So I haven’t posted a goal breakdown yet this season. Bad job by me. Sorry about that team. Anyway, what better goal to start it off with than Nick Foligno’s beauty on Ben Bishop and the Tampa Bay Lightning. First things first though, some context for the goal: we’re almost five minutes into the second period in a game locked at zeroes. Both goalies are playing well, with Sergei Bobrovsky looking like last season’s Bob, and Ben Bishop looking like he’s looked all year. For those not following along with the Lightning, Bishop is in the top five or so in pretty much every relevant goaltending statistic. With all that happening, this game looked like it could be a ‘first goal wins’ kind of game, which is exactly how it played out. For those who have somehow missed it or just want to watch it again, here is video of the goal: Continue reading Goal Breakdown: Geometry Lessons
A hard fought, but possibly costly win came tonight versus the Tampa Bay Lightning. An ugly first period led way to a very good second period and a mish mash of a third. But more importantly, the Jackets finally do NOT crap the bed on a night when I do the three stars! Whoopee! All is well in Jackets-land, minus all the injuries and inconsistency and all the other things wrong. Anyway, ignore that for now and revel in a shutout victory.
3rd Star: Sergei Bobrovsky
He was good. Very good at times. Let’s be honest, that one save is where this is going. It was a good save. It was also the classic Patrick Roy move where the big arm/wrist movement post save makes it look MUCH better than it actually was. Watching it live, it looked spectacular. On replay, it was clear that Brown did not get the puck up very much and it was a fairly routine glove save. Then there is the bad part of that save. Let’s keep our fingers crossed this is nothing serious, as relying on Curtis McElhinney for more than a dozen games in an entire season is a losing proposition. Continue reading Stars of the Night: CBJ vs. Tampa Bay
U-G-L-Y. Ugly. Ug ug uuuuuuuuuuuuuugly. With that said, I’m going to keep this one short and sour.
Third Star: Marek Mazanec
Wait, his name is Mazanec? And he’s started eight straight games for the Predators? I had NO idea. Wait, I was only told that at least a dozen times over the course of the game. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a goalie’s name more during a broadcast while doing so little. Rimer sounded like a little kid learning a new word for the first time and just saying it over and over until it lost all meaning. Mazanec. As for his actual play, well the Jackets never really tested him, so good for the kid in grabbing the easy shutout.
Continue reading Stars of the Night: CBJ vs. Nashville
The title of this post is misleading, I know that. Unfortunately this post isn’t about making giant piles of snowballs, hiding in snowforts and pelting your friends with the aforementioned nuggets of ice. Instead, it’s about how the accumulation of a lot of little things can lead a team in one direction or another over the course of a game. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, getting bigger and bigger, until there is no stopping it.
Clearly, this is about the crapfest in Edmonton. But here’s the thing about that game: the Jackets didn’t start off playing terribly. The opening part of the game was controlled by the Blue Jackets. If we could measure possession by the actual amount of time the puck was on a team’s stick, I would hazard a guess that Columbus would top Edmonton handily over the first half of the first period. All that possession was in the neutral zone, but still. Continue reading The Snowball Game
Welcome to a new feature here at The Union Blue. After every game someone from the tUB team will be giving their quick hit thoughts on the three stars of the game (per the NHL), as well as one stud or dud of the night not reflected in the stars (which might not necessarily be a player). So feel free to chime in with who impressed you tonight, who disappointed, or who you want to see run out of town. Unfortunately, we picked the worst Jackets game of recent memory to debut this. Lucky me, I had to stay up through this crapfest. So let’s make this one quick, as the stars of tonight’s 7-0 loss to the Oilers are:
3rd Star: Ryan Smyth
Always loved Smyth. The wood stick, the brutal skating, it’s like watching my old man play. And yet he somehow dropped three points on the Jackets. Good hustle boys.
The refs and league actually nailed every aspect of the two hits from Sunday nights game. I’ll take these one by one.
Regarding Francois Beachemin’s hit on Artem Anisimov: It was a clean hit, with shoulder to shoulder being the principal point of contact, albeit with some incidental contact to the head. Arty had the puck, so no interference. As for Nick Foligno, he jumped Beachemin after and deserved his 2 minutes. The problem here is that no one seemed to have much of an issue with how this played out until the Brandon Dubinsky situation later. Continue reading Unpopular Opinions: The Refs/NHL Got It Right
As Blue Jackets fans, I’m sure you’ve read a lot of prognostications on the CBJ’s season. Most of these (including my own) have harped on the issues the team could have this coming season. Regression from Sergei Bobrovsky. Not taking enough shots. Not controlling the play enough. A lack of goal scorers. There is one x-factor that could render two these issues moot, and turn two of those issues into strengths. If you read the title, then you can probably guess that I’m referring to Ryan Murray. In my opinion, Murray is the key cog in whether or not the Jackets have a successful year. Yes, Marian Gaborik scoring 40 goals would be huge. As would and early return from Nathan Horton and 25 goals in 60 games from him. Bob staying true to last seasons form would also be great. Boone Jenner sticking on the top line and being a Calder candidate would also be a boon to their chances (sorry, that joke was terrible). However, none of those will have the same impact as what Murray could do.
Seriously folks. I know I seem to come across like the biggest Dalton Prout hater that ever lived, but I swear this has nothing to do with anything I’ve previously said on the man (or kid). I’ve usually had good things to say about Tim Erixon and Ryan Murray (and think Murray is legit), but those three guys have a much bigger hill to climb than you probably expect. Continue reading CBJ Fans, Prepare Yourself for a Different Defense Than You Expect
Last year I put together a series of posts centered around my expectations for the various Blue Jackets players goal totals, with one running before the season, one at midseason reviewing how I did and predicting the remainder of the season, and one after the year was over looking back at the first two pieces. I was pretty happy with how my method worked out, so I figured I’d do this for the entire league. You can find my preliminary post on it here, along with an update after the Capitals signed Grabovski. Here at the Union Blue, you’re going to get everything I’ve put together regarding the Jackets.
Unfortunately, I don’t think most of you will be happy with me. I have the Jackets finishing 15th in the NHL in goal differential. However, I also have the Metropolitan division as the league’s most difficult. If the season proceeds this way, the Jackets will finish 6th in the Metro, behind the Rangers, Devils, Penguins, Islanders, and Capitals. The Grabovski signing actually pushed the Caps above the Jackets for the final playoff spot in the East. Consolation prize: I also have the Red Wings missing the playoffs. So there’s that.
Advanced stats in hockey is a misnomer. The most commonly used advanced stats, are not advanced at all. Well, they may be advanced if you are a three year old, but if you consider counting and addition advanced, you have bigger problems. Let’s start with Corsi. And yes, it’s Corsi, not CORSI (making it something of a shibbolleth for the stats-inclined hockey fan). If it were called shot attempt differential, people would have no issues with it.
That’s all it is. The more shots you get, the more likely you are to score.
Is it a be-all, end-all? Of course not. It’s really just a good way to figure out where the puck is when player X is on the ice. Someday Corsi is going to be irrelevant, as sooner or later the Stats Inc. SportVu system will be advanced enough for hockey. These cameras are up in over half the NBA’s arena’s now and track player and ball movement to the inch. When this can be applied to hockey, we won’t need a stand-in for puck possession anymore. We’ll know exactly how long a player has the puck on his stick, how often his team has the puck when he’s on the ice, and where on the ice this possession time comes. But until then, we are stuck with Corsi, so deal with it, learn about what it means, and even more import learn how to use it.