The Union Blue http://www.theunionblue.com Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:23:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Goal Breakdown: Rookie Mistakes, Hartnell Love, and a Powerplay Entry http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/29/goal-breakdown-3/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/29/goal-breakdown-3/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:23:01 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7005 Welcome to this week’s installment of Goal Breakdowns where I go over a couple of goals for and against from the last week of action for the Columfied Blue Falcons. Errrr Columbus Blue Jackets. Sorry, with all those Springfield Falcons in the lineup, I get confused sometimes. As it stands right now, the Jackets are […]

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Welcome to this week’s installment of Goal Breakdowns where I go over a couple of goals for and against from the last week of action for the Columfied Blue Falcons. Errrr Columbus Blue Jackets. Sorry, with all those Springfield Falcons in the lineup, I get confused sometimes. As it stands right now, the Jackets are looking to be without their starting goalie, their top scoring defenseman, and seven of their top ten forwards. The likely second line for next game is Marko Dano, Alexander Wennberg, and Jack Skille. That would probably be the Falcons top line should everyone somehow manage to get healthy. Let’s all hope guys start getting better, and that Scott HartnellRyan Johansen, and Cam Atkinson (who could very easily have stayed out of the lineup after skatefacegate) keep up their torrid starts. This week I’m going to cover a few goals very quickly, both for and against, and go a little deeper into two others. Let’s get to it.

Adam Burish (on Sergei Bobovsky) assisted by Jason Demers

Just watch Adam Cracknell on the following goal. That’s him doing a piss poor job of forcing Burish in the neutral zone (and taking a terrible angle to do it as well), then giving up on the backcheck and taking no one. The Jackets have had a lot of success by hustling back and putting backpressure on the puck carrier, as opposed to the forwards hanging around to pick up the defensemen. Some pressure from Cracknell on Burish might have taken away the time he needed to get a shot off. Cracknell is not particularly talented, so seeing him absolutely dog it from a hustle perspective on a play like this is disheartening and really makes me question whether there is a place on the Jackets for him.

Corey Perry (on Sergei Bobrovsky) assisted by Sami Vatanen and Cam Fowler

Watch Wennberg on this goal. He comes out like he might be changing, then doesn’t, then is very slow to react to the puck being moved back to his side of the ice. Wennberg being so far out of position and covering absolutely no one forces Jack Johnson to step up on Vatanen, which opens the lane for Perry to sneak behind him and bury. On a play like that, Wennberg absolutely has to realize that he needs to support that side of the ice, and once he realizes it, he needs to skate a lot faster to get over to help.

Sami Vatanen (on Sergei Bobrovsky) assisted by William Karlsson

This goal is pure rookie mistake. The Jackets often rotate their forwards when on the penalty kill. It’s something they have gotten very good at, and if done correctly can cut off shots from the outside. For some teams, instead of rotating, the forwards will pass off to the player with the puck as he moves across the box. Wennberg and Michael Chaput really didn’t know what the other was going to do in this situation. Vatanen moves across the top of the box, which means either Chaput stays with him and Wennberg switches sides with Chaput (done often by the CBJ), or Wennberg comes out hard on Vatanen, and Chaput drops back off (the standard “box” method of penalty killing). You’ll notice that slight moment of hesitation where Chaput backs off thinking Wennberg will jump out on him, while Wennberg is started to cut back underneath. These two really needed to communicate to figure out who was going to do what here. It is vital on the penalty kill, as the slightest mistake opens up space. In this case it opens enough space for Vatanen to score.

VatanenAna1

Ryan Johansen (on Antti Niemi) assisted by Scott Hartnell and Nick Foligno

There isn’t anything system-wise to break down here, just some incredibly subtle work by Johansen. Watch Johansen’s feet as he skates in on Braun. There is a slight hesitation in his stride, causing Braun to let up, as he thinks Johansen is going to cut inside. This gets Braun’s feet standing still, and Johansen is able to continue on skating without really breaking stride, and Braun is not able to get his feet turned soon enough. This gives Johansen just enough space to get a beauty of a shot off. This looks like nothing, but is so ridiculously tough to actually do. Try skating full speed, and fake crossing over, without actually crossing over, and without cutting any speed. I can pretty much guarantee you will either fail at one of those aspects, or fall flat on your ass.

