My blog today won't be my typical preview of the Blue Jackets game here in Toronto against the Maple Leafs tonight as much as to tell you about our "off night" in the so called "Center of the Hockey Universe."
That said, tonight the Blue Jackets begin the first of back to back games against Eastern Conference competition and the CBJ frankly need to get on a roll! As I glance at the Western Conference standings in the National Hockey League this morning they are 12th, but still only four points back of 8th place Chicago. The Jackets have two games in hand on the Blackhawks, who are bunched in with three other teams with 43 points. After tomorrow's New Years Eve start with the Ottawa Senators at Nationwide Arena, the Jackets head out on a four-game road trip that starts in Nashville Sunday, so wins at this point are a must.
As for our night here in Toronto, last night a group of us that included all the broadcasters, Ryan Holtmann of the PR staff and Julie Gamble who handles all the CBJ's travel ventured over to the new Real Sports Bar and Grill, which is part of the Maple Leafs empire. ESPN has labled it "North America's #1 Sports Bar!" and for what it's worth I would wholeheartedly agree. It's amazing everywhere you look there are giant TV's and there must have been five or six games available on all the TV's. The huge screen which is the center piece of the establishment is a movie theatre sized TV in HD and the picture quality is superb. It had the World Junior Championships game between Team Canada and Team Norway in full view with a pro Canada crowd on hand.
For Columbus hockey fans a trip here to Toronto is a must. In addition to perhaps checking this place out, seeing a hockey game and visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame is a must. It's a six and a half hour drive from Central Ohio and well worth the trip.
After dinner George Matthews, Bill Davidge, my son - who works in the media here in Toronto - headed over to the NHL's War Room, which is around the corner from the Real Sports Bar and just 50-feet from the Air Canada Centre.
The NHL's Mike Murphy was kind enough to spend an hour with us explaining the nuances of the their set up. Each work station has the two feeds of a game with both the home and road teams telecasts in HD. Murphy sits at a huge desk with feeds of all the games plus a communication system that enables him to be in contact with the video replay judge in all the arenas as well as the time keepers, bench and the goal judges. Needless to say a very elaborate system. Unfortunately, there were no reviews while we were there. As a side, I did receive a number of tweets from Blue Jackets fans, many of them humorous with the same idea letting them know that Blue Jackets fans are looking for a better outcome on War Room reviews.
Tonight's game against the Maple Leafs starts at 7 p.m. Our Coverage on FOX Sports Ohio begins with Blue Jackets Live with Ray Crawford at 6:30 p.m.
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blog - Rimer's Game Day Ramblings. The Columbus Blue Jackets' television play-by-play man will try to keep you updated on all the season action through his blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.