Monthly Archives: October 2012

October 22-28 CBJ Prospect Week in Review

Posted by CBJProspects on October 30, 2012
Prospects / No Comments

It’s time for this week’s update on the players within the Blue Jackets’ development system. Let’s get right to it by checking in with our AHL and ECHL affiliates.

The Springfield Falcons got back at it this weekend with every player’s favorite thing ever: a three in three. Starting off on Friday it was rematch with the team that gave the Falcons its first loss just last week, the Providence Bruins. The Falcons would bounce back in a big way with Curtis McElhinney picking up his second shutout of the season making 33 saves. Ryan Johansen would have the only multi-point game having two assists. Brad Larsen would defy hockey law by not sticking with the hot hand after a shutout giving Paul Dainton his first start of the season against Bridgeport. In the shootout loss, Dainton would still be named first star making 36 saves in the game then stopping three of seven in the shootout. On Sunday, the Birds would take on the Portland Pirates giving McElhinney a shot at his old team. In the 3-2 victory, the Falcons would roar out to a 3-0 lead before allowing two second period goals. On the weekend, Ryan Johansen and David Savard would lead the Falcons with three points each. The Johan scored a goal and two assists and Savard had three assists. Other Falcons with multiple points were Cam Atkinson with two goals and Nick Drazenovic, Matt Calvert and Andrew Joudrey with a goal and assist, and defensemen John Moore and Cody Goloubef each with two assists. Continue reading…

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So What Does the Davidson Addition Actually Mean?

A lot of people have written a lot of things so far on the Blue Jackets’ hiring of John Davidson to be President of Hockey Operations. I’ll leave it to others to discuss how this impacts the fans, what is means to the city, etc. What I can talk about regarding this hire, is how it will impact the team directly.

The first place where Davidson will have a major impact is the culture of the organization. This is something that has been in flux for a while now, and with Rick Nash gone, Davidson can step into the void. He is a proven winner, a respected voice, and has a cult of personality that can dominate the spotlight without making it look like he is trying to dominate the spotlight. This allows the players to play, Howson to manage,  and Richards to coach, without having to be in the public eye as much. When it comes to culture, Davidson’s Blues teams have always been workmanlike teams with a strong veteran presence. That should carry over to Columbus. He will not allow the ‘country club’ culture that has been persistent in the Jackets history to continue.

Davidson will also help greatly with the perception of Columbus around the league. Look at Sergei Kostitsyn’s comments the other day, Marc Crawford’s comments a few months ago, among many other quotes from people in the game of hockey regarding Columbus.  It is incredibly tough to break out of that perception. But it can be done. No one in their right mind would argue that Columbus is a “gloomier” city to live in than Detroit. But Detroit has a reputation around the league as a first class organization and a winner, which trumps the depression that is actually living in Detroit. This is in spite of the fact that Detroit had a fifteen year stretch as the laughingstock of the league, picking up almost as many insulting nicknames (“Dead Wings”) as playoff appearances (two). They brought in respected veteran front office guy Jimmy Devellano from the New York Islanders dynasty, drafted Steve Yzerman (amongst others), and the rest is history. The hire of John Davidson is on par with the Wings hire of Devellano, and with some luck, Ryan Murray could be our Steve Yzerman (not in play, but in personality and impact to the organization). In any case, John Davidson is the first step towards changing the perception of Columbus as the “Island of Misfit Toys”.

In a more direct way, the Blue Jackets will benefit from the additional veteran voice in the decision making process. Columbus has long had one of the smaller front offices in the NHL, and one of the greenest. I have long liked their approach, but more experienced voices have been needed since Don Boyd and Bob Strum were let go last offseason. A veteran like Davidson has seen the ups and downs of many players over the course of his career, and that benefit of that experience is damn near incalculable when trying to properly assess player value. Along with Craig Patrick, Davidson provides the Blue Jackets front office with as much, or more, of this experience than most other franchises currently possess.

Continue reading…

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October 15-21 CBJ Prospect Week in Review

Posted by CBJProspects on October 26, 2012
Prospects / No Comments

Sorry to be a bit late this week in our prospect review. A new job has modified my schedule a bit – so let’s get on with it!

