It’s been a tough road critiquing the Blue Jackets over the last ten games. Should I be acknowledging their convincing wins as playing to their potential, or are they showing up against opponents hitting the snooze button? Many in the Toronto realm seem to think that convincing loss was one of the worst performances by Toronto in recent history. Despite all the sharp edges around recent tweeting, I’m actually pretty optimistic about the team when they are off the ice, leading me to believe that none of their wins were flukes.
As of December 1st, Columbus is 6th of 30 NHL teams in man games lost (101). Somewhat dated on account of the game played last night, but it does show that while Columbus is averaging around 3.75 players out per game, and considering the caliber of players who have missed time (Horton, Gaborik, Dubinsky, Jenner, Calvert, Foligno etc), it’s no surprise that the idea of man games lost as a crutch for mediocrity would be used.
Continue reading Full Recap: Columbus vs Tampa Bay 12/3
After the hole Columbus dug themselves during losses to Edmonton and Vancouver, I was ready to see another convincing loss against Toronto and a major shakeup. It’s not that pessimism has taken over my mentality for the team, in fact, I still believe on paper they are about as capable as any other team in their division to compete for a playoff spot. Rather, it just seemed like par for the course, after the way they’ve played, and the injuries they’ve suffered.
Instead, my smile increased throughout the game. The matchup brought shocked satisfaction as Columbus controlled the puck, limited mistakes, and caused turnovers which lead to odd man rushes for the first real time this season. It was exciting, and even caused me to watch the late night replay so I could take in the quality effort again. They deserved to win the game, and they did the right things. With the exception of Toronto basically sitting back and letting them win, I could not be more impressed by their efforts.
Continue reading Full Recap: Columbus @ Toronto 11-25
Wednesday night in Calgary. Progress like a slow morphine drip. Sitting down to watch the game, I went through a pretty embarrassing checklist as the guys took the ice. Skating hard? Check. Taking decent shots? Check. Limiting Calgary offensively? Check. Bobrovsky not hopeless? Check. It is never the kind of game you want to watch as a fan, waiting for a similar implosion like that which we witnessed on Tuesday in Edmonton. These events can be small blips on the radar, and I am optimistic that Columbus was able to turn the page after Tuesday and improve upon some massive mistakes.
Continue reading Full Recap: Columbus @ Calgary 11-20
If anyone is out in Blue Jackets land reading recaps, learning more about the team right now, consider me impressed. Their fandom knows no bounds, and their attitude towards the team rivals few. The on ice disaster displayed last night would make the casual fan find something else to watch, the average fan laugh, and the die hard fan furious. I’m currently still furious.
Should we discount that Edmonton was 5-15-2 prior to the game? They are a team that has been playing hopeless hockey. A team that Columbus should have obliterated after a convincing win against Ottawa on Sunday. Apparently not. Apparently, Edmonton decided they would go out and embarrass everything this team is.
Continue reading Full Recap: Columbus @ Edmonton 11-19
It’s always nice to drown out the regular Sunday afternoon pigskin with the sound of skates digging into the ice, shots ringing off the crossbar, and crisp tape to tape passes. After a very disappointing shootout loss to Montreal on Friday, expectations were not terribly high that the entire Columbus roster could come out and play a full sixty minutes. Ottawa played host in front of a surprisingly low 15,535 (84%).
Regardless of games past, the Jackets fans were awarded for their loyalty with arguably the best game Columbus has put together this year – they dominated Ottawa from the opening faceoff. Taking a quick look at the stats will not tell the story. I have talked endlessly both on twitter and through these recaps that Columbus lacks the meaningful shots it takes to win games, and that was not the issue yesterday.
Continue reading Game Recap: Columbus @ Ottawa 11-17
It was another heart breaker for both the Blue Jackets and their fans. A consistently tough opponent in Boston was bound to give Columbus a hard fought battle, but as the game came to a close I could not help but feel like a win was stolen. This scenario played out plenty of times last season, tied heading to overtime. One would think that Blue Jackets fans are used to the knee knocking heart pounding moments of overtime by now, but it rarely gets easier.
