Well that was a game, wasn’t it? It had a little bit of everything and by everything I mean every possible way to score happened: short-handed goal, power play goal, penalty shot, shootout, regulation goal…and then you add in one almost line brawl and a quite a few scuffles, 55 hits between two teams and a first period that pretty much had your head spinning and you have one enjoyable night of hockey (did I mention the Jackets now have 6 wins in a row?). The Jackets were able to hammer out a win against the team that eliminated them from last year’s playoffs and ensured that this season’s record against PIT will include at least one regular season win. BUT for the third time in a row, the Jackets beat a conference opponent WHILE giving them a point. That certainly makes a climb to a playoff spot that much more difficult and the push and pull between what this team can do and what if they get a top pick in the draft continues. Ah the drama. Let’s look at the three stars from last night’s game as named by NHL.com:
Oh hey there, CBJ! Four wins in a row, undefeated in December and a rallying first team goal for a waiver pickup that just turns out to be a game winner (nice work Kevin Connauton). The team still isn’t where they want – or need – to be, and unfortunately this win came at the cost of giving an in-division opponent a point as well (preventing what Jackets faithful would at least be a tie in the standings after tonight). But here we are, winning feels better than losing and a nice little rivalry continues to brew. Let’s take a look at the three stars as decided by NHL.com:
Well hey, that was fun! The Jackets broke the recent losing skid by beating the
return of Derek MacKenzie’s team Florida Panthers 2-1. After the game last night, some were saying that the game wasn’t “exciting” or “good hockey” but I, for one, was very encouraged to see some spirited play from the team and a rather consistent effort, even if it didn’t always show statistically. As they say, points are points no matter how you get them. The two newest players back in the room, Kerby Rychel and Michael Chaput, showed up and did exactly what called up players are supposed to do – give the team a jump and help propel the team to a win. Possession wise, it was a weird game. At even strength the Panthers had the Corsi advantage of 57% for the game, but the Jackets won the final frame, at 53.85% Corsi for which was enough to keep the Panthers from sneaking in a tying (or heaven forbid) game winning goal. (An interesting note, is that the Jackets HANDILY won the first period Fenwick battle at 62.50% – 20 blocked shots for the CBJ on the night) Let’s take a look at the three stars as named by NHL.com.
Well. The Jackets fell 5-0 at home on Black Friday to the Vancouver Canucks. It was a weird game. If you’re a possession stat person, the Jackets played well and competitively on paper. Take a look at this shot chart:
If you compare this to recent Jacket games, it’s the best the CBJ have done in hanging with an opponent and staying equal or better in offensive output – especially through the first two periods. But as Nick Foligno said in post-game interviews, the team doesn’t seem to have the confidence to survive getting scored against, and the goals against rained down in the third.
Let’s take a look at the three stars courtesy of NHL.com:
HOW BOUT THEM JACKETS? Well my friends, the streak…it is over. The Jackets went to Philly today, and left with Scott Hartnell’s pride in tact. What an effort from the Jackets. Have we seen a more complete, full-60 game from this team, regardless of roster, this season? The Jackets went into Philly and took away a much needed 2 points as well as a good ego boost as the team now looks to the second half of a back to back tomorrow night versus San Jose. Let’s get a look at who the NHL named the three stars…hot tip, I’m going to disagree…
Well. What really can be said. The Blue Jackets are fielding a patched together roster of NHL players, hopefuls and wannabe’s and each group is being asked to play perhaps a bit more than it’s used to…so you end up with what we saw. Lackluster results, turnovers, miscommunication and errant passing and a loss. You gotta feel for these guys, but the NHL schedule doesn’t care what’s going on in your locker room or on your roster – play continues. So onward we go. Let’s look at the three stars as designated by the NHL:
Two thirds of the way through this game my mind was full of hockey thoughts…I had things all worked out in my head – yay Ryan Murray (please don’t get hurt), look at the team battling with 7 D and 11 F (please don’t get hurt), hey Letestu nice goal – we might do this (please don’t get hurt). And then Nick Foligno was injured in a freak accident where, while battling for the puck with Jeff Carter, his head collided with the hind shank of the linesman. After lying motionless on the ice, Foligno was stretchered off and was seen waving to the crowd. Later it was a relief to hear that per the Blue Jackets twitter, and via Jeff Rimer relating an update from President of Hockey Operations, John Davidson, that Foligno was not taken to a hospital and was having x-rays at the Staples Center. JD said that Foligno will be fine.
