Hello all! Back again with another week in the world of Blue Jackets prospects. Was an interesting week that included the trade deadline and three prospects’ regular seasons coming to an end along with another young Jacket appearing to be on his way to Springfield.
As we normally do we start off in Springfield which was affected by the NHL trade deadline with the trade of Dalton Smith and Jonathan Marchessault to Tampa Bay for forward Dana Tyrell and defenseman Matt Taormina. Trading Smith somewhat surprised me because he seemed to fit the team’s style as “Boll 2.0”, whereas Marchessault wasn’t as much of a match.
Starting off last week against Hartford, the Falcons allowed a goal 1:45 in before Ryan Craig scored nine minutes later, the assist went to Tyrell who picked up his first point with Falcons. The Pack scored again before Craig tied it with only 55 seconds remaining in the period. The Wolfpack scored four more to make it 6-2. Jeremy Smith made 24 saves in the loss.
Up next was a game in Adirondack. Ryan Craig again opened the scoring. 2:06 into the second, Nick Cousins got the Phantoms on the board but Nate Thompson scored 30 seconds later to make it 3-2 and then Cody Bass made it 4-2 later. Cody Bass notched a shorthanded goal 7:12 into the third to make it 5-2 with the Phantoms scoring with 1:11 remaining to make it 5-3. Mike McKenna made 26 saves in the win. To close out the weekend, the Falcons took on the Portland Pirates and hoo boy it would be ugly – for the Pirates at least. The Falcons had a 3-0 lead before the 10 minute mark of the first period when Patrick McNeill and Sean Collins scored 32 seconds apart – Matt Taormina picked up his first point with the Falcons with an assist on Collins goal. Dana Tyrell scored his first with Springfield three minutes later. Darryl Boyce made it 4-0 with just a little over three minutes left in the first. In the second period, with the Pirates changing goalies, the Pirates potted one three minutes in before the Falcons would again score two quick goals with Michael Chaput scoring his team leading 16th goal and Andrew Joudrey scoring his franchise record fifth shorthanded goal just 36 seconds later. Four and a half minutes later Austin Madaisky scored his fourth goal of the season to make it 7-1 Falcons. Jack Skille scored two goals in 26 seconds early in the third to end Louis Domingue’s night meaning the Pirates went back to starter Mark Visentin who would finish the game. In the 9-3 win Mike McKenna made 27 saves for his 17th win of the season.
Continue reading March 5-9 CBJ Prospect Week in Review
Wow. Well that was a game. It was everything we love and hate about the match ups with Nashville – physical play where one big play usually makes the difference. Now you can add stellar goal tending to the recurring trend of these games. Who can forget the flurry of saves Bob made against Nashville in the final game last season and he would do it again in the closing seconds to preserve another win. In his post game interview, James Wisniewski said that was as close to a playoff game as you get. I have to agree. We were fortunate enough to be at the game and the atmosphere was pins and needles. That game was intense, hard hitting hockey. That’s what you want to see – that’s what JD has promised us…and tonight we got it (well at least after the first period). With the Jackets’ divisional opponents scooping up points tonight the win was essential and the boys in Union Blue got it done. They travel to Dallas next and I have to believe they are gonna need the day in between to recover from that match up. So on to the three stars…
Continue reading Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ NSH
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
So the trade deadline has come and gone. We’ve got three-ish familiar faces out the door, with four fresh faces headed to CBJ-land. In all, I think the Jackets fared well. While I may not have gone in any of these directions, I understand each deal and think each one represents good value.
Continue reading TRADES! Trades. trades
A dangerous back end of a back to back faced the Jackets tonight and, second period aside (woof!) the team showed up with what ended up as a decisive 4-2 win in front of a very healthy Tuesday night home crowd (If you win – they will come).
The trade deadline looms tomorrow and noone knows if we’ll see this same roster in Union Blue ever again, so let’s mark the moment and appreciate that the team definitely gave us some things to remember from tonight’s game. So let’s get on to the three stars…and, if you read the whole thing, enjoy a mini rant at the end of this recap.
Third Star: Boone Jenner
The resident CBJ man-child had a stellar game today. His no-nonsense style of play continues to get under the skin of opponents and the 8-19-38 is really singing. Talk about size. Boone started off the CBJ scoring early with a strong shot from the top of the circle and it jump started the 3 goal blitz that would later bring the Jackets the win.
Second Star: Sergei Bobrovsky
Many had wondered if the back to back start against a non-conference opponent was a waste of time Bob could use to rest up. Well apparently they need not worry. Without Bob in net, that game does not end up going the Jackets way tonight. A lackluster second period from everyone who was not in net, meant Bob had to come up time after time with the save. His calm on the ice was obvious, and his composure during a late flurry of shots from the Stars kept the Jackets in this game when the rest of the team wasn’t. Now, don’t get me wrong, he wants that second goal back…badly. But it was evident tonight why Bob is one of-if not the-linchpins of this team.
Continue reading Three Stars and Game in One Picture: DAL @ CBJ
We’re coming to the end of the road for some teams so without further ado, let’s get going.
Last week was a very light week for the Falcons as they only played two games. Starting off against Providence on Saturday, after the Bruins scored early to make it 1-0, Ryan Craig scored off a deflection in front to make it 1-1. In the second, the baby Bruins scored again before Sean Collins notched the tying goal off a deflection in the third forcing overtime and then a shootout. In the eight round shootout, Carter Camper scored in the second round of his debut to keep the game alive, though the Falcons would ultimately lose in the eighth round. Mike McKenna made 27 saves and stopped six of eight in the loss.
The next night against Worchester all the scoring happened in the second period. Jack Skille started it off 3:29 into the period. Five minutes after the Sharks tied it, Jean-Francois Jacques scored the game winner and Skille picked up an assist. Jeremy Smith made 28 saves for his 18th win of the season – the Falcons only took 11 shots in the game.
