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Blue Jackets minus Rick Nash, beats Atlanta 2-1

Columbus, O.- The Blue Jackets played last night’s game without their captain and best player, Rick Nash who is out day-to-day with lower body injuries. Usually, it spells diasaster for Columbus when Nash is not in the lineup. But Columbus didn’t miss a beat without Nash and from the opening face-off to the final buzzer, they kept the pressure on Atlanta and their goaltender, Johan Hedberg.

R.J. Umberger (cbj)

Mathieu Garon (cbj)

It’s hard to believe that Atlanta, an Eastern Conference team and a member of the Southeast Division, is fighting for a playoff spot. They sit in 10th place behind the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins for that coveted 8th spot. This is a team that most fans wouldn’t recognize their roster. The only recognizable players would be 48-year-old Chris Chelios, (who was making his season debut last night), former Blue Jacket Ron Hainsey, Johan Hedberg and the Marty Reasoner, who was a scratch last night. Atlanta even has a better record than Columbus, 28-28-10. Having said that, Columbus has better players and better talent and it shows that it has underachieved all season as compared to Atlanta, who has overachieved with less talent. Go figure that.

Columbus used their high energy and entertaining hockey to score first in the opening period.  Capitalizing on a power play opportunity stemming from an interference call on the Thrashers’ Nik Antropov, the Jackets scored as R.J. Umberger scored his 2oth goal of the season on a deflection off of Chris Chelios and a 1-0 lead.

The crowd of  13,459 were thrilled with home team’s high-energy level and they weren’t going to be disappointed in the second period.  The second period had a slower pace but the Jackets kept the pressure on Atlanta Goalie Johan Hedberg as Kristian Huselius made it 2-0 at the 15:25 mark on a rebound shot in a crowd off another deflection. For Huselius, that was his 18th goal of the season to go with his 31st assist on the R.J. Umberger goal in the first period giving him 49 points on the season.

The 3rd period is usually the period where Blue Jackets fans hold their breath even if the team is up 2-0 because anything and everything bad usually happens to this team. Not to mention, in reading Atlanta’s media notes, the third period has been their best period all season. So there was reason for concern with 20:00 minutes of hockey left.

Columbus still had enough energy to battle the Thrashers, but only could muster one shot on goal in the 3rd period.  Atlanta outshot the Jackets 17-1 in the 3rd period. Atlanta finally scored on a strange goal. Johnny Oduya put the puck past Goaltender Mathieu Garon at the 17:39 mark on a deflection off of Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin and it was 2-1 and the fans could be heard from the press box, “oh not again”.

The Blue Jackets committed a  high sticking  penalty (Jan Hejda). So Atlanta, after pulling their Goaltender and having a power play, put a 6-on-4 advantage against the Blue Jackets, the final 1:25 of the game but couldn’t come up with the equalizing goal. The Jackets held on to win 2-1.

“When its not going for you, its not going to go for you. It’s a difficult loss”, Atlanta coach John Anderson said.

SOUNDS FROM THE LOCKER ROOM AND POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE (to listen to an audio file, click the number)

44 498 Chris Chelios Atlanta Defenseman 48 year old first game back in NHL

44 499 Chris Chelios Atlanta is in a playoff race in the Eastern Conference

44 501 Nik Antropov Atlanta Center Losing key game in a playoff run

44 502 Nik Antropov Does it get discouraging losing by giving up 2 flukie goals

44 506 Derek Dorsett Columbus RW The team came out fast and quick in the 1st period

44 507 Derek Dorsett On Goalie Mathieu Garon playing solid tonight

44 511 Kristian Huselius Columbus Team had a nice pace and flow tonight

44 512 Kristian Huselius Does he and teammates like fast pace instead of a slow pace

44 513 Claude Noel Columbus Coach Overall thoughts on the game

44 516 Claude Noel On the versatility of Derek Dorsett filling in for Rick Nash on 1st line

GAME NOTES

* Columbus is now 27-30-11 with 65 points.

* The Blue Jackets are 16-10-7 at home this season.

* The Jackets are 7-5-0 vs Atlanta all-time; 4-2-0 in Columbus; have won 5 of last 6 and 4 straight games.

* With the win over Atlanta, the Blue Jackets are 13=0-2 in its past 15 games against the Southeast Division which also includes Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida and Carolina. Their last loss to a Southeast Division team was November 21, 2007, a 5-2 loss at home to Florida.

* With Thursday night’s win, Columbus is:

18-12-5 when scoring the first goal of the game

11-7-5 when leading after the first period

21-6-4 when leading after the second period.

* LW R.J. Umberger scored his 20th goal of the season last night to give him 20 or more goals in three of his five NHL seasons. he has registered 20 goals, 25 assists for 45 points in 68 games this season leaving him five points shy of matching his career high of 50 points set in 2007-2008 with Philadelphia.

* Chris Chelios, who has starred for Montreal, Detroit and Chicago is glad to be back in the NHL

College Football: Findlay Oilers will have 6 home games in 2010

courtesy of Findlay Athletics

2009 Findlay football team (UF)

(UF)

Jon Wauford head coach (UF)

The University of Findlay football team will be at home in Donnell Stadium for 6 games in 2010 beginning with a  non-conference match-up against Tusculum College on Saturday, September 4 at  noon before heading out on the road for a pair of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) contests.

After playing Tusculum, the Oilers will travel to Marquette, Michigan to face Northern Michigan University at 1:00 p.m. on September 11 before facing Tiffin University on the road at 4:00 p.m. on September 18.

