Three Stars: CBJ @ NYI

Posted by The Coach on April 12, 2015
Columbus Blue Jackets / No Comments

Today is bittersweet. Bitter, because the Blue Jackets season has come to an end. Sweet, because this injury-riddled nightmare of a Blue Jackets season has come to an end. They did it in typical fashion (as of late) by coming back to beat the playoff bound New York Islanders 5-4 in overtime Saturday night in the final game ever at Nassau Coliseum. Curtis McElhinney got the start, making 48 saves in regulation and overtime, and three more times in the shootout. Cam Atkinson, Brandon Dubinsky, Alexander Wennberg, and Scott Hartnell scored for the Blue Jackets, while Wennberg and Atkinson scored the markers in the shootout to bring home the win.

3rd Star: Brandon Dubinsky

Dubi is the best. Just the best.

It’s one thing for Dubinsky to play the way he does. He has no elite skills, nor anything you would probably describe as above average. He just has great hockey sense, works harder than pretty much everyone, and always makes the right play. That would be enough for me to love the guy, but he’s also tough as a sack of nails. Loses four teeth (making ten lost for his career), comes back, scores, and fights. Just the best.

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Three Stars: CBJ @ NYR

Posted by The Coach on April 07, 2015
Columbus Blue Jackets, Game Discussion / No Comments

The streak is dead, long live the streak. After setting the franchise record with nine consecutive wins, the Jackets fell 4-3 in overtime to the Rangers under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden tonight. Down 2-1 in the second period, goals from Marko Dano late in the period and Brandon Dubinsky near the midpoint of the third had the Jackets looking like they would bring that streak into double digits. Alas, it was not to be, as Derek Stepan tied the game up with 27.5 seconds left, before icing it in overtime. The Jackets streak now sits at an uber-exciting OT 1.

3rd Star: Chris Kreider

2nd Star: Henrik Lundqvist

1st Star: Derek Stepan

Really New York media person who picked the stars? All three of them? I get Stepan. Dude scored the game tying and winning goals, picked up an assist earlier, and threw six pucks on net. That has first star written all over it. I can even buy Lundvist. He didn’t have great numbers in this game (gave up three goals, made 29 saves, for a .906 save percentage), but he absolutely kept the Rangers in it during a few stretches where the Jackets had some excellent sustained pressure. But then they added in Kreider. Who was perfectly fine. But no way in hell should all three stars go to the Rangers when the Jackets were under 30 seconds from a win in regulation. No way when Sergei Bobrovsky drops 38 saves, including a number of highlight worthy efforts. I get that there wasn’t another Jacket that was probably worthy of a star based on their boxcar numbers, but Bob was so much better in this game than Kreider it’s crazy.

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Three Stars: CBJ vs. NYI

Posted by The Coach on April 03, 2015
Columbus Blue Jackets / No Comments

The Jackets pulled off a thrilling comeback 4-3 shootout victory over the visiting New York Islanders tonight. Sergei Bobrovsky was shakier than usual, and the Jackets came out slow in all three periods, but a furious final frame and overtime helped them over come it. Down 3-1 in the third, Jack Johnson and Ryan Johansen scored to send the game to extra time. A questionable late delay of game penalty led an Islanders penalty to close out regulation. The Jackets managed to get a man advantage opportunity in overtime, but were unable to cash in. Mark Letestu and Johansen scored in the shootout, and Bobrovksy made two stops as the Jackets won their franchise record 8th straight game. It’s been a fun ride the last month, unfortunately it’s too little too late. On to the stars.

3rd Star: Brandon Dubinsky

So glad to have Dubinsky back in my life. I just love watching him play. If you just watch Dubinsky during a shift, you will see a guy always in the right spot, always moving to where he should be, always making the proper play. He’s like the reverse-Jack Johnson. Dubinsky tipped in a Dalton Prout shot in the first period to tie the game at 1, and played 19:55 of his usual solid play, even drawing the overtime powerplay.
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Three Stars: CBJ @ CHI

Posted by The Coach on March 28, 2015
Columbus Blue Jackets, Stars of the Night / No Comments