Nick Foligno (on Antti Niemi) assisted by Scott Hartnell and James Wisniewski

Before he came to the Jackets, I’d seen Scott Hartnell enough to know what he is as a player, but watching him every game gives you a greater appreciation of the little “nifty” or “cheeky” plays that really help him be successful around the net. His kick pass to Foligno on the game tying goal in San Jose was a heads up play of beauty…

Tim Erixon (on Jonathan Quick) assisted by Scott Hartnell and Ryan Johansen

…As was his tip pass to Erixon in Los Angeles. I thought he was tipping it on net and got lucky at first, but watch it again. Look at the angle of Hartnell’s stick when he is tipping it. He is not aiming at the net, he’s aiming across the crease to Erixon. A lesser player might have done that on accident, but Hartnell is money around the net, and if he is aiming his tip that far away from the goal, he’s doing it on purpose. I hadn’t fully realized just how nifty he was in these kinds of ways, and it really illuminates why he’s been such a good player at helping his team score goals in the dirty areas of the ice.

David Savard (on Robin Lehner) assisted by Artem Anisimov and Alexander Wennberg

First thing to look at on the entry is the hand off from Wennberg to Anisimov. This is pretty standard fare on the powerplay. You have one guy coming in with speed (Wennberg) who then passes to a guy standing still on the blueline (Anisimov), who moves the puck across quickly so the first player can still keeping skating full speed. This does two things. First, it keeps the defensemen skating backwards, as they have to respect Wennberg’s speed. Second, it keeps the outside defenseman wide. Had Wennberg carried the puck in himself, both Ottawa players could close up and take away the space from in front of Wennberg. This would force him to pass to Anisimov after he enters (which is fine, and many teams use this), but it also eliminates Wennberg as an option. This play here keeps the defense honest, as if they bite too hard on Anisimov, he can hit Wennberg, but if they sag too far, then Anisimov can walk across and get into the high slot for a shot (or just force Ottawa to scramble).

SavardSens1

Anisimov basically stands still with it, as Wennberg forces the defense back in. The Senators also have backpressure on Anisimov, meaning he can’t stand still with the puck to get setup, nor can he walk across the space into the slot. The key here is Letestu, and he’s the one that tells me this is a set play. Letestu cuts across the middle of the semi-box the Sens defenders have setup. this pulls the weakside forward across with him, and along with the backpressure, and the defenders pushed back by Wennberg, creates a massive hole for Savard to walk into, and a perfect passing lane to that hole.

SavardSens2

Anisimov passes the puck well before Savard gets into the frame, hell the puck is almost all the way across the zone before we can even see Savard. I really like what he does though. The temptation would be to either walk into the puck for a one-timer, or to carry it in as far as possible before shooting. Savard waits just long enough for the traffic to get close enough to Lehner, but shoots quick enough that he knows the shot will get through to the net. Lehner is playing slightly off the angle, probably respecting a slap-pass to Wennberg for the tip.

SavardSens3

Savard ends up beating him clean, although Wennberg does look to try and tip it in. The nice part about this is now teams have this on tape, so they will be wary of the weakside pass, and Letestu’s fake accepting of the pass won’t work. The weakside forward will probably not move with Letestu, and stay home at the top of the box. This then allows them to hit Letestu with a pass, and a quick shot through the screening Wennberg. That’s generally how these things play out at the NHL level. You burn a team with something one time, then use that look to try and make the next team think you are doing the same thing again, but switch it up.

Now I am off to the gym. The Jackets have to be getting pretty far down the list for their call ups, and I need to drop a couple dozen pounds to get back to my playing weight. Until next week!

