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Kinkaid makes connections with fans through Twitter

New Blue Jackets goaltender celebrates wins on social media

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

It can take a few weeks for a player to adjust to playing with his new teammates on the ice after the trade deadline. 

It turns out the same can be said for emoji-based game recaps on Twitter. 

When presented with that question Tuesday, Keith Kinkaid couldn't help but laugh. Now that he's been with the Blue Jackets for more than a month, one of the defining features of his New Jersey Devils tenure -- the emoji-filled tweets he posts at @Blockaid1 after every win that became fan favorites -- has found a new home in Columbus. 

"It's taken a good month for me to figure out personalities and just think of fun things to do," the laid-back, personable netminder said. "It's always tough coming to a new team, whether it's being on Twitter or playing a game. No, I had to figure out who could take what and get to know the guys." 

The Long Island native started celebrating Devils wins with emojis a year ago, taking a page from the book of New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius, who was doing the same after his team's victories. 

There have been some new themes for Kinkaid to explore since his trade to the Blue Jackets at the trade deadline to be the team's No. 3 goalie. The goal siren emoji he used with the Devils to represent each goal the team scored in a game has been replaced with the "boom" emoji denoting a cannon blast for each tally. 

Cam Atkinson is represented by the camera emoji, and Artemi Panarin is bread, of course. Then there's goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who is represented by a construction worker. Yes, in Kinkaid's world, he's Bob the Builder.  

Tweet from @Blockaid1: 💥💥💥💥That���s 🖐 W���s in a row for #cbj !👷���������w/ a career high and league leading 9 🍩! 👨���🎨 staying 🔥w/ another 💥. Movin��� on up! pic.twitter.com/2N2dtX27NJ

Each shutout Bobrovsky has had of late -- and there have been plenty -- is represented by a donut, and there's a new twist since Kinkaid came to the Jackets. The goaltender has been experimenting with PhotoShop -- for example, putting Bobrovsky's face on Tony Montana, or 'shopping Panarin's face on that of Chris Hansen for a "To Catch a Predator" themed post after Panarin had four assists the win over Nashville. 

"I just couldn't stay away from doing the emojis I guess," Kinkaid said. "I'm trying to have fun with it. It's tough not playing, so I just try to have fun and be a good team guy and everything." 

Tweet from @Blockaid1: 💥💥💥💥💥 in another #cbj win!Congrats to 📹 on tying franchise 💥 record & 🍞 on new franchise pts record! Next up ������. pic.twitter.com/EhbnODygSV

Much like Devils fans before them, Blue Jackets fans have already made a connection with Kinkaid's posts after wins. In New Jersey, each postgame victory tweet would garner nearly 200 retweets and more than 1,000 likes, similar numbers to his post after the win over Buffalo on Sunday. 

"It takes like 5-10 minutes to do it," he said. "It's fun. Columbus fans are starting to want it. In Jersey, they were always waiting for it after the game, and now Columbus, I guess they didn't really understand what was going on (at first). Now they're looking forward to it." 

Kinkaid is yet to see game action with the Blue Jackets after playing in 41 games with the Devils this year and leading New Jersey to the playoffs a year ago. He was added as an insurance blanket in case either of the Jackets' top two goalies, Bobrovsky and Joonas Korpisalo, experience an injury down the stretch. 

That's made for a tough transition for Kinkaid, but he's tried to make the most of it, earning plaudits from teammates and the coaching staff for the way he's approached things despite the lack of playing time. 

"Kinks has been unbelievable," captain Nick Foligno said. "He gets forgotten about, but he's been a real good guy behind the scenes with everybody in a tough situation for him." 

"Obviously going from playing most of the games in Jersey to not playing a single one here, it's tough, but I'm just trying to work," Kinkaid said. "If they ever need me, I'll be ready. I'm just trying to do my best and be a good teammate on and off the ice and do whatever helps the team." 

Even if it means emojis. Kinkaid understands the situation, though, especially with Bobrovsky on a run that has earned him notice as the NHL's second star for the month of March, when he had a 1.74 goals-against average, .940 save percentage and four shutouts. 

That run of shutouts makes even Kinkaid shake his head and marvel, so he gets why Bobrovsky has been the goaltender the Jackets have learned on down the stretch. 

"I mean, he's eating those donuts," Kinkaid said of the shutouts.  

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