One of the most exciting first periods of the Jackets season led to a far less exciting (and bordering on uneventful) remainder of the game, and a 5-2 Jackets win over the Blackhawks in Chicago last night. During the first, the Jackets and Hawks combined for six goals (only an empty netter coming later), and 28 shots (of 60 total for the game). There were as many goals in the first period as there were noteworthy shots on goaltenders in the third (per the NHL’s little dashes on GameCenterLive). Anyway, despite the semi-lopsided looking score, the Blackhawks outshot the Jackets 33-27, and outshot-attempted them 58-39. This was primarily the result of a 5-1 powerplay advantage for the Hawks, but the Jackets’ much maligned penalty kill held strong. Sergei Bobrovsky was his usual wonderful self in making 31 saves in the win.

3rd Star: Johnny Oduya

He had two assists. Okay.
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Three Stars: CBJ @ CGY

Posted by The Coach on March 21, 2015
Columbus Blue Jackets / No Comments

Sergei Borovsky made 38 saves, and Rene Bourque scored twice against his former team to help the Blue Jackets take down the Flames 3-2 in overtime on Saturday afternoon. The Jackets were thoroughly outplayed for most of the game, getting outshot 40-26, and outshot-attempted 73-52. The Jackets welcomed Boone Jenner and Jeremy Morin back to the lineup from injury, although both were a little rusty and fairly quiet. Bobrovsky kept the game close until Artem Anisimov put together a fantastic effort to force a turnover by ex-Jacket Kris Russell, pick up the puck, and score a spinning, backhand goal to send the game to overtime. Bourque put the game away with his second goal of the game as the Jackets extended their winning streak to three games.

3rd Star: Sergei Bobrovsky

Really, what more can you say about Bobrovsky on the game-by-game level. His only negative in the macro is injuries. When healthy, he gives the Jackets a chance to win every game, whether they deserve it or not. Bob was the only reason they were still in this game after the second period. He was outstanding, is pretty much always outstanding, and is totally worth his contract extension. Look, you can find goalies, and Bob is the example of it. But the reason you can find goalies is the difficulty in evaluating them. That also makes it difficult to find a goalie who gives you a legitimate chance to win. Bob isn’t Steve Mason, who basically had a hot fifteen games his rookie year, followed by league average player (and worse after his rookie year). When you find a guy who will keep you in the game (basically) every time he players, and that guy is young enough to do this for the next half-decade, you lock him down. Think the Rangers have any regrets about keeping Henrik Lunqvist at a big cap figure? He was a 6th round pick, and the same kind of find that Bob was for the Jackets. The Rangers have been in contention for at least the playoffs every year he’s been healthy. Bob provides the same thing for the Jackets.

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture – CBJ @ EDM

Posted by The Coach on March 19, 2015
Columbus Blue Jackets / No Comments

The Blue Jackets took down the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in a shootout in the wee hours of the morning. Well maybe not the wee hours. I might just be getting old. Also, I’ve used “wee” in three consecutive sentences now. Clearly I am tired and punchy. Anyway, the Jackets and Oilers at least put on an entertaining show, combining for 67 shots (47-20 in favor of Edmonton), a few highlight reel goals in regulation, and nice shootout markers from Ryan Johansen and Alexander Wennberg to finish it off.

3rd Star: Ryan Nugent Hopkins

Sure. Scored his 20th of the season, marking the first time he’s done that. Good on the kid. He still looks like a stick in skates out there though.
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Three Stars and Game in One Picture CBJ vs. WSH

Posted by The Coach on March 03, 2015
Columbus Blue Jackets / 1 Comment

I am clearly still reeling from the trade deadline. I should have greatly enjoyed this game. It was an old time hockey game, with a lot of hitting and fighting, and was a close game that was in doubt up until the end. I’ll get to my thoughts in the Stud and Dud sections, but needless to say I wasn’t a fan of the Jackets moves over the last few days. I like the Cam Atkinson extension, as it’s a fair price for a 2nd/3rd line tweener, although the Jackets now have quite of few of those type players signed for decent money. Anyway, back to the game. The Jackets fell 5-3 to the Capitals, after battling back from multiple two goal deficits to keep it within one goal up to the Caps empty netter with nine seconds left. The game featured fisticuffs from new Jackets Justin Falk and David Clarkson (sort of), as well as Cody GoloubefJared Boll and Dalton Prout. Also worth noting was the return of Sergei Bobrovsky, who was solid, stopping 28 of the 32 shots he faced.