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: OTT @ CBJ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/28/three-stars-game-one-picture-ott-cbj/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/28/three-stars-game-one-picture-ott-cbj/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 03:06:57 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7030 The Jackets dropped another depressing tilt against the Ottawa Senators, 5-2. I don’t know what’s sadder: the expectation of an uncompetitive loss or the expectation of an important player succumbing to injury. As I type this, the Jackets released a report saying Wiz could be gone for 1-2 weeks with a broken finger, and that […]

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The Jackets dropped another depressing tilt against the Ottawa Senators, 5-2. I don’t know what’s sadder: the expectation of an uncompetitive loss or the expectation of an important player succumbing to injury. As I type this, the Jackets released a report saying Wiz could be gone for 1-2 weeks with a broken finger, and that Artem Anisimov will be “evaluated” tomorrow. (Whatever that means, though at this point I’m assuming it means the absolute worst.)

The way I see it…the current swath of players lost to injury this early in the season could be a blessing. Over the last couple of seasons the Jackets have been known to put together a tremendous start and then suddenly fall off. Perhaps this stretch of rough play and rough luck is happening sooner rather than later? Perhaps in 3 months we’ll all look back and laugh at the sleep lost over the beginning 10 or so games. I mean, Wizniewski is always good for a broken *something* every year, right?

3rd Star: David Savard

Savard started the game off in the right direction, netting the Jackets a powerplay tally and the first one of the game, a wicked slap shot from the left circle that beat Lehner just over a sprawling pad. Unfortunately, the CBJ powerplay did little else in the game, letting 5 other chances slip by (including a double minor) the remainder of the game.

2nd Star: Clarke MacArthur

I’ll give MacArthur the benefit of the doubt and say the two goals he scored tonight were due to skill and not blind luck.

I’m not bitter. I swear.

1st Star: Robin Lehner

What is it about this guy? He always has these amazing games against the Blue Jackets. Near 40 shots against and only 2 got in? Lehner was on point tonight, making stops like he had some magical time controlling device. You can’t knock the Jackets for not getting enough rubber to the net in this game; they just couldn’t crack Robin Lehner.

Sigh

Again.

Game in One Picture:

 game8

Stud: Offensive Pressure

The Jackets let in 5 goals, sure, but I think it’s not out of the realm of possibility with a little more luck they could have won 6-5. (Maybe 5-4, as the 3rd goal came off of a rush after an show stopping save from Lehner) With as much offensive talent out as the Jackets have, they played a decent game…even if it was only on one side of the ice. And Atkinson scored his first game back after that gruesome cut in Anaheim. Ain’t that neat?

Dud: Everything else

More people hurt in a game that the Jackets saw get quickly out of hand as soon as they gave up the 3rd goal to Ottawa. Curtis McElhinney didn’t have a night to write home about and the PK almost did worse than just letting Ottawa score earlier in the (debatable) Major penalty kill. How many more games of this do we have to endure?!

It’s tempting to panic and write this season off, but after cooling down and looking at the state of Team Columbus you can’t reasonably do that yet. The injury report is practically our entire starting roster and we’re using rookies at important slots in the lineup. If this continues for much longer the Jackets might very well be sunk…but they have been graced with enough time to turn it around.

Carry the Flag!

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October 20-26 CBJ Prospect Review http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/27/october-20-26-cbj-prospect-review/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/27/october-20-26-cbj-prospect-review/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 14:06:15 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7017 Greetings all! Ttime again for another week in review of the future Jackets. Let’s get the ugly out of the way first. The Falcons took on the baby Penguins and the Pens picked up a 5-0 win with Oscar Dansk getting the start, stopping 31 of 36 in the loss. Up next against Norfolk,the Falcons […]