On September 25, Findlay hosts national runner-up Grand Valley State University at noon in Donnell Stadium before welcoming the University of Indianapolis to town the following week on October 2 for Homecoming at 4:00 p.m.

Findlay will head back out on the road on October 9 to face Ferris State University at 2:00 p.m. in Big Rapids, Michigan and then to Columbus, Ohio for a game with Ohio Dominican University on October 16.

The game with Ohio Dominican is tentatively scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff.

On October 23, Findlay hosts Lake Erie College at noon and on October 30, the Oilers will battle Ashland University in Donnell Stadium beginning at noon as well.

Findlay will take to the road for the final time in 2010 on November 6 when they make a short trip to Hillsdale, Michigan to face Hillsdale College at 2:30 p.m. before concluding their season at home on November 13 against Wayne State University.

Kickoff  for the game against the Warriors is scheduled for a noon start.

Head Coach Jon Wauford’s team was 7-4 in 2009.

Phenom Strasburg off to a good start with Washington

compiled from staff and wire reports

Washington Nationals Stephen Strasburg (wfe)

Stephen Strasburg made his Washington Nationals debut on earlier this week. Eventhough it was just a 2-inning stint, he certainly lived up to the hype.

He threw two scoreless innings in the Nationals’ 9-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday in his much ballyhooed first exhibition start.

Strasburg threw 15 of 27 pitches for strikes and allowed two hits, successive two-out singles by Alex Avila and Don Kelly in the second inning. But the flame-throwing right hander got an inning-ending strikeout against Brent Dlugach with an 81-mph curveball.

The 21-year-old was selected as the number 1 pick in the 2009 draft and received a record $15.1 million, four-year contract from the Nationals. He went 13-1 in his final season pitching for Tony Gwynn and the San Diego State Aztecs leading Division I in ERA (1.35) and strikeouts (195 in 109 innings).

Cincinnati upsets arch-rival Louisville in the second round of the Big East Tournament

UC's Yancy Gates (UC)

UC senior Deonta Vaughn celebrates the victory (Getty)

Most college basketball observers thought that Louisville would walk all over the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Big East Tournament on Wednesday. The Cardinals were 19-12 fresh off an upset this past weekend over then #1 Syracuse and Cincinnati, with a up-and-down season at 17-14.

The crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York was stunned like everybody after the Bearcats rallied from 12 points down to upset Louisville, 69-66.

Cincinnati has been playing comfortably in the Big East Tournament.  The 11th seeded ‘Cats used a huge advantage on the boards to beat the 6th seeded Cardinals. Cincinnati is the only team to play in the first round still playing. The Bearcats beat Rutgers in the first round  69-68 and won the rebounding battle, 49-31. They outrebounded Louisville 54-33, including 28-9 on the offensive end.

After trailing at the half by nine, Cincinnati outscored Louisville by 12 (37-25) to advance to the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament and knock out the defending tournament champions.

Cincinnati has won two straight games in a conference tournament for the first time since 2004, when the team won the Conference USA tournament.

With the game still undecided, the game down to two big plays for Cincinnati Deonta Vaughn. He made two free throws with 5.9 seconds left to make the score 69-66. Then he made the game-saving strip of Edgar Sosa about 30 feet from the basket just before the buzzer. Sosa was the reason Louisville had a chance to win the game. He scored 28 points on 10 of 16 shooting, including going 5 of 6 on 3-point goals.

Cincinnati native Nick Lachey glad his team was victorious (espn)

Yancy Gates had 16 points for Cincinnati while fellow freshman Lance Stephenson scored 12 as did junior Darnell Wilks.

Cincinnati improves to 18-14, Louisville drops to 20-12.

Bengals sign free-agent receiver Antonio Bryant to 4-year deal

Antonio Bryant played for Tampa Bay in 2009 (tb)

Antonio Bryant joins Bengals (nfl)

Wide Receiver Antonio Bryant has agreed to a four-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. Bryant’s contract will be worth $28 million and with incentives, he could make as much as $29 million.

By signing Bryant, the Bengals may not sign either Terrell Owens or Brandon Marshall. It has been reported by media around the Cincinnati area that the team still might sign one more wideout.

Bryant had career highs with 83 catches for 1,248 yards and seven touchdowns in 2008 with Tampa Bay. He needed surgery for torn cartilage in his knee during training camp last year, and was bothered by pain in the knee all season. He finished with 39 catches for 600 yards and four touchdowns. Those numbers will certainly improve with the Bengals because he’ll be surrounded by other players who’ll open the field up for him like Chad Ochocinco, Andre Caldwell and Cedric Benson. Plus, he has a better QB in Carson Palmer to throw to him.

Cincinnati needed at least one proven receiver after releasing Laveranues Coles, who lasted only one season with the Bengals. Receiver Matt Jones, who was out of the NFL in 2009 after Jacksonville released him because of off-field issues, has signed a one-year deal with the Bengals.

Cincinnati went 10-6 and won the AFC North last season by relying on their defense and running game. They lost to the New York Jets in their first playoff game since 2005, struggling to move the ball.

The Bengals passing offense finished 26th in the league last season eventhough QB Carson Palmer was back from his elbow injury. The Bengals didn’t have a reliable third-down receiver since T.J. Houshmandzadeh left as a free agent for Seattle, a move that he soon regretted. Coles never blended into the offense and he never spoke with the media at all, even after a win.

Cincinnati also lacked a deep threat after Chris Henry got injured and later died from a fall out of a pickup truck during a domestic dispute.

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