If you were thinking that last night’s Blue Jackets blowout of the Blues in Columbus seemed a bit more feisty than usual, you might’ve chalked it up to the game being an embarrassing blowout for the Blues. If you were thinking that Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger seemed to be a bit more involved with post-whistle scrums than normal, perhaps there’s a very reasonable explanation for that. Andy Strickland of TrueHockey.com finds out that pre-game chirping isn’t just limited to what goes on during the pre-game skate.
Word is several Blues players took issue with Blue Jackets player R.J. Umberger who not once but twice ran through the Blues pre-game soccer warm-up.
Tension began to escalate between the Blues and Umberger once goaltender Ty Conklin spoke up and asked if he wouldn’t mind running somewhere else? That’s when Umberger told several Blues players they aren’t welcome to use this area to play soccer.
Things officially reached absurdity once Umberger went and fetched building security who tried to remove the Blues from playing soccer in this area. The Blues refused to leave as about a half dozen Columbus players were enjoying their own game of soccer just a few feet away. Eventually NHL security was called over who told the Blues they were fine where they were and could carry on as normal.
During the game Umberger was a bit of a force of his own scoring a goal as well as earning a double-minor for high sticking and a 10-minute misconduct for jousting with St. Louis’ Brad Boyes. It was during that scrum that Blues forward T.J. Oshie broke his ankle and has him out indefinitely from the Blues lineup. As for what might’ve help set off the Blues, Strickland throws in this piece of information.
One Blues player told Umberger next time Columbus comes to St. Louis he will make sure they are forced to go outside and play soccer in the snow. That’s when Umberger apparently responded “your building sucks anyway”.
All right, points off for lack of creativity for Umberger there but it’s a good enough barb to at least light a fire under his already ticked off opponents. As for playing soccer outside in St. Louis in the winter… Big deal, at least it’s not Edmonton where that would actually be a punishment. As it turns out, Umberger’s gripe with the Blues had more to do with respect for the common man than anything else as he told Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy today.
“We felt in the past that they disrespected our area. They came right next to us and played soccer. It’s our home arena. It’s our area. We deserve some respect. The way they treated our off-ice officials, it wasn’t very good.”
Give it up for sticking up for the little guy, eh? With these two teams being divisional foes, consider the fuse lit for future games between the two. Umberger’s always been a guy willing to speak his mind about things, like when he said the Capitals weren’t a team built for the playoffs last year, something that didn’t sit well with Washington players at the time. Suffice to say, we’re anxious for the next time these two teams meet each other now. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until December 9th for that.