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Greetings all! Ttime again for another week in review of the future Jackets. Let’s get the ugly out of the way first. The Falcons took on the baby Penguins and the Pens picked up a 5-0 win with Oscar Dansk getting the start, stopping 31 of 36 in the loss. Up next against Norfolk,the Falcons won the game 6-3 with several prospects having big nights. Kerby Rychel got the game going when he got into a fight with Nick Kerdiles. Kerby also earned an additional minor. Corey Cowick opened the scoring and Thomas Larkin earned his first point of the night. Brian Gibbons scored the team’s second goal and also assisted on Domenic Monardo‘s team leading fourth goal of the season. After Brandon Yip scored for the Admirals, Larkin scored his first goal since the 2012-13 season. Brad Winchester scored before Ryan Craig added to his great Falcons career with his 80th goal for the team. That puts him at fourth all time. Joseph Camarossa scored before Kerby Rychel notched his first pro goal on an empty netter with 29 seconds left. Scott Munroe made 18 saves in the win. Thomas Larkin’s three point night gave him a new career high in points in a season.

To close out the three in three weekend, the Falcons would again play the Syracuse Crunch (third time in seven games so far). In the 5-1 win, Austin Madaisky, TJ Tynan and Sean Collins scored their first of the season with Josh Anderson picking up his first pro point on an assist on Tynan’s goal (also Tynan’s first pro goal). Kerby Rychel scored his first pro goal where a goalie in the net. In the 5-1 win, Oscar Dansk stopped 36 of 37 making the game his first pro win and he received the first star honor for his efforts.

Blake Siebenaler-Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Season Stats 12Gp 1-3-4 -4 5PIM

Blake was held pointless in the team’s first two games – one that was played in Buffalo so that the Sabres could see future prospect Connor McDavid…I mean…nah that’s what I mean. To close out the week against North Bay, Blake picked up an assist. Late in the game with the Dogs trailing 6-1, Blake skated in with two defenders on him and fired a shot that Christopher Paquette would shoot with Hayden McCool (great name by the way) cleaning it up.

Sonny Milano-Plymouth Whalers (OHL-feels good to type that finally)
2GP 1-5-6 +1 0PIM

After missing the Whalers first 11 games, Sonny finally made his OHL debut and was a star. His first game came Friday night against Mississauga and I was thrilled to be able to attend in person. 1:18 into the game Sonny and his linemates struck when Sonny sent a crossrink pass to Matt Mistele who paused before firing a shot to make it 1-0. In the second, Sonny and Mistele combined again to make it 3-0. Mistele and Milano definitely found some chemistry when they were the helpers on another goal, this time with Matthew Campagna finishing it in a 5-0 win. Sonny was named first star.

Up next in a game against Kitchener, Sonny scored his first pro goal when he gathered a rebound and slid it past the Rangers goalie. Sonny also picked up an assist on Matthew’s Campagna’s early third period goal. Later in the third Mistele, Campagna and Milano would combine again to make it 4-3 Rangers. The Rangers would pull away winning 6-3 but Sonny was still named second star in the loss.

Nick Moutrey-Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Season Stats 12GP 3-8-11 -2 17PIM

The Spirit opened the week by putting on a power play clinic in a game against Peterborough. In the first, Nick skated in and around a defender all the way in before shooting to make it 1-0. Later in the first, Nick sent a crossrink pass to Luke Cairns who scored his fourth of the season. Nick was named second star in the 4-0 win with the Spirit going three for five in the power play. Up next against Oshawa, Nick picked up an assist on Devon Paliani’s first goal. Nick’s shot was stopped but when a Generals defender tried to take it out he took a hit with Paliani firing a blast to make it 5-2 in a 8-5 loss. Nick was held scoreless in a 4-2 loss to Mississauga but got into a fight with Nick Zottl in the second period.

Markus Soberg-Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Season Stats 12GP 1-4-5 -4 6PIM

After being held pointless in his previous five games (including two games this week) Markus picked up his first North American multi-point game against Mississauga. Markus finally got in the goal column when he took a pass, skated in and snapped a shot off to make it 1-1. Markus picked up an assist on the team’s next goal when he tipped a puck to Ryan Foss for his fourth of the season. For his two point night in the 5-4 overtime win, Markus was named the Hummazing Player of the Game and well…here’s the pic – enjoy folks.