Last week ended the Falcons season opening four game homestand with the team earning its first ever 3-0 start. On Friday night a game (attended by our own AlisonL)  was a battle of the birds as the Falcons hosted the baby Pens from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. In the 4-2 Falcons victory it was the “Cam/JAM/Johan show” as the trio combined for seven points with three goals and four assists. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault opened the scoring with his second of the season off a blast from the point on a five on three power play. John Moore would score his first of the season on a blast from the point off a faceoff in his 150th pro game (NHL+AHL). Cam Atkinson would find the scoresheet, scoring from in front the net off the rebound of a JAM Shot. Ryan Johansen would close out the scoring during a two on one with Cam Atkinson, tapping it home to make it 4-2 Falcons. Satuday night, the Falcons would face the Providence Bruins losing 3-1 with Nick Drazenovic burying a rebound off a John Moore shot for his first of the season. Curtis McElhinney would be in net for both games stopping 56 of 61 shots for a .918 save percentage and a 2.54 GAA. Leading the Falcons in scoring would be Jonathan Audy-Marchessault with a goal and two assists with Ryan Johansen, John Moore, Nick Drazenovic and Cam Atkinson each having a goal and a assist and Matt Calvert picking up two assists. Continue reading…

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The Foundations of Hockey – Learning to Skate Like a Hockey Player

Posted by AlisonL on October 25, 2012
Columbus Blue Jackets / 1 Comment

Skaters get ready to take to the ice

A few months ago, an idea was born to provide a skating class that focused on some of the fundamentals of hockey skating.

Columbus is proud to be home of the second largest rec hockey league, but that doesn’t make it any less intimidating to decide to play for the first time – pads, sticks, skating all make for things that can be hard to take on all at once!

So at Union Blue, we decided to start at the very beginning – skating!

Continue reading…

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Davidson Comes to Columbus…and Fans Celebrate

Posted by AlisonL on October 24, 2012
Columbus Blue Jackets / 1 Comment

We are often told “where there is smoke, there’s fire” and for once, when that turned out to be true, it was in the Blue Jackets’ favor. After months of “will he, won’t he?” what many CBJ fans dared to hope for is now a reality.  Today brings the much welcomed news that John Davidson has signed on as the President of Hockey Operations for our beloved team.

I, for one, am thrilled with this move. Davidson brings a proven track record not only in the game of hockey, but also in turning a struggling organization into a winning organization. It seems that this move could be one more brick in the walls of a new, solid foundation for this team.

Continue reading…

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A Love Letter…from a Jilted Girlfriend

Posted by AlisonL on October 20, 2012
Columbus Blue Jackets / 3 Comments

Last night was supposed to be the Blue Jackets’ home opener against Vancouver, but as we all know there is no NHL hockey to be found. So, in defiance of the removal of professional hockey from my life (and thanks to the fortuitous need to travel to Connecticut for work) I added a night to my travel plans to attend the Springfield Falcons‘ game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. I was excited to see so many Blue Jackets prospects in action, and I was excited to see some real live hockey. I fully anticipated to return to you here with a full recap of the game, the Springfield experience, and how our boys are doing. That piece is coming, but last night, I found I had to write something else first.

Continue reading…

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October 8-14 CBJ Prospect Week in Review

Posted by CBJProspects on October 15, 2012
Prospects / No Comments

Since this is the first week with a full slate of prospects playing, let’s get going.

Starting off in Springfield, the Falcons opened the season 2-0 for the first time since 2005-06 with Curtis McElhinney winning both games including a Sunday shutout against Adirondack. On Saturday night, the Falcons opened against the St John’s IceCaps winning 4-2. Leading the way was Tomas Kubalik and Matt Calvert, each having a goal and an assist; and, Tim Erixon having two assists both appearing to be on shots from the point. Picking up their first pro points were Michael Chaput and Dalton Smith with Chaput assisting on Smith’s goal. On Sunday, it was all birds as Springfield won 4-0, with McElhinney making 31 saves facing off against former OSU goalie Cal Heeter. Cal was making his pro debut for Adirondack. Scoring for the Falcons were Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Ryan Craig, each with a goal and an assist and Cam Atkinson and Cody Bass with two assists. Ryan Johansen would score the game winner and Dalton Prout would add a early second period goal just 30 seconds in. Jonthan Audy-Marchessault is currently tied for third in AHL scoring (with a goal and two assists) with Ryan Craig, who is only signed on a AHL deal. McElhinney is top three in GAA and save percentage after this weekend. Continue reading…

