Still playing a bit of catch up folks so today we’ll be seeing how the Jackets three prospects playing across the pond are doing.
Columbus Blue Jackets
OK, is there a better team to host for the home opener than the New York Rangers? These games are becoming absolute gems where both teams play hard, things often get a bit nasty and you know that anyone could be the hero of the night. Fans who packed the Arena District this Saturday night were rewarded with not only a CBJ win over a division rival but an absolute heckuva game. Let’s get into who the NHL picked as the 3 stars and who could be perceived as the studs and duds.
Well friends, it’s hockey season. Welcome back to the crazy 82 game ride. Luckily, the Jackets started on an up note. Buffalo, a team that finished in last place last season, wasn’t exactly an intimidating opponent and arguably a welcome first opponent for a very different looking Jackets roster than a lot of fans expected. Nonetheless, the team suited up, with newly returned Ryan Johansen and three rookies suited up to beat the Sabres 3-1.
If you’ve not been with the Union Blue for these recaps in the past, a quick primer. Every game we look at the three stars as named on NHL.com and let you know if we agree or disagree. We then name one “stud” and one “dud” from the game and wrap it all up with a glorious piece of art from the famous @RockmanHalo. So let’s get to it…
It starts tonight. For the Jackets they are one of 30 teams, playing 82 games each. Fighting to play for what really matters…the Stanley Cup. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The off-season has been one big storyline of a number one center and his (lack of) contract, followed by a training camp that was a variation of “bet you didn’t see THAT coming”. The lineup is currently one that no one could have predicted and more changes are sure to come – not only those due to players fans will love to welcome back but also due to trades, players not performing, or (gasp!) another injury. There are nerves, and there are question marks. People are already wondering when contracts will be signed for players due to be free agents after the season.
But for now – just for now – remember the anticipation.
Today, Jackets fans are filled with hope. Nothing has been lost, nothing has been gained. Today – it’s truly possible that by the end of this season anything could happen. So for now, remember how much you desperately waited for NHL hockey to return. How you clamored for updates on the team or on your favorite player…remember when the weather turned, just about a week or so ago, and that cool crisp bite re-entered the air, signaling that it’s time to return to the rink.
No one knows what this season will bring, but it’s sure to bring concern, celebration, questioning, frustration and times when you can’t believe what’s happening. So for now, as the first puck prepares to drop on the Blue Jackets season, remember right now. Because right now you know all the reasons that you love hockey so much. It’s just might take a few months and 82 (or more!) games to remind you of that again.
Carry the Flag – Go Jackets.
Of the four major North American sports leagues, hockey has been the slowest to take to advanced stats. It’s no surprise really. Hockey isn’t parcelled out into nice little segments like baseball and football. The possession’s aren’t as neat and easily definable as they are in basketball. Hockey is a dynamic, fluid mess of players and equipment. Attempts have been made, and it is amazing the progress that has been made in the development of advanced stats given the paucity of data. Hockey is similar to basketball this way. Go back a few years ago, and the most advanced stats going on were on-court/off-court plus-minus, and other similar measures. Any hockey fan should know the dangers of judging a player by plus-minus. Basketball was probably behind hockey until SportVu was introduced. Suddenly, there was an overflow of data, and smart people were able to take that data, and figure out better ways to play the game, better ways to assemble rosters, and a whole world of other ideas, many of which don’t leave team facilities. Hockey needs a SportVu.
Now there has been talk of this happening for a couple years now. In the meantime, intrepid people like Eric Tulsky and Corey Sznajder decided to stop waiting for a SportVu-esque data collection measure to come to hockey and just track items themselves. Primarily this has been through scoring chances and zone entries/exits. Through this fantastic work, we’ve learned a lot about the game of hockey. We are finally connecting dots between the classic hockey thought and advanced stats. Every coach in hockey history has emphasized the importance of the the blueline. Now we know how important it is, and what the best way to cross it or defend it is. We know what plays gain added value from this. That’s a massive step forward from using shot attempts to sorta, kinda measure possession. Alison and I at the Union Blue want to continue on in the good spirit of those who started tracking games (since most of them now work for actual NHL teams). Continue reading…
Hey guys, Ashley here! Maybe you remember the art contest that we announced a few weeks ago, that had a full set of Cannonfest prints as a prize. We asked YOU to submit a drawing of a CBJ player as your entry. We were graced with some really lovely entries, so let’s get on to the winner!
So I’ve been on vacation the last little while. During a few minutes of downtime the other day, I took some time to catch up on the ongoing Ryan Johansen saga. I posted some of my thoughts on Twitter the other day, but this whole thing is just too complicated and nuanced to really do justice in 140 characters (or even several continued 140 character segments). So here are my full thoughts on this ridiculousness: Everyone is wrong. And most of the thoughts, comments, and what not from those involved in this saga (and even those not) make me hate everything. Continue reading…
What is going on in CBJ land? Not much you say? Well, not for long! Players return to Nationwide Arena Thursday to begin the 2014-15 campaign and, they want to talk to YOU.
Before Training Camp even starts, Blue Jackets players are going to be available via social media to take your questions!
As the players come back officially on Thursday, Bobby McElligott and Jody Shelley will be hosting a live interactive show and from noon till 1 pm they’ll be communicating your questions to the boys who will answer your questions right then and there!
How do you participate? Easy. On Thursday, check out the live stream and then, submit your questions via twitter using the hashtag #CBJSMDay
You can find a complete schedule and all the details HERE
Hockey’s back, friends. And the Blue Jackets are kicking it off in style come Thursday!
Carry the flag!
The Jackets opened the 2014 Traverse City Prospect Tournament with a 7-4 win over the Minnesota Wild. The game wasn’t the prettiest but the Jackets will take the victory. The Wild took the first lead 7:49 into the first when Nick Walters and Brady Brassart had a 2-1 with Walters finishing.
In the second, Oliver Bjorkstrand found Kerby Rychel in front to tie it at one. 56 seconds lasted Walters would strike again to make it 2-1. Later in the second the CBJ had a scare when 2014 first round pick Sonny Milano fell face first into the boards and needed help off the ice – he would not return to the game. Later in the period, TJ Tynan would get credit for a goal that would bounce over the Wild goaltender’s shoulder.
It’s hockey time so let’s get right to checking out what’s going on with some of the Blue Jackets prospects. Europe gets an earlier start than North America with all three of the Jacket’s European getting started this week. The Jackets have three prospects playing overseas: Daniel Zaar in Sweden, Joonas Korpisalo in Finland and Elvis Merzlikins in Switzerland. Since it’s hard to see these players live, like I normally do with the CHL and NCAA, I’ve asked for some help from reporters who have seen these players live.