Olivier LeBlanc-Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Season Stats 13GP 2-8-10 +18 36PIM

It was a light week for the Dogs – they played only two games this week. First up in a 6-2 win over Baie-Comeau, Olivier picked up two assists including Mitchell Dempsey’s first period power play goal and Justice Dundas’ second period goal. To close out the week against Quebec, Olivier was held pointless but he got into a first period fight against Nikolas Brouillard that would end Nikolas’ night when he earned a misconduct for his jersey not being tied down.

Quickly in Jackets QMJHL prospect news both Olivier and Julien Pelletier (who has gone cold as of late) were named to the QMJHL’s roster for the Subway Super Series against Russia. The games will take place on November 18th and 20th. They will join Dillon Heatherington who will play for Team WHL, the WHL games will be played on November 10th and 11th.

Peter Quenneville-Brandon Wheat Kings
Season Stats 14GP 3-12-15 -1 4PIM

Before the team’s game with Prince George, Peter got an upgrade in title. After wearing an A all season it was announced that Peter was named the team’s 57th captain following in the footsteps of other Jacket draft picks/Wheat King Captains Matt Calvert and Tim Konsorada. In his first game with the C, Peter kept his streak alive with two assists. Trailing 1-0, Peter went below the goal line and passed back to Rihards Bukarts who tied it. Peter’s second assist came on Ivan Provorov’s point shot in the 7-4 win.

Up next in a wild one, Peter earned two assists. The first came again from below the goal line when Peter found Bukarts to make it 3-3. Later in the game Peter started a tic tac toe play with Provorov who finished in an 8-5 win. Peter was held pointless in a 6-1 loss to Kelowna. That game snapped a seven game point streak in which Peter had collected 13 points.

Oliver Bjorkstrand-Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Season Stats 11GP 9-6-15 +6 10PIM

Oliver had his point streak snapped after seven games since he was returned from Columbus in a 3-1 win over Regina. But he returned to form picking up an assist against Swift Current on Paul Bittner’s first of the game (hard to tell if it’s even in the highlights). After another pointless game against Prince Albert, Oliver had a big game…ok period…against Saskatoon. In the third period with Portland leading 2-1, Chase De Leo broke up a clearing attempt and Oliver gathered the loose puck and fired a shot to make it 3-1. After a Miles Koules goal, Oliver struck again on the power play. A rebound came to Oliver who was below the goal line and he fired a shot that make it 5-1. Oliver finish with a hat trick that came off a great individual effort when he drove from the corner to the net after skating through three Blade defenders.

Dillon Heatherington-Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
Season Stats 14GP 1-4-5 -5 4PIM

In a loss to Portland, Dillon was held pointless before picking up an assist against Regina. In the 3-1 win, Dillon’s apple came on Carter Rigby’s game winning goal (don’t really see in the highlights). Dillon was held pointless in the rematch – a 2-1 Broncos win.

Mike Reilly-Minnesota (Big 10)
Season Stats 4GP 0-5-5 +6 4PIM

Mike and the Gophers hosted the Bemidji St Beavers and Mike picked up assists in each game. Seth Ambroz played in both games but earned no points while Ryan Collins only played Friday.

First on Friday, in a 5-1 Gopher win, Mike’s point shot was deflected by Hudson Fasching for his third of the season. On Saturday, Mike was acknowledged as the Gophers’ 33rd All American but Mike would rather acknowledge his teammates: “It was pretty special for sure,” Reilly said. “I knew coming into [the game] there was a little talk about [a ceremony] that’s the reason a lot of my family and friends came. It’s a great honor, but you’re playing with so many great guys night in and night out and they just make it easy. And each guy is making every other guy look good.” Reilly continued with “We’ve have great fans and I kind of owe it to them and the coaching staff so it was pretty cool to see. … I’m glad to be a part of this program.”

