The following articles were authored by CBJProspects

Falcons Season Review/Playoff Preview

The Falcons closed the regular season with two road games – both of which they lost. Fortunately, the team already clinched the Northeast Division so I’m guessing this weekend was “don’t get hurt and let’s try and figure out the roster”.

Starting on Friday, the Falcons fell to Hartford by a score of 2-1 with ex Jacket David LeNeveu picking up the win. In the loss, Carter Camper scored the Falcons goal and Mike McKenna made 18 saves. In the season finale against Albany, it was ugly with a capital ugh as the Devils rolled out to a 4-0 lead including a goal seven seconds into the game. The scoring barrage ended Mike McKenna’s night early in the second when he turned things over to Anton Forsberg. The Falcons finally scored in the third period when Tim Erixon fired a shot from the point that bounced off the backwall right to Jake Hansen who scored. Less than three minutes later the Falcons scored again when Marko Dano skated in and fired a backhand that the Devils goalie would stop but the rebound going right to Darryl Boyce in the slot to make it 4-2. The Devils added an empty net to make it 5-2, Mike McKenna stopped nine of 13 and took the loss while Anton Forsberg stopped all 10 shots he faced.

Continue reading Falcons Season Review/Playoff Preview

CHL Playoff 2nd Round Recap

Hello all – time to recap how our CHL prospects did last round. Overall we had five prospects playing in the conference semifinals with three moving on which will provide another prospect matchup in the OHL Western Conference Final.

Oscar Dansk didn’t play in any game of the Otters four game sweep of Sault Ste. Marie and, unless Devin Williams falters, I didn’t see Oscar making an appearance in the Western Conference Finals against Guelph (Editor’s note: Oscar did start the game last night with not so great results – we’ll have more on that in our next update)

Kerby Rychel-Guelph Storm (OHL Western Conference)-Won Series 4-1
Round Stats 5GP 1-5-6 +4 2PIM
Playoff Stats 10GP 2-11-13 +7 8PIM
Kerby and the Storm faced off against the London Knights and picked up a 4-1 series win. In game one Kerby put the icing on the cake of a 6-4 win when he scored an empty net goal with only 10 seconds remaining. The goal came when London’s mammoth Russian Nikita Zadorov played the puck and cleared it…right to Storm forward Jason Dickinson who skated in drawing the attention of two Knights. This allowed him to find a wide open Kerby who scored for his second of the playoffs. Kerby was held scoreless in game two – a 7-2 Storm loss. The Storm is 1-2 in the playoffs when Kerby is held off the scoresheet.

Continue reading CHL Playoff 2nd Round Recap

March 31st-April 13 AHL/European Prospect Review

Greetings all! Back again with the week in review for the Blue Jackets prospects, ok two weeks but the CBJ were so busy last week and it would have been a light update from me so my superiors said I could take some time off.

Starting off in Springfield, two weeks ago the AHL decided to make it “lets screw with the Falcons normal routine” week as the team opened with an 11AM game followed by a trip into THE FUTURE… or St John’s Newfoundland where it’s an hour and a half ahead of Eastern Standard Time. We begin in Bridgeport, CT for a game against the Sound Tigers. Anton Forsberg made his North American debut in net. In the first, the Tigers’ goalie tried to play the puck but he fired it right into Dana Tyrell who found Jake Hansen who beat Poulin back to the crease to make it 1-0. Three minutes later, Marko Dano struck for his first North American goal when he took a pass from Cody Goloubef and snapped off a shot to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead. Late in the third, the Sound Tigers spoiled Anton’s shutout bid before Cody Bass scored an empty netter. In the 3-1 win Anton Forsberg made 25 saves and was named second star with Dano being named first star.

Continue reading March 31st-April 13 AHL/European Prospect Review

CHL Playoff 1st Round Recap

Hello all! With the CHL playoffs second round getting under way this weekend it’s time to recap how our eight CHL prospects did in the first round.