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2012-13 CBJ NCAA Prospect Preview

Posted by CBJProspects on October 11, 2012
Prospects / No Comments

Hello all! I’m back again with a prospect preview – this time focusing on the Jackets’ seven NCAA prospects, which consists of three seniors, two juniors, one sophomore and one freshman. The seven are Seniors Kevin Lynch, Thomas Larkin and Drew Olson; Juniors TJ Tynan and Martin Ouelette; and the freshman and sophomore who will be teammates at Minnesota: Mike Reilly and Seth Ambroz. Now, like in my junior prospects blog, I’ll include content that comes with help from writers and broadcasters that cover the teams.

Thomas Larkin-Colgate(ECAC)
11-12 Stats 37GP 4-10-14 54PIM 2009 Draft 5/137
For analysis on Thomas, I’ll turn things over to John McGraw who is the Red Raiders play by play man on WKXZ.

Last season, Thomas, as a junior was one of three tri-captains on a team which finished fourth in ECAC Hockey and advanced to the league championship weekend for the second year in a row. Of the three captains, Thomas was the only junior; the other two were seniors – New Jersey Devils draft pick Corbin McPherson and Kevin McNamara. Thomas was one of six regular defensemen that generally played every night. He saw ice time in all situations – even strength, power play and penalty kill. His scoring numbers rebounded somewhat after a low point total in 2010-11 but on a team that featured Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalist Austin Smith and current Anaheim Ducks signee Chris Wagner, he didn’t necessarily need to score a lot of goals. His playing time remained steady and increased even in the second half of the season as Colgate at times rotated five defensemen with a sixth playing every other shift.
The biggest area for Thomas this season and I think in general is his play on the puck in the defensive zone. He needs to be consistently stronger on the puck and make a good first pass. And generally speaking, he has been solid in this regard however it’s still an area that needs improvement in his game. From my perspective, it seems at times he may simply over think instead of simply getting the puck to a teammate or skating it forward. But, this area has improved as he has gone through his career at Colgate. Offensively, he’s a solid contributer and there’s always the possibility he could see some playing time as a forward on the power play given his size in front of the net. Last season, he was relegated to a point man on the power play which suits him though he did provide an interesting look as a forward with his skating ability and size. He has a good skating flow and can advance the puck well from circle to circle.
This season, I would say that he’ll be one of Colgate’s top two defensemen along with Vancouver Canucks draft pick Jeremy Price. He should continue to see ice time in all situations. Leadership-wise, he’ll again be a captain and the first two-year captain in some time. His leadership will be counted upon on a team that will feature eight freshmen, all of which will likely see ice time. He and Price will also anchor the blue line which will have four seniors.

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October 1-7 CBJ Prospect Review

Posted by CBJProspects on October 09, 2012
Prospects / No Comments

Hey everybody it’s time for our weekly prospect review!

We’ll start with the Jackets minor league affiliate, the Springfield Falcons who got underway with preseason action over the last week. Unfortunately, the AHL doesn’t do anything stat-wise for the preseason, so for our this week I’m basing this update on more disparate information, including a lot of updates I’ve gathered via Twitter accounts.

Jonathan Audy-Marchessault led the way with five goals and an assist with all his points coming in Friday and Saturday’s wins over Worchester and Providence. The only other Jackets prospects with multiple points were Ryan Johansen and John Moore each having a goal and three assists. One other player came away with two points: the Springfield-signed Ryan Craig who picked up a goal and assist. Some players that didn’t play in any of the three Springfield preseason games were Cam Atkinson, David Savard and Tim Erixon. As of this writing, we were made aware that Cam suffered a random eye injury, but there was no other bad news as to why Savard nor Erixon didn’t play. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Allen York who is currently nursing a minor injury.

Springfield played a third preseason game on Wednesday but only players signed by Evansville factored in on the lone goal. Next update, I’ll have more on Springfield as the AHL site will have full stats and hopefully Springfield will also be posting game highlights.

Looking to the ECHL, the Evansville IceMen played its first game as a Jackets affiliate, splitting a preseason back-to-back with Fort Wayne, but no Jackets prospects played in either game. As of this writing, the IceMen have two prospects with forward Oliver Gabriel and defenseman Anton Blomqvist being sent down after Springfield’s Saturday win.

