The Thursday edition of the #CBJ Community Spotlight will focus on Blue Jackets bloggers & content creators.
This week’s edition focuses on Matt Wagner (@bzarcher), blogger for The Cannon. When I first got involved in the #CBJ community I began by reaching out to all of the bloggers I knew of and introducing myself as well as offering sidebar space on the CBJ subreddit for any community events they had planned. Matt was one of the first to respond and was incredibly welcoming. If you aren’t following him on Twitter you are missing out, his Shrapnel piece should be on the #CBJ fan required reading list. Matt was kind enough (as usual) to take a few moments to fill out my questionnaire and introduce himself to the #CBJ community.
Who is Matt Wagner? In his own words:
Well, I’ve pretty much lived in or around Columbus for most of my life. My parents moved to Westerville when I was a toddler, and even though I got to travel a bit as a kid, I didn’t really leave Columbus for more than vacations until I went to college. Unsurprisingly, I spent years thinking “I -have- to get out of this town!!!”, but after a few years of living on my own I realized I missed a lot of things about the city, and when the opportunity came up to return, I took it.
I love to cook, I love to write, I love to explore new stuff in the city (I’m a HUGE fan of the food truck boom!), and I can spend extensive time talking about how Tony Stark is awesome and you do NOT @$(^ with El Hombre De Hierro. I was pretty much a Doctor Who fan in the womb, and I’m currently splitting my time between work, hockey, and getting ready for my wedding this fall. Somehow this amazing and beautiful woman was crazy enough to agree to spend the rest of our lives together, which makes me stop in my tracks and get goofy about seven or eight times a day.
On to the questions!
The easy questions…
1. Favorite #CBJ player:
Right now, I think it has to be Vinny. He’s been a breath of fresh air with his attitude and experience, but also the way this man never gives up. He’s always skating, he’s always shooting, he’s come back from three major knee procedures – it’s incredible how resilient and energetic the man is.
2. Favorite non-#CBJ player & why:
Hmm. That’s really tough, but I think I have to give it to Mike Rupp (though my answers could easily change…) – hard worker, physical, but also a veteran leader who can slam home a clutch goal when the pressure is on. Plus, hey, Cleveland guy making good. Gotta like that.
3. Favorite #CBJ moment:
It’s not a big franchise history moment or anything, but back in November of 2006, I managed to get some really nice club level seats from work for a game against Calgary. I took a bunch of friends, we had a great time, and I saw my first shootout in person….and got my money’s worth and then some because it turned out to be one of the longest shootouts in franchise history – I want to say we were on round 11 or 12 when Manny Malhotra finally put the game winner past Kiprusoff, and Pazzy made a nice glove save to seal the deal. The entire place went insane – there have been games with more on the line, and times where the crowd got louder, but there was this really fun energy to the whole night that I’ll never forget.
4. Favorite general hockey moment:
“And after 22 years…..RAYMOND BORQUE!” If that moment doesn’t give you goosebumps, I don’t know what to tell you. I love watching the Stanley Cup get awarded every year, even when it’s a team I don’t like, but that moment…my GOD, that moment. Seeing the emotion of the whole thing. It gets me choked up every time I see it.
5. Team you would root for if #CBJ had never existed (not moved):
Toronto. I got into hockey because of a friend who was a Leafs fan, and they’re still my favorite Eastern Conference team. More than a few people will use this to give me additional grief, I’m sure. :)
6. Favorite non-#CBJ jersey:
In general, or that I own? In general, I really love the Rangers’ Winter Classic gear – I need to get one sooner or later.
I don’t actually wear it that often, but I own a 2008 World Championships Team Norway jersey. My grandparents lived in Norway for almost 20 years, so I got steeped in Norwegian culture for a long, long time. It has a lot of connections to me, and I really love it.
Some tougher questions:
7. What are your expectations for the #CBJ in the next 1, 3 and 5 years:
1 year: I think the team is going to work on nailing down an identity, but a lot of things depend on what happens with Rick Nash and their goaltending. I don’t expect them to be a cup contender, but I would expect the team to be competitive and engaging for the fans.
3 years: We should have a solid goaltending / defense group at this point, and our forwards should see a mature Ryan Johansen and Cam Atkinson helping to anchor the offense – plus potentially bolstered by guys like Boone Jenner and Michael Chaput as they step into the pro ranks. Without trying to count too many chickens before they’re hatched, I think this team should be in the playoff chase, and I’d go so far as to spread out to the 5 year prediction and say this should be a team with at least 2-3 playoff appearances under their belt and hopefully at least one strong postseason run.
8. If you were GM of the #CBJ, who do you draft at second overall & why:
While we’re all waiting to see what Edmonton does…if Nail Yakupov is there, his sheer talent and ability make him a no-brainer. I think that if Yakupov goes #1, it becomes a harder choice, but I’d probably be flipping a coin between Alex Galchenyuk and Filip Forsberg. I think that there are some great defenders in this class, but those two players could step in and really give our entire prospect system a shot in the arm – in particular Forsberg, who I think people will end up comparing to Gabriel Landeskog very soon.
9. Would you rather see the #CBJ be more competitive next season but miss the playoffs or get another high draft pick & why:
Honestly, I think the city as a whole needs this team to be competitive. Another lottery pick sounds good in theory, but we’ve already seen the fanbase badly torn over their on ice performance, which is a stress I don’t think we need. Also, with the team hosting the all star game, it’d be nice if we had players during in performances considered All Star worthy, playoffs or not.
10. Can you list something(s) that you like and something(s) you’d like to see changed with the #CBJ community:
I love how people get together and make almost instant connections. I think we have an incredibly welcoming, accepting community. But at the same time, I think a lot of fans are a little too quick to break into “camps.” Just because someone sits with the ACA doesn’t mean you can’t get along with them if you’re part of another fan group, and someone who signs up for the F.A.N.S. stuff shouldn’t be excluded if you’re giving Scott Howson a bit more time to fix the mess.
We’re all fans of the same team, and each of us sees something different when they hit the ice that we fall in love with. I think that’s incredible.
11. Name 5 #CBJ twitter accounts you think more people should be following?
12. Any shout outs you want to give or blogs/twitter accounts you want to help promote?
Obviously, please keep checking out what we do over at www.jacketscannon.com – we’re trying to really gear you up for the Draft no matter what happens! Also, I’m sure they don’t need my help promoting them, but I am always excited when I see new stuff by Tom over at Dark Blue Jacket or Jeff Little at Ten Minute Misconduct. I’m incredibly excited about the “Dark Blue Jacket+” posts at Fox Sports Ohio. I really hope that continues to take off this season.
13. Any final thoughts… on anything?
There’s two ways to look at this upcoming offseason. You can stand there thinking the world is going to fall apart, or you can get excited for all the changes that are coming. I really believe that good things are coming, and that the fans will get a chance to see some really good hockey in the coming season.