For the most part, I think it was a game the Blue Jackets deserved to win. I personally didn’t fall in love with their scoring opportunities, but they certainly had them, and for at least forty minutes throughout the game, they controlled play. Despite a very lackluster start to the second period, Columbus managed to battle back to 12-12 in second period shots after being down 4-12 at the midway point.
Bobrovksy was good, but not great. Through the wickets is never a good thing, making the overtime loss a bit more painful. Hard to fault him on the Thornton goal as Johnson tipped the shot, and I am sure he’d rather have the first goal back instead of settling for begging the referees for goaltender interference. Beyond the goals, he had a couple of moments where he was just barely in control and the puck seemed to squirm through him a bit. That said, he also managed a couple great saves to keep Columbus in the game when they were playing poorly during stretches. In any case, at .903 on the night, Bob was once again very human.
Continue reading Game Recap: Columbus @ Boston 11/14
Rather than a traditional recap for the game against Washington last night, I am going to break down pieces of the Blue Jackets game and then talk about the players that impressed and those who made a mess (if I haven’t already). For those who missed the game, the Blue Jackets lost a stunner in overtime, after taking a 3-2 lead with less than six minutes to play. The loss stings, despite gaining a point.
Shooting: To begin, shot production was great in the first period, with Columbus outshooting Washington 12-7. Yet like many games we’ve sen this season, those twelve shots failed to produce a goal. Based on the combined 13 shots from the second and third period producing three goals (good goals at that), it remains a cause for concern. Rather than focusing on getting the puck on net, maybe they should focus on getting good shots with more traffic in front.
Continue reading Game Recap: Columbus @ Washington 11-12
The roller coaster ride that is being a Blue Jackets fan can be trying. Over the course of the team history, a number of rosters have shown the fans great heart, effort, and tenacity for the majority of the season. Other years, it got tough to watch games, as the players checked in and out of interest throughout games and often found themselves in long stretches of irrelevance. Some would lean towards these players being ‘overpaid’ or ‘overrated’ while others would come to believe they were just having an off year.
The NHL comparisons are pretty stark. Certain teams each year seem to find that ‘gear’ that other teams simply cannot elevate to match their speed, skill, and chemistry. Sure, players vary in talent throughout the league, and in some situations there are rosters built to dominate, but the salary cap is the same for each franchise. Players rising to the occasion as a collective make all the difference, and I tend to believe that pride plays a major role (you’d think professionalism would play a big role in this as well, but that’s more of a rant rather than constructive thought).
Continue reading Manufacturing Pride
Desperate for a win, Columbus played host to the New York Rangers on Thursday night. It was somewhat laughable sitting in the stands pre-game and seeing names like Stralman, Dorsett, Moore, and Brassard all lined up with Rangers jerseys on. Makes me realize just how much these teams have swapped over the last couple seasons. Regardless, the stage was set for a solid matchup, and most would expect Columbus to take this game as not only a potential stepping stone to better results, but an opportunity to depart from their losing ways.
Solid pressure in the offensive zone was great to see from Columbus, yet pure scoring opportunities remained a premium. Notable was the shakiness of backup goaltender Talbot for New York, and most shots were met with unsure saves, leaving rebounds for the taking. Despite that, it was New York who managed to score first, making a solid tic tac toe play on the break. The biggest culprit on this particular rush was probably Tyutin, who appeared to not know who to cover, and failed to get a stick on the eventual goal scorer in Hagelin.
Continue reading Game Recap: Columbus vs NY Rangers 11-7
October 7th of 2000 seems like an awfully long time ago. Just over thirteen years last month, Columbus began to write their hockey history in front of a sellout crowd. For those nearly 4,800 days, die hard hockey fans, and those who have joined the battle with Columbus have watched as the team continues to search for a legitimate foot hold in the National Hockey League standings.
They have a total win-loss record of 371-467-33-93, with only a single playoff appearance. We all know this, because we have read it a thousand times. We saw it first hand as fans, and many of us are still mending a wound cut deep by a winless playoff round against that team who resides somewhere a couple hours Northwest of Nationwide Arena.
With these statistics in mind, I want to draw attention to the debate about attendance, whether Columbus is a viable market, and why I don’t think fan interest is the real issue here.
Continue reading Battle Joined and Battle Worn