Continue reading February 24-March 2 CBJ Prospect Week in Review
Well the Blue Jackets returned to Nationwide Arena’s main ice for the first time in a month and, while it looked like there was still some rust being knocked off in a rare Saturday matinee, two points were earned, and in this playoff push, that’s all that matters. It’s worth noting that every CBJ goal tonight was earned on a power play, in a shorthanded situation or on an empty net (Thank goodness it was Florida in town). So without delay, let’s get on to the three stars…
3rd Star – RJ Umberger
RJ can get a lot of critique from the CBJ fan base, but today was a good day for him. RJ seemed really poised to play a physical game and found himself with quite a few chances. He played a gritty game and deservedly got a goal for his efforts. RJ played his role today and was deservedly rewarded. He ended the afternoon at +1 and was someone who was definitely energized by the line changes that Coach Richards put in place.
Continue reading Three Stars and Game in One Picture: FLA @ CBJ
Well that was a disappointing way to get back into things. The Jackets were thoroughly outshot through the entire game, with the final tally of 35-19 . At least they were consistent, getting outshot by five or six shots every period. Oddly, I didn’t feel like New Jersey was actually dominating the play. For parts of the first and third periods, and most of the second period, the Jackets looked like the better team. They did look to be off in the positioning, and were definitely off in their passing. Those are both related, as I felt the team did an extremely poor job tonight of supporting the puck carrier, forcing players into making tougher passes than necessary. Oh well, not like this was a divisional game against a team they are battling for a playoff spot. Oh wait, New Jersey is now only two points back. Super. Continue reading Three Stars & Game in One Picture: CBJ @ NJ
The big picture is considerably more ambiguous than the small picture. It’s easy to look at my post from last week and agree or disagree with my thoughts. In fact, many did in various forms and places. But almost ever single one of those disagreements was focused too intently on the specific player I referenced, or the exact dollar figures for a free agent, etc., etc. The fact is, the small picture was almost totally through the filter of my ideas of the big picture. That sounds strange and confusing, so here is a more specific example:
Derek MacKenzie. He seemed to be the most divisive player in the reaction. I don’t underrate Derek MacKenzie. In fact, a major reason why I suggested they move on from DMac was because I rate him quite highly. I think he’s a player that will fetch decent money on the open market. A (close to) double digit goal scorer that kills penalties, works his ass off, and is a great guy? Every team in the league can use that. He’s also about to turn 33 years old this summer. His interest in signing a one year deal is probably low. If I’m him, I’m aiming for a three year deal, fully one-way, initially asking for something close to $2m. Does he get that? Probably not, but the cap is going up this summer and it only takes one desperate team.
How does this reflect the big picture though? Derek MacKenzie is a fourth liner. He’s a solid fourth liner, but he’s not the anchor of a good fourth line. Put two solid NHLers out there with him, and he performs admirably. Put him out there between Jared Boll and Colton Gillies and you have the worst line I’ve ever seen get regular shifts in the NHL. If he’s more than a team’s 12th best forward, that team needs to get better bottom six forwards. So what is the value of a 12th forward? Next to nothing, completely replaceable. He brings some value on the penalty kill, but the Jackets happen to have available in house replacements that would not be a large drop off.
So there it is. My analysis of Derek MacKenzie’s future has very little to do with Derek MacKenzie, but more to do with how many resources should be devoted to a teams 13th forward based on time on ice.
Let’s pull back even further for the REALLY big picture. Who do the Columbus Blue Jackets want to be? There are two franchises that I would be looking to, and both bear striking similarities in a number of ways. First, let’s travel back in time to the era of The Dead Wings.
Continue reading The Big Picture
Greetings all – This post covers the past TWO weeks for our prospects. I’m sorry for the delay – it just means there’s a lot to cover, so let’s get rolling.
Starting off in Springfi…wait no we don’t, we’re going for a change in venue as we start in St John’s Newfoundland at Mile One Centre. We head there for the AHL All Star Game. Unlike normal years, where it’s either the standard East-West or the older Canada-PlanetUSA format, this year the All Star Game was a team of AHL All Stars versus Farjestads of the Swedish Hockey League. Jackets Dmen Frederic St. Denis and Cody Goloubef represented the Falcons in the game with St. Denis serving as an alternate captain.
Starting on Tuesday with the Skills Competition, Cody and Frederic took part in the first event – the puck control relay – with both skating second of their trios. Brett Connolly gave the AHL a slight lead that Frederic then lost with Cody also finishing behind the Swedish skater. St. Denis’ group would lose but local boy Brenden Kichton, with the help of the Farjestads player falling, led to the AHL winning Cody’s heat. Cody and Frederic got the next four events off before taking part in the “Pass and Score” teaming up with Cam Atkinson’s college linemate, and current Albany forward, Joe Whitney. The group faced off against goaltender Frederik Pettersson-Wentzel. In the event all three players have to touch the puck before shooting within 30 seconds. Cody scored on the first attempt with a snapshot from the slot and St. Denis scored on the third when Wentzel went for the double pad stack but he didn’t leave them on the ice allowing the puck to trickle past. In the final event, “the breakaway relay,” every player took part in a group of five. Cody was part of the second AHL group, shooting fourth. He fired a shot into Pekka Tuokkola’s glove. St. Denis was part of the third AHL group, shooting third on Frederik Pettersson-Wentzel. He tried some fancy stickhandling but was stopped. The score was tied after all four groups so the competition went to a sudden death shootout with IceCaps captain Jason Jaffrey clinching the victory in the third round thus giving the AHL a 17-18 victory in the Skills Competition.
Continue reading February 10-23 CBJ Prospect Week in Review