As for our NCAA prospects, most only played preseason games against Canadian colleges or the US Under 18 team. Thomas Larkin and Colgate faced off against Queen’s University, with Larkin going scoreless in a 1-0 victory. Martin Ouelette and Maine were the only NCAA team to play a game that counted taking a 2-1 loss against Quinnipiac, although Ouelette did not play. Ouelette did get to play in a exhibition the next night against the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds and starting goaltender Dan LaCosta, a former Blue Jacket. In 30 minutes of action, Martin stopped 14 of 15 earning a no decision. TJ Tynan and Notre Dame faced off against the US U18 team winning 2-1 in a shootout with Tynan going scoreless in regulation, but scoring in the shootout. In Minnesota’s 7-0 win over Lethbridge, both Jackets prospects picked up two points (highlights Reilly#5 Ambroz#17), Mike Reilly had 2 assists including one on Seth Ambroz’s goal. Seth Ambroz had a goal and an assist. Ambroz’s goal was how I’m guessing most of his goals will be this season with the big guy camped out in front tapping in a rebound.

Quickly, lets go over the Jackets CHL prospects that didn’t score any points last week. Ryan Murray and the Silvertips went 0-3 last week with Ryan having no points and being a -2. Daniel Zaar had his season-opening point streak snapped as he went scoreless in the Rogle BK’s 1-0-0-1 weekend. Zaar got some good news today as my Rogle source, Jonas Lindeblad, told me: Zaar (interview with Daniel) will make his Elitserien debut playing on a line with Rogle’s top two scorers against Brynas IF on Tuesday.


Oscar Dansk-Erie Otters(OHL)
Season Stats 6GP 2-3-0-1 .888Sv% 4.18GAA
Oscar went 1-0-0-1 last week and I was in attendance for the win this past Friday. It was the Otter’s home opener and Oscar didn’t disappoint – stopping 34 of 35 with the only goal being early in the third period on a shot from the slot. Oscar was solid except for a few “ahh don’t do that” moments when he played the puck with one misplay leading to a power play for Brampton. The next night, the London Knights came to town with the Otters keeping it close losing 4-3 in a shootout. Oscar made 19 saves in regulation play and went on to stop eight of nine in the shootout.

Boone Jenner-Oshawa Generals(OHL)
Season Stats 6GP 7-8-15 +15 6PIM
Boone and the Generals had a short week last week only playing one game but Boone still decided to put on a show by adding three assists in the Generals 6-4 win over Kingston. Jenner’s first assist was a beauty as he waited for the Fronts goalie to commit to him before he passed in front to Michael Dal Colle. The second and third ones weren’t as pretty, but hey, they can’t all be beautiful. Though highlight videos didn’t show the entire play develop, for the second assist, I’m guessing Boone won a faceoff and sent the puck out to the point so Cole Cassels and Scott Laughton could do some nifty passing before Laughton could blast it. On the third one, Boone started the rush – getting it to Lucas Lessio who shot it before Brian Hughes could tip it into the wide open net.

Josh Anderson-London Knights(OHL)
Season Stats 6GP 1-4-5 +3 4PIM
Josh and the Knights went 2-0 last week beating Windsor 8-2 (the Knights 3rd 8-2 victory of the season) and the aforementioned defeat of Erie in a shootout. In the Knights’ win, Josh had his second multi-point game of the season scoring a goal and two assists (#77). Josh opened the scoring with a nasty wrist shot just over the Windsor goalie’s shoulder after a taking a pass from Max Domi. For the assists, Josh started the rush into Windsor’s end before passing it to Brett Welychka who then tapped it over to Domi to finish it. Josh’s second assist came on the power play when he passed it over to Bo Horvat who let loose a shot that a Rupert twin tipped in after a rebound.

Gianluca Curcuruto-Plymouth Whalers(OHL)
Season Stats 5GP 1-4-5 +2 4PIM
Gianluca and the Whalers went 1-1 last week with Gianluca scoring his first goal with the Whalers. In the Whalers 5-4 loss to Guelph, Plymouth was up 2-1 going into the third but ended up losing 5-4 after allowing the Storm to score four in the third period including the winner with five seconds left. Gianluca would open the scoring with a blast from the point (start of the video) on the power play. In the Whalers’ win over Niagara, Gianluca would be held scoreless but was +1. On the weekend, Gianluca had the one goal and was even on the weekend.