Oscar Dansk-Erie Otters (OHL Western Conference)-Won Series 4-1
Series Stats 1GP 0-0 .800Sv% 6.56GAA
Oscar and the Otters opened the playoffs against the Saginaw Spirit in a 3-6 matchup. Otters coach Kris Knoblauch decided to go with backup (1B?) Devin Williams who is a native of Saginaw but you hope a coach wouldn’t start the local boy for that reason only in the playoffs. Luckily, the move worked. The Otters got off to a 2-0 lead before letting Oscar start game three. Oscar got that start and, well, it wasn’t his best night. He was pulled for the third time in four games after allowing five goals on 25 shots. Williams entered the game but unlike the other times, the Otters couldn’t come back and lost game three 7-6 in overtime. Here are coach Knoblauch’s postgame comments on Oscar along with a quick comment from Oscar on his recent struggles. The Otters won games four and five and advanced to face the West Division champs – the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. These teams have met twice in the regular season with Erie winning 3-0 with Williams in net and then getting blown out later in the season.

Kerby Rychel-Guelph Storm (OHL Western Conference)-Won Series 4-1
Series Stats 5GP 1-6-7 +3 6PIM
Kerby and the Storm faced off against the Plymouth Whalers and fellow CBJ prospect Gianluca Curcuruto in the 1-8 matchup. Kerby didn’t earn any points in the game one win but collected his first career playoff multi-point game in game two – a 3-0 victory. In the first, Kerby took a pass from Zack Mitchell to start a bang bang passing play with Matt Finn finishing the play. Kerby’s second point was an odd one as a Guelph player kept the puck in, Kerby stopped it allowing Nick Ebert to pick it up and fire a shot that went off a Whalers skate to make it 2-0. After being held scoreless in a game three loss, Kerby got back on the scoresheet in game four. In the second, Kerby  started a rush up ice getting the puck to Justin Auger with Auger finishing it in a 7-2 win. Game five was a big one for Kerby – he pretty much put the team on his back and collected four points in a 8-3 win. Kerby’s first point came late in the first. It’s hard to tell if he was trying to do the between the leg shot or a pass but whatever it was, he got the puck to Ebert who banged a shot past the Whalers goalie. Kerby’s three point third period started when after a board battle the puck went to Kerby who tapped it to Zac Leslie. Leslie passed it back to Kerby who unleashed a howitzer to make it 5-2. 1:31 later, Kerby worked a give and go with Ryan Horvat that Horvat finished. Later in the third Kerby curled to the point and made a pass to Scott Kosmachuk who seny a crosscrease pass to Nick Ebert whose slapshot made it 8-3. Up next for the Storm is a matchup with the London Knights. The teams met six times in the regular season splitting the series.

Continue reading CHL Playoff 1st Round Recap

March 24-30 AHL/NCAA/European CBJ Prospect Week in Review

Hello all – our updates are becoming a bit shorter with prospects wrapping up their seasons so let’s take a look at the players still in action in the past week.

Starting off in Springfield as we usually do, the Falcons picked up a 3-0 win with Jeremy Smith picking up his first shutout of the season. Andrew Joudrey opened the scoring when Ryan Craig rimmed the puck around the boards to Carter Camper who found Joudrey in front to shoot it past Cal Heeter. In the second period off a scramble in front, Ryan Craig made it 2-0 when Dana Tyrell drove to the net with Andrew Joudrey getting the puck, shooting, and the rebound going to Craig. Late in the third period, Jake Hansen scored his ninth of the season when Lukas Sedlak shot the puck. Heeter stopped it but Hansen knocked in the rebound. In the 3-0 victory Jeremy Smith made 28 saves in the win.

