Egad, that was ugly. This had all of the elements of a bad game going in: unfamiliar bodies being plugged into the line up, a tired roster, a net minder who has started every single game since the Olympic break ended and of course being lined up across from one of the best teams in the league in front of a great home crowd. Armchair coach of me was shocked to see Bobrovsky get the start. There’s no doubt whatsoever that he’s our number one guy but I had this game circled as one where he might get a rest. It ended up being a short evening for Bob anyway with McElhinney coming on in relief after the fourth goal. Hopefully the whole team can put this one behind them as they continue their Western Conference road trip. On to the three stars:
3rd Star: Brent Seabrook
Who doesn’t want a guy like Seabrook on their blue line? While contributing 2 assists Seabrook did a great job limited CBJ scoring chances while munching his normal 20-22 minutes. I’d be hard pressed to offer up this spot to anyone aside from the big first rounder. Continue reading Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ CHI
Well they certainly made it interesting at the end for us, didn’t they? With the Jackets in the thick of the playoff hunt, practically every game is a ‘must-win’ game. After the special teams shootout against Florida I was curious to see if we’d be able to get some even strength scoring on the road against Toronto. Luckily we got that even strength scoring from a rather unexpected source in Dalton Prout as well as surging Russian Olympian Artem Anisimov. Tonight’s 3 stars according to NHL.com include:
3rd Star: James Reimer:
Reimer kept the Leafs in a game that they had no business being in after the 2nd. While as a Jacket fan I take issue with the liberties he was taking with our players in/in front of his crease that went uncalled, if your teammates won’t clear the crease for you, sometimes the net minder has to take matters into his own hands.
Continue reading Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ TOR
Ahhh, back above the line. Feels good, doesn’t it? There’s a lot to be happy about with tonight’s performance and as always some things to be concerned with. Since inking Nathan Horton to a deal I’ve been wanting to see how he and Johanson would play together. Tonight I got to see that and with some more time together and some refinement I think the 38-19-8 line can become consistently dominant. Let’s see who the NHL thought was worthy of the stars this fine evening:
3rd Star: Jack Johnson
I liked a lot about Johnson’s game tonight. He generated good traffic towards the net (see his assist on Johanson’s 2nd goal) and had the type of physical game that gives your teammates a jolt of energy. Johnson logged about 7 minutes each on the 100% effective penalty kill and the 0% effective power play on the evening. He was key in setting the CBJ tone tonight, which was “I hope you’re ready to work for every inch of ice you want, Capitals”. While Johnson was the lone D man between Ward on Bobrovsky on Ward’s short-handed goal, I think he was effective in shutting down Ward’s passing lanes and forcing Ward’s hand to have no choice but to shoot. Sadly, that shot went in. Continue reading Three Stars & Game in One Picture: Washington vs. CBJ
That was unpleasant. Tonight’s game had just kind of road start you wish for. Recent offensive juggernaut Derek MacKenzie cleaned up garbage after Fedor Tyutin rang one off the pipe. Just 17 seconds later the 18-19-71 line made the Canes pay with a great forced turnover and some skillful passing. Alas, the Jackets seemed to pack it in after taking the early 2-0 lead. While coming out of the gate hot, the Jackets seemed content to allow Carolina to rack up the shot count, albeit mostly from the perimeter. Carolina stuck to their game plan and exacted their punishment on the Jackets in the 3rd when they Eric Staal broke open the scoring and tied it within 60 seconds. A limp-wristed backhand from brother Jordan beat Ryan Murray and Sergei Bobrovsky with less than 6 minutes to go in regulation to give the Hurricanes their first lead of the night. While the Jackets were able to muster a little bit of an offensive attack with under two minutes to go, pulling Bobrovsky proved unfruitful as the Union Blue squad spent the last 20-30 seconds of the game on the outside of the offensive zone, looking in, unable to take the zone with the extra attacker. Tonight’s stars per NHL.com:
3rd Star: Ron Hainsey
I’m sure every team feels the same way but the Jackets have a great way of getting the best out of their former players when they face them again. I’m not going to lie, Hainsey’s play tonight didn’t exactly stand out as anything outstanding but that could have been related to the venue where I watched the game as I was having difficulty differentiating between their defensemen all evening.
Continue reading Three Stars & Game in One Picture: CBJ @ Carolina
1000 games in the books and I can’t be more elated to write a recap than the one I’m writing for this one. As a team and a fanbase we’ve had only minimal tastes of success, and it was rarely sustained. Despite the frigid temperatures, the walk to my car and drive home from not only our 8th consecutive win but a convincing win against a Metropolitan opponent was entirely too enjoyable. With this win, the Jackets sit 1 point behind the New York Rangers yet have 3 fewer games played. Things are good in CBJ-land, folks. Things are good. Speaking of good, let’s talk about tonight’s stars of the game!
3rd Star: Jack Johnson
While I may have found myself frustrated with Johnson during the early 4:00 power play, I was frustrated with pretty much everyone in the Union Blue jerseys who set foot on the ice. That critique aside, I liked much of what I saw from Johnson. He played a tough game against Philly’s better players and was able to break open the scoring with a somewhat flukey shot that bounced off of both defender’s legs before getting past Emery. With there being so many penalties in this game Johnson was called upon to log a lot of special teams time. 14 minutes of his 27 on the evening involved special teams.