3rd Star: Niklas Backstrom

Backstrom is really good. He’s played his whole career next to the lightning rod that is Alex Ovechkin, so he’s constantly overlooked. He gets called underrated enough that he’s probably properly rated at this point, but even watching him he is easy to pass by. He is so good without the puck, and his best skill with the puck is his passing. He’s the kind of guy every player wants to play with. Does all the things away from the puck but with it is always willing to make his linemates look good. His all-around play really opens things up for Ovechkin.

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ PIT

Posted by The Coach on March 01, 2015
Columbus Blue Jackets / No Comments

A relatively even 1st period led to a terrible 2nd period, which allowed for the Pittsburgh Penguins to take down the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3 tonight. After getting on the board first late in the 1st, the Jackets gave up a quick tying goal, followed by three Pens goals in the 2nd, and another early in the 3rd. That Jackets managed to score a couple more goals in the third to make it look respectable, but the Pens doubled up the Jackets in shots after the 1st period, and took them 41-25 for the game, were crushed in everything possession-wise at even strength, and the Penguin powerplay went 3 for 6. Tough night.

3rd Star: Daniel Winnik

He’s a guy I’ve always liked and have thought is perennially underrated. He was available this offseason and could have just been signed for pretty cheap. He lasted until late July when Toronto picked him up for a song. After their relatively crappy year, they were able to recoup 2nd and 4th round picks for him. Pretty good move. Would love to see him in a Jackets uniform next season.
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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ vs. MTL

Posted by The Coach on February 27, 2015
Columbus Blue Jackets / No Comments

The Jackets dropped a 5-2 decision to Montreal, although that maybe wasn’t even the biggest Jackets related news of the day. Shortly before puck drop they announced they had dealt Nathan Horton‘s back to the Toronto Maple Leafs for David “Wendel” Clarkson. I’ll address that trade a bit later. As for the game, the Jackets took on the powerhouse Canadiens, and it didn’t go super awesome. After falling behind quickly, the Jackets evened it up just as quickly, before falling behind again almost as quickly. That third goal was one of the rare NHL goals that are almost entirely on the goaltender. After a brutal turnover by Curtis McElhinney, he then struggled to get set for the shot, and then let the puck go right through him. Not great. The game was never really in doubt after that, until a brief period after Marko Dano made it a two goal game but before the Canadiens iced it with an empty netter.

3rd Star: Marko Dano

I was all prepared to write about Dano bailing out on the first Montreal goal (gotta get in that shooting lane, no excuses there), and compare it to Brandon Dubinsky going hard to the net, scoring, and getting hurt. Was going to be something about about the difference between needing to win and wanting to win. Well then Dano plays the rest of the game like his pants are on fire, scores the second goal to get them back in the game, and even had a play he didn’t score on that was quite similar to Dubi’s play earlier. So now I don’t know what to think. No excuse for his work on the Subban goal, so I guess kudos to either himself for getting his ass in gear, or whatever coach kicked his ass in gear.

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ vs LAK

Posted by The Coach on February 09, 2015
Columbus Blue Jackets / No Comments

If you only saw the opening and closing of the Jackets 4-3 loss to the Kings tonight, you might think they played a pretty good game. You’d be wrong. Despite a strong opening couple minutes, halfway through the third period this looked like one of the Jackets worst games of the season. Fortunately they picked it up, David Savard scored late, and they made an exciting game of it by the end. But man were those middle 48 minutes atrocious. Just embarassingly terrible. They were clearly not in the game tonight. They twice gave up a goal immediately after scoring one themselves. This isn’t a loss to be blamed on injuries, like many this year. This game was about one team clearly outworking the other. The scoreboard may look close, but the 44-26 shot differential tells a clearer tale, especially when you consider the Jackets picked up the final four shots of the game, and outshot the Kings 12-8 over the final ten minutes (in other words the shots were 36-14 with 10 minutes left).

3rd Star: Scott Hartnell

Many congratulations to Hartnell on his 1000th career game, and his goal was a beauty.

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