frustrated. We were united in putting all options on the table, with the expectation in return that the MLS and ownership would cease pursuing moving the team to Austin. Great American cities do not get into bidding wars over sports teams to benefit private owners. Garber and Precourt were not willing to do that today.
“Once the league and owner are committed to Columbus, we stand ready, willing and able to support the team’s success.
“On November 21, standing alongside the best soccer fans in the country at MAPFRE stadium, we will be cheering Black and Gold onto victory. Glory to Columbus.”
Reaction #1: The fact the meeting today was held in New York was a bad sign from the beginning. It does, however, clarify to the follower and non-follower of #SaveTheCrew that Mr. Garber and Mr. Precourt are forever linked as the two evil forces who have been plotting for four-years to rip the Crew from Columbus through lying, deceitful practices. Since this mess started with secret, backdoor deals, talks to #SaveTheCrew should not have been held behind closed doors, especially in any city other than Columbus.
Reaction #2: The phrase “We are disappointed and frustrated” made its way into the good side’s public statement, which reveals that Mayor Ginther and Mr. Fischer were not savvy enough and/or ready for the first round of the epic fight to keep the Crew in Columbus. Mayor Ginther and Mr. Fischer understand the process for normal business deals, but this is not an ordinary business negotiation. Normal business language won’t cut it, inside and outside of meetings. I’m on their side, but their current tone is feeble in the midst of an inspiring run by the Crew that gives them an upper-hand in the debate. Were they prepared for this kind of fixed meeting by the Empire? Do they have a long-term strategy we don’t know about? Hopefully.
And then there is “Once the league and owner are committed to Columbus, we stand ready, willing and able to support the team’s success.” Well, the Empire is clearly not committed to Columbus or even basic human decency, that’s the problem! Patience is a virtue, but ignorant and do-nothing patience is nonsensical. Strong, effective persuasion has to be part of the #SaveTheCrew business solution. What happened?
Reaction #3: I still believe this is just the beginning of the fight to keep the first and most important club in MLS in the soccer capital of the United States of America. The latter part of that statement is true and I can write a dissertation on that assertion. That aside, if the social media era has proven anything, it’s that an ongoing PR disaster can move mountains (cough cough United Airlines). #SaveTheCrew and its media allies have and must continue to reveal, well, the mountain of lies and deceitful practices from Mr. Precourt and Mr. Garber to the most visible and most consequential audiences for maximum exposure and impact. The facts are on the side of #SaveTheCrew. At a certain point, these facts will reach a boiling point and that’s when the right change can and hopefully will occur.
Columbus Crew outsiders and skeptics in an equal measure may consider the grassroots guerilla marketing campaign to #SaveTheCrew to be admirable, but ultimately all for naught because its opposition is the duplicitous partnership of a powerful business firm Precourt Sports Ventures and institutional force Major League Soccer (MLS). Fair point. The odds aren’t great and the deck is stacked against Columbus and integrity. And yet consider this movement that grew from a hashtag just a few weeks ago is driving a city of passionate fans dressed in black & gold towards a sell-out first-leg of the 2017 MLS Eastern Conference Final for the host Columbus Crew against the top-seeded Canadian visitors from Toronto FC despite a cold forecast. What if Crew fans deliver an electric, sold-out atmosphere and the Crew players deliver another magical playoff win as quintessential small market underdogs?
That would be another massive statement on national television post-Austin news last month.
Determined people with a positive, unified mission have a proven track record of taking down goliaths if the right tact is developed and utilized. #SaveTheCrew has shown great tact and is evolving and growing stronger by the day at the grassroots level.
So, am I saying there’s a chance to keep the Crew in Columbus after another two-faced and staged meeting set-up by the Empire? Yes. A seismic change in strategy in reaction to this devastating development is necessary, but it’s possible. #SaveTheCrew wouldn’t be the first unthinkable upset in soccer history but it would be one of the greatest and most significant. The identity of Columbus and similarly small market soccer clubs, as well as American soccer, is at stake.
And that’s not a game we can lose.