Mike’s first assist would come on Kyle Rau’s third of the season which gave the Gophers a 2-1 lead. Mike picked up his second assist and his 50th career point on Justin Kloos’ goal that made it 3-3 in a 5-3 victory.

Quickly, in a scrimmage, Tyler Bird played in his first NCAA game and picked up a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win over Dartmouth. The goal came off a re-direct.

Daniel Zaar-Lulea (SHL-Sweden)
Season Stats 15GP 3-8-11 +4 0PIM

After being held pointless in a game against Orebro Hockey, Daniel got back on the scoresheet against MODO. With the team trailing 3-0, Daniel sent a crossrink pass and found Chris Abbot who made it 3-1. Daniel was held pointless again in a 2-1 loss to Djurgarden.

Elvis Merzlikins-HC Lugano (National League A-Switzerland)
Season Stats 8GP 6-1-1 .900Sv% 2.93GAA

Elvis only played in one of the Panthers three games this week – a 5-4 win over HC Fribourg-Gotteron. In the 5-4 victory, his sixth of the season, he had 25 saves.

There you have it folks – another week in the world of Blue Jackets prospects. As for next week, we have a pair of matchups between the Jackets’ two QMJHL prospects, along with Tyler Bird and the Brown Bears finally getting going when they travel to West Point to take on Army in Tyler’s regular season debut.

 

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ LA http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/26/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-la/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/26/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-la/#comments Sun, 26 Oct 2014 23:26:34 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7018 Two thirds of the way through this game my mind was full of hockey thoughts…I had things all worked out in my head – yay Ryan Murray (please don’t get hurt), look at the team battling with 7 D and 11 F (please don’t get hurt), hey Letestu nice goal – we might do this […]

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Two thirds of the way through this game my mind was full of hockey thoughts…I had things all worked out in my head – yay Ryan Murray (please don’t get hurt), look at the team battling with 7 D and 11 F (please don’t get hurt), hey Letestu nice goal – we might do this (please don’t get hurt). And then Nick Foligno was injured in a freak accident where, while battling for the puck with Jeff Carter, his head collided with the hind shank of the linesman. After lying motionless on the ice, Foligno was stretchered off and was seen waving to the crowd. Later it was a relief to hear that per the Blue Jackets twitter, and via Jeff Rimer relating an update from President of Hockey Operations, John Davidson, that Foligno was not taken to a hospital and was having x-rays at the Staples Center. JD said that Foligno will be fine.

We’ll get to the three stars in a second but let’s make a few things clear first. (1) The injury to Foligno was not. Jeff. Carter’s. Fault. I’m a lot more ticked off he scored a goal against the Jackets then for what he did on that play. (2) Look at the linesman – his position (completely coincidental) is what causes the injury (3) We do not know if/when word of Foligno’s health update got to the team on the bench…and / or if it ever got to Bob who sits in net (obviously). Nick is a beloved member of this team – you have to believe seeing your teammate go down like that surely will rattle you. Before that injury, I was really invested on the outcome of the game, after the injury – honestly – not so much. Did it impact the team? Look at that long flatline in the third…and the impact on shooting rate after. You have to believe it did.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 7.00.14 PMAnd sometimes, we need to remember hockey is just a game…ok, rant over. Let’s get on to the three stars…

3rd Star: Tanner Pearson. Ok this is going to be a bit repetitive tonight. As “The 70’s line” as the Kings like to call it, swept the star rating tonight. So let’s get on with it. Pearson had two goals on three shots. That’s a pretty good day. And he was second in even-strength Corsi for the Kings tonight at +14 second only to….

2nd Star: Jeff Carter. Jackets fans don’t like Jeff Carter. But you can’t deny he is good at hockey. He led the team in Corsi at +15, and was quite frankly ridiculous with 1 goal, 3 assists for 4 points total. And, yes I’m going to repeat myself, if you’re going to be mad at Jeff Carter be mad he seemingly didn’t fit in Columbus, be mad he has two Cups, be mad he scored against the Jackets tonight – but you cannot be mad at him for Foligno’s injury.