Lukas Sedlak-Chicoutimi Sagueneens(QMJHL)
Season Stats 8GP 3-2-5 +2 6PIM, 65% on faceoffs
Lukas helped the Sags go 1-2 last week, his only point came from an assist in the loss to Quebec. While not scoring much last week, Lukas showed he might have learned some tricks from Michael Chaput. In the three games, Lukas won 53 of 83 draws or 64%. Sedlak currently leads the Q in faceoff wins winning 145 of 224 or 65%. As I’ve said before, I think its dumb that the Q does it by wins and not winning percentage.

Anton Forsberg-Sodertalje SK(HockeyAllsvenskan)
Season Stats 6GP 2-0-4 .921Sv% 2.50GAA
SSK started the week off with a game against Karlskrona. Anton made 23 saves in the win and added an assist on Jesper Thornburg’s first of two goals. It was first reported that Anton had two assists, but the final score sheet gave him only one. The team’s next game was against Asploven HC. Sodertalje led most of the game with Asploven tying it with 30 seconds left which led to a 4-3 loss in a shootout. Forsberg made 23 saves in the loss, stopping three of four in the shootout.

Joonas Korpisalo-Kiekko-Vantaa(Mestis-Finland)
Season Stats 5GP 2-2-1 .902Sv% 2.77GAA
Korpisalo spent the whole week with the Fish, but the team went 0-2-1 with Korpisalo taking a loss and an overtime loss. Starting the week against Vaasan Sport, the game went to overtime with Sport winning it with only 45 seconds left. Korpisalo would make 28 saves in the loss. In the team’s next game against Jokipojat, Korpisalo stopped 22 of 25 with Jokipojat adding a empty net goal in the 4-2 victory. Korpisalo would get the night off against SaPKo – another KV loss.

There you have it folks. I’ll be posting my NCAA preview later this week before the season really gets going on Friday. See you next week  for the next prospect review.

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September CBJ Prospect Review

Posted by CBJProspects on October 02, 2012
Prospects, Uncategorized / No Comments

Well folks, I’m back for another season of weekly reports on the Jackets’ prospects. It feels like I’m getting off to a late start but the cancellation of the Traverse City Rookie Tournament leads to that feeling. Lockout or not, the team’s prospects have been playing since mid-September – it’s only the CHL and European based prospects that have been playing but that will change with the Falcons having preseason games this week and the NCAA prospects playing preseason games against Canadian colleges.  So without further ado, let’s get this season started.

Oscar Dansk-Erie Otters (OHL)
Season Stats 4GP 1-3 5.47GAA .873SV%
Looking at Oscar’s numbers probably led most you to make some snarky comment about him; well, let me say a few things. Oscar is playing on a young Erie team that only won 10 games last year and Oscar’s three losses were against three of the OHL’s Conference Semi-Finalists from last season. Oscar’s OHL Debut came against Niagara IceDogs who lost in the conference final last season and are one of the many teams quietly thanking the NHL for the lockout. They now have the services of Islander’s top prospect Ryan Strome and Bruins top prospect Dougie Hamilton, both who would more than likely be in the NHL. In the 4-2 IceDogs victory, Oscar made 26 saves on 30 shots. Of the four goals, Dansk had a chance on three of them but was screened (by his own teammate) on the fourth one. The next night, it was off to London to face the OHL Champs and well…yeah it was ugly. Oscar was pulled after the second period and allowing seven goals on 39 shots. Moving on, in their five game season opening road trip (due to Arena Renovations) it was off to Peterborough to play the Petes. This game ended up being Oscar’s first OHL win with him making 47 saves in the 5-1 victory with the only goal coming on a cross rink pass that Oscar couldn’t get across to in time. After a night off against Kingston, a 6-5 OT loss for the Otters, it was off to Ottawa to play the 67’s.  It was another ugly one with the Otters losing 8-1 including a natural first period hat trick. In the 8-1 loss, Oscar faced 41 shots making 33 saves. As for next week, the Otters will finally play a home game in which yours truly will be reporting live as Oscar faces off against fellow Jackets prospect Josh Anderson and the rest of the Knights the next night.

Continue reading…

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