Saturday night the Birds were off to Hartford for a game against the Wolfpack. It was a big game as Jackets 2013 first round pick Marko Dano made his North American debut on a line with Michael Chaput and Jean Francois Jacques. The Falcons took the lead when Darryl Boyce scored 6:29 into the first. The Falcons added two more goals in the second period when Jacques and Boyce scored 20 seconds apart to make it 3-0. Halfway through the third, the Pack got on the scoreboard when Darroll Powe scored. 37 seconds later Carter Camper notched his first goal with the Falcons (and 12 points in 11 games). Just under a minute later, the Falcons struck again when Jean-Francois Jacques scored his second of the game. To finish out the scoring, Marko Dano picked up his first North American point when he battled Tommy Hughes for a puck, knocked him over, and got a shot off with Cody Bass picking up the rebound to make it 6-1 (video from Marko’s facebook page). In the 6-1 win Jeremy Smith made 26 saves. Also worth noting, Springfield fan @Katyloveshockey tweeted that on Marko’s first shift he laid a hit on Wolfpack defenseman/Rangers first round pick Dylan McIlrath giving up six inches and almost 50 pounds.

Continue reading March 24-30 AHL/NCAA/European CBJ Prospect Week in Review

2014 State of the Blue Jackets Prospect Pool

Welcome CBJ fans to my annual look at the Blue Jackets prospects pool. The Hockey News Future Watch issue has come out and in the team rankings the CBJ are the highest riser going from a B grade which had them 17th to an A- moving them all the way to second behind the Anaheim Ducks. There’s a whole handicapping thing to go with the grading but I’m not going to bore you with that, I’m guessing the rise is due to the team having and using all three first round picks in the draft along with some prospects improving along with a big time sleeper pick.

Rank20132014
1Ryan MurrayAlexander Wennberg (9)
2Boone JennerTim Erixon (44)
3Tim ErixonOscar Dansk (46)
4Oscar DanskKerby Rychel (52)
5Cam AtkinsonOliver Bjorkstrand
6Matt CalvertMarko Dano
7David SavardJosh Anderson
8Michael ChaputMichael Chaput
9Joonas KorpisaloDillon Heatherington
10Mike ReillyMike Reilly

Continue reading 2014 State of the Blue Jackets Prospect Pool

March 17-23 AHL Week in Review/NCAA & European Playoff Review

Starting off in Springfield, this week, the Falcons traveled to Worchester for a game with the baby Sharks. Andrew Joudrey opened the scoring with his 11th goal of the season 3:27 into the first. He tipped in a Carter Camper pass to make it 1-0. The Falcons allowed two second period goals before Dana Tyrell struck 22 seconds into the third period to tie it when he gathered a loose puck and snapped a shot past the Sharks goalie. Four minutes later, the Falcons scored on kind of a goofy play when Cody Goloubef passed to Michael Chaput who couldn’t corral the puck but Sean Collins did. He then passed to Jean Francois Jacques who sent a cross-crease pass to Matt Taormina who made it 3-1. Later in the period, Sean Collins scored when he got the puck from a board battle before making it 4-2 on his 13th goal of the season. Mike McKenna made 30 saves in the win for his 20th of the season.

Up next was a big one as the Falcons faced off against the Manchester Monarchs in a battle of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. In the second period, with the Falcons trailing 1-0, Denny Urban sent a shot through a screen to make it 1-1. Late in the third, with the Falcons trailing 4-1, Andrew Joudrey won a faceoff and Dana Tyrell drove to the net to score his 13th of the season. Mike McKenna made 18 saves in the 4-2 loss with the team allowing an empty net goal.

To close out the weekend, the Falcons welcomed the St. John’s IceCaps. It was a wild one, with the Caps taking a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. But then early in the second period, Patrick McNeill scored his first goal of the game to make it 3-1. 1:10 later St. John’s struck again to make it 4-1. Later in the second Michael Chaput scored his 18th goal of the season to make it 4-2. Early in the third Patrick McNeill potted his second of the game on the power play, and Ryan Craig scored his 15th goal to tie the game at four. Sadly, the Falcons allowed the IceCaps to score with only 1:19 remaining to lose by a score of 5-4. Jeremy Smith made 19 saves in the loss.