1st Star: Tyler Toffoli. Gosh I wonder what would happen if you put these guys on a line together? <snark> Toffoli had your game-winner tonight in his matching scoreset to his buddy Carts going 1-3-4 on the night. Oh and he was +10 in Corsi. This line, man.

Game in One Picture – Coming soon

try

Stud: Scott Hartnell. I really like this guy. To watch what he brings both in play and attitude is a real asset to the team. Hartnell notched his 9th assist tonight – which ties him for the league lead by the way. He might have even had his tenth had Joey been able to crack the Jonathan Quick code on his breakaway – launched by Hartnell’s pass. And, while we’re not an advocate of fighting over here, there was some worry how the Jackets would go in to today’s game with all the injuries against the defending Stanley Cup champions. Scott Hartnell will not be deterred. Oh. And he will not take your s**t apparently either. While not something we want to see a lot, I think this helped set the tone for the Jackets going out into play. (Honorable mention goes to Tim Erixon for his first NHL goal).

Dud: BLOOD. Let’s recap this west coast swing – thank god it was only three games right? Game 1 – Matty Calvert loses half his mouth due to a stick check. Game 2 – in a freak accident, Cam Atkinson gets half his face sliced open with a skate. Game 3 – juuuust when you thought that Savvy’s split lip would be the extent of the injuries the team would face today, Foligno is stretchered off the ice. By the end of the game tonight, the Jackets were without (in no particular order): Nathan Horton, Brandon Dubinsky, Boone Jenner, Cam Atkinson, Matt Calvert and Nick Foligno. If Curtis McElhinney hadn’t rejoined the club, and Ryan Murray hadn’t played tonight you could add their names to the list. Think about THAT.

The Jackets return home tonight and Nick Foligno will be with them (per Aaron Portzline). This week has the team comfortably back home for a game against Ottawa Tuesday and the Maple Leafs Friday. The club is at .500 – which seemed to be the acceptable threshhold to be ok prior to the return of 17, 38, etc. Let’s see if the Jackets can’t start to earn some more points and get some more players back healthy and on ice.

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ ANA http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/25/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-ana/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/25/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-ana/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 05:09:23 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7011 Well that was ugly. As I tweeted earlier, the Blue Jackets looked like an Eastern Conference team who had just played San Jose the previous night. For every stride our skaters took, the Ducks took two. Truly a disappointing performance for nearly everyone on the ice. While I’d love to pump up Hartnell’s performance for netting […]

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Well that was ugly. As I tweeted earlier, the Blue Jackets looked like an Eastern Conference team who had just played San Jose the previous night. For every stride our skaters took, the Ducks took two. Truly a disappointing performance for nearly everyone on the ice. While I’d love to pump up Hartnell’s performance for netting his first goal of the campaign and seemingly being the only Jacket that knew where to send the puck (5 shots out of the Jackets’ 17) he gave me a few genuine “what was he thinking” moments such as the tripping call in the 3rd period. I’m not entirely sure I’d even call it tripping but when you leave your feet in an attempt to hit someone who no longer possesses the puck, get ready for a 2 minute timeout. The most disappointing aspect of the game was that we never really tested a shaky-looking Gibson. While I don’t think he came into this game obsessing over his so far unimpressive numbers, he clearly didn’t seem to develop a rhythm until late in the game. I can’t help but feel if we’d have thrown some more garbage at him, we could have snuck in a dirty goal or two. Enough complaining let’s see who the NHL dubbed the three stars of this mess:

3rd Star: Corey Perry

Corey Perry had shots. Corey Perry had an assist. Corey Perry opened the scoring to get things kicked off with a gorgeous sneak across the crease followed by a simple back hand. Solid game for one of the league’s elite. He earned his star tonight.