Continue reading Stars of the Night and Game in One Picture: Flyers vs. CBJ
It’s no secret that the CBJ fan base is full of talented individuals and today on TheUnionBlue we’re very glad to have had a chance to speak with Ashley Ware (@LeAshleh on Twitter) who recently has been generous enough to share what she refers to as her doodles but that I would deem them masterpieces. Some recent samples include her take on fan favorites Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky: Continue reading Interview: Meet Ashley Ware, Artist and CBJ Fan
Readers, if you haven’t heard the term before, this is what you call a trap game. A team like the CBJ with tons of momentum enters the barn of a team that’s had a particularly turbulent year seeing personnel changes both on the bench and behind the bench. It’s all too easy to come off of a 5-1 win against a division leader like the Capitals with a little too much confidence. I think we were a victim of that overconfidence from the moment the puck dropped. Also, as we’ve seen time and time again we seemed to play to the level of our opponent. We lacked the ferocity and work ethic that led us to the previous 5-1 victory against the superior Capitals. Admittedly I missed seeing the 1st goal scored against the Jackets as I was stuck in traffic en route to the CBJ game watching party at the Dublin Buffalo Wild Wings but it sounded like the result of sloppy play in our own end that ended up in the back of our net. Let’s get to the three stars per NHL.com:
3rd Star: Tyler Ennis
Ennis was a key contributor on two goals and logged an impressive 25 minutes for the evening. That said, I can’t help but feel like either one of the net minders would have been more deserving of this 3rd spot. While save percentages and GAA were nothing amazing, had either Miller or Bobrovsky had an off game, we could have easily seen combined goal count approaching the 10-12 mark. Special nod to Bobrovsky for going a perfect 3 for 3 in the shoot out.
Continue reading Stars of the Night and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ Buffalo
Wow, the past week I’ve listened to NHL coverage refer to the CBJ as the “surging” Blue Jackets and as a team to keep an eye on. We’ve all seen teams get hot for 3-4 games at a time but tonight’s 5th win in a row served as officially putting the Metropolitan, East and entire NHL on notice that the Blue Jackets are legit. The best players of tonight were the young guys who we’re entrusting the future of this franchise to and that’s a great feeling. Without further ado:
3rd Star: Sergei Bobrovsky
Man, did Bob come up huge. Logging 1.0 GA and a .963 save percentage looks good on paper and looks even better when you saw the monster saves he made against arguably the NHL’s best scorer in his soon-to-be Team Russia teammate, Alexander Ovechkin. While you’re going to win most games where you score 5 goals, Bob was huge in weathering the early storm the Capitals brought until the Jackets could get their legs under them.
Continue reading Stars of the Night and Game in One Picture: Washington Capitals @ CBJ
Going into tonight I was curious how the Jackets would follow up their shutout win in Columbus the night before. By and large, I was very happy with the response. While McElhinney was unremarkable tonight, the skaters gave him the scoring support that any goalie in this league would love to have. The Jenner-Anisimov-Horton line played a great game tonight and showed some incredible chemistry for a trio that has only been skating together for such a short period of time.
3rd Star: Ryan Johanson
Joey had a solid night. His feed to Foligno was outstanding but I’d be tempted to award this 3rd star to fresh off returning Derek Mackenzie. DMac came back, played the game we’ve come to expect out of his well and had a good feed to Letestu to open up the CBJ scoring with a short-handed opportunity. He netted a secondary assist on Letestu’s 2nd goal as well. He was +2 on the evening and 80% in the faceoff dot.
Continue reading Stars of the Night and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ Winnipeg
I think we’re starting to see the inevitable rivalry between the Rangers and Blue Jackets really emerge. With only 4 points separating the 2nd and 7th positions in the Metro and seemingly GMs that have each other on speed dial for trades, these games are getting to be ones you really look forward to as a fan. Tonight’s match up featured the bigger name former-CBJ roster in Nash, Brassard, John Moore. It was great to see the Jackets come out strong in the 1st period and establish an early lead after such a possibly demoralizing beat down at the hand of the Blues. I must admit I had flashes of panic as I watched the lead erode and overtime be forced but the Jackets were able to pick up the 2nd point in a shootout at the hands of a filthy goal by Johansen. Tonight’s 3 stars:
3rd Star: Mark Letestu
This was probably one of Letestu’s best games, I’m glad the local media recognized his efforts. That said, I can’t help but think that Wizniewski might be slightly more deserving of this spot. It seemed like late in the 3rd when the Jackets were getting pushed around Wiz took it upon himself to start launching Wiz bombs at Lundqvist and while none resulted in points they did generate some good rebounds and slow down the Ranger onslaught. With Tyutin leaving the game early everyone had to much a few extra minutes and Wiz put in 28 solid minutes, 8 of which were on special teams duty. At the end of the night, he had a 2 point game to show for it in the form of 1G, 1A.
Continue reading Stars of the Night & Game in One Picture: CBJ @ NYR