Continue reading March 17-23 AHL Week in Review/NCAA & European Playoff Review

CBJ Goalie Depth could be a focus this offseason

Late last week the Jackets announced the signing of 2012 3rd round draft pick Joonas Korpisalo. This is a bit of a surprise as Korpisalo had a up and down season that included missing time with injury. This signing also got the little hamster wheel in my head spinning because the Jackets goalie depth will be an interesting development this summer. I say this because after the top cop in Columbus, the Jackets only have two goalies under contract for next season whose only experience on North American size rinks is in international competition. Those two are Anton Forsberg who could see a game in Springfield before the playoffs and the just signed Korpisalo. Columbus backup Curtis McElhinney and Springfield 20 game winner (so far) Mike McKenna are unrestricted free agents while Jeremy Smith is a restricted free agent.

I and others originally thought Smith would push McKenna and earn an extension to serve as a mentor to either Forsberg or Oscar Dansk who, as of this writing, is still unsigned. I was surprised that Korpisalo was signed before Dansk but Korpisalo’s season ended before Oscar’s. I don’t see McElhinney being brought back and that means the CBJ will be going after a backup either by trade or signing a UFA.

Continue reading CBJ Goalie Depth could be a focus this offseason

March 10-17 AHL Review/CHL Season Review/Playoff Preview

20140319-122653.jpg

Oliver Bjorkstrand

Hello all! Back again with the week in review – with a bit of delay as a team had a game rescheduled due to the Terry Trafford tragedy. Let’s look at how our players finished up the regular season after visiting the baby birds in the AHL.

Starting off in Springfield as we usually do, the Falcons had another light week going 2-0 with both games requiring third period comebacks. On Friday night against Albany, the Falcons opened the scoring when Jean Francois Jacques sent a backhand shot past the Devils goalie after  intercepting  a pass. The Falcons allowed two goals in 2:37 to close out the period, but then 2:56 into the second period, Matt Taormina scored his first with the team when he potted one off the rebound of Ryan Craig‘s shot. Midway through the second well…the Devils would again score two goals again in a little under five minutes to make it 4-2 Devils. The Falcons rallied in the third thankfully when Patrick McNeill opened the scoring on a power play when, after some passing, he fired a shot. It appeared Sean Collins scored but McNeill got credit for his seventh of the season. Five minutes later, Trent Vogelhuber scored his first of the season when he deflected a Denny Urban point shot to tie it at four. A few minutes later the Falcons scored for the third time on the power play (team went 3 for 3 in this game) when Carter Camper got the puck down low and sent a cross crease pass to Jean Francois Jacques who had a wide open net to shoot into for his second of the night. Patrick McNeill picked up his third point of the night sending Michael Chaput and Ryan Craig off on a two on one with Craig finishing it for his 13th of the season. Mike McKenna made 19 saves for his 18th win of the season.

Continue reading March 10-17 AHL Review/CHL Season Review/Playoff Preview

Marko Dano signed to Entry-Level Contract

After Marko tweeted that he had signed with the club last Thursday, it was finally announced today that the signing was official. The Blue Jackets have signed the 19 year old to a three year entry level contract. Dano is the third 2013 draft pick joining Oliver Bjorkstrand (still don’t understand that signing) and Kerby Rychel. Once his immigration paperwork is finalized he will head to Springfield to join the Falcons (if you think he’s heading to Columbus you stop that right now).

After a practice or two, Marko will probably start in the team’s bottom six (that’s the type of minutes he’s used to…sorry) and then hopefully he will move into the team’s top six or top nine as his game is gritty enough to play there. After finishing the regular season in Springfield, he can play in the playoffs no matter when he gets to Springfield as there are no longer clear dates defining when a player needs to be there to be eligible.

This summer Marko will take part in his second CBJ prospect camp and hopefully take part in the Traverse City Prospect Tournament next fall. As for next season, he can play in Springfield despite being 19 until late November since he was drafted from Europe. More than likely he’ll be joining Kerby Rychel and Josh Anderson as rookies next season.