2nd Star: Devante Smith-Pelly

Halfway through the 2nd period I had already dubbed Smith-Pelly my #1 star of the game. He successfully got into the Jackets’ heads and was impacting play every time he was on the ice. Sure he may not have had 2 points like the number one star tonight but he was did a great job of acquiring the Jackets’ attention when it would have been better served to be paying attention to the puck.

1st Star: Sami Vatanen

For many writers an assist and the GWG is all they need to anoint someone the number one star of the game and in most cases that’s legit but as I said above, I’d anoint Smith-Pelly with that tonight. Nothing against Vatanen or his impressive performance tonight, I just disagree in this instance.

Game in One Picture

game7

Stud: Bobrovsky

His performance tonight was pretty non-spectacular but it wasn’t horrible either. He earns stud for the way he came off the ice congratulating and trying to lift the spirits of his teammates. It takes a real team guy to do that after he watched them flounder to find the opposing team’s net for 60 minutes. That impressed me.

Duds: Boll and Cracknell

You get two tonight. The first one is my fault. I made the mistake of mentioning today at lunch that Boll’s shown a little bit more promise this season by being a more complete player. Tonight he took a terrible roughing penalty when he decided to ride Vatanen into the net and his fight at the end of the 3rd was an embarrassment. What purpose did that serve? It wasn’t standing up for a teammate, there was no egregious hit on him by Stoner that needed dealt with, the game was over. It was time to ride out the rest of regulation, call it a night and start prepping for LA.

Regarding Cracknell: he’s not that good. The only thing I want on the ice less than Cracknell is a Cracknell with a diminished ability to skate. It was clear that he wasn’t at 100% after going into the boards awkwardly. Richards and staff should have had him hit the shower and start icing that ankle up. While some may have been impressed at him making his way back to the ice, I found it as senseless as Boll’s fight.

With I could leave y’all with a more optimistic perspective of that game but it was a stinker, plain and simple. Here’s to hoping the team makes the most of their time off between now and Sunday’s matinee puck drop in LA. Go Jackets!

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ SJ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/24/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-sj/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/24/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-sj/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 05:38:58 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=6991 Well that was a game. Maybe not the prettiest win in the world, but a win is a win, and a nice way to start off a west coast road trip. The Jackets looked like they were going to get blown out, getting dominated by the Sharks in the first period, and looking like the […]

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Well that was a game. Maybe not the prettiest win in the world, but a win is a win, and a nice way to start off a west coast road trip. The Jackets looked like they were going to get blown out, getting dominated by the Sharks in the first period, and looking like the weaker squad through the first half of the second. Strangely, once the Jackets took the lead, they also took control of the game for a while. Another slow start at the beginning of the third period setup a pretty wild final frame. Joe Pavelski tied it up, then Cody Goloubef committed one of the worst turnovers I’ve ever seen (how do you not take a look there) to Logan Couture who buried the go ahead goal. The Sharks seemed to take control of the game for the next few minutes until the Jackets managed to get some sustained pressure, drew a penalty, and then tied it up on the powerplay. Then the final minute and a half happened. Ryan Johansen scored a hat trick, let’s get that straight. The refs straight up blew that call. Nick Foligno was pushed into the crease, barely made contact with Niemi, then was out of the way of the goaltender when the shot was taken. Had he not been pushed in, or had he been making contact with Niemi still when the shot was fired, I’d have no issue with that call. But it was Joe Thornton interfering with Niemi, not Foligno. Fortunately, Mark Letestu let the refs off the hook a minute later with the game winner.

3rd Star: Mark Letestu

Two goals, including the game winner, 54% on faceoffs, a game high +10 corsi, and some damn fine penalty killing. That’s more than enough for the third star. Let’s backtrack to his first goal though. Holy what a pass by Artem Anisimov. Just a beautiful saucer pass right where it needed to be. Letestu had a nice finish on that one as well.

2nd Star: Joe Pavelski

Two goals for Pavelski, a