We’ll get to the three stars in a second but let’s make a few things clear first. (1) The injury to Foligno was not. Jeff. Carter’s. Fault. I’m a lot more ticked off he scored a goal against the Jackets then for what he did on that play. (2) Look at the linesman – his position (completely coincidental) is what causes the injury (3) We do not know if/when word of Foligno’s health update got to the team on the bench…and / or if it ever got to Bob who sits in net (obviously). Nick is a beloved member of this team – you have to believe seeing your teammate go down like that surely will rattle you. Before that injury, I was really invested on the outcome of the game, after the injury – honestly – not so much. Did it impact the team? Look at that long flatline in the third…and the impact on shooting rate after. You have to believe it did.
There’s always an end to the honeymoon. For the Jackets, that night was tonight. Coming off a franchise best 2-0-0 start to the season, with the much ballyhooed Stars coming in with no wins and no goals for Benn nor Seguin. So, now ask yourself if your as surprised by what happened. The Stars came in H-O-T and for one period dominated (end of first period had the Stars with an even strength 64.29% FF vs a measly 35.71% for the CBJ). That one period was enough of an edge that the Jackets just couldn’t crawl back, even after a fairly even outing by both teams for the balance of the game.
So let’s look at who the NHL named the three stars of the night. And see if we agree.
Well friends, it’s hockey season. Welcome back to the crazy 82 game ride. Luckily, the Jackets started on an up note. Buffalo, a team that finished in last place last season, wasn’t exactly an intimidating opponent and arguably a welcome first opponent for a very different looking Jackets roster than a lot of fans expected. Nonetheless, the team suited up, with newly returned Ryan Johansen and three rookies suited up to beat the Sabres 3-1.
If you’ve not been with the Union Blue for these recaps in the past, a quick primer. Every game we look at the three stars as named on NHL.com and let you know if we agree or disagree. We then name one “stud” and one “dud” from the game and wrap it all up with a glorious piece of art from the famous @RockmanHalo. So let’s get to it…
It starts tonight. For the Jackets they are one of 30 teams, playing 82 games each. Fighting to play for what really matters…the Stanley Cup. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The off-season has been one big storyline of a number one center and his (lack of) contract, followed by a training camp that was a variation of “bet you didn’t see THAT coming”. The lineup is currently one that no one could have predicted and more changes are sure to come – not only those due to players fans will love to welcome back but also due to trades, players not performing, or (gasp!) another injury. There are nerves, and there are question marks. People are already wondering when contracts will be signed for players due to be free agents after the season.
But for now – just for now – remember the anticipation.
Today, Jackets fans are filled with hope. Nothing has been lost, nothing has been gained. Today – it’s truly possible that by the end of this season anything could happen. So for now, remember how much you desperately waited for NHL hockey to return. How you clamored for updates on the team or on your favorite player…remember when the weather turned, just about a week or so ago, and that cool crisp bite re-entered the air, signaling that it’s time to return to the rink.
No one knows what this season will bring, but it’s sure to bring concern, celebration, questioning, frustration and times when you can’t believe what’s happening. So for now, as the first puck prepares to drop on the Blue Jackets season, remember right now. Because right now you know all the reasons that you love hockey so much. It’s just might take a few months and 82 (or more!) games to remind you of that again.
Carry the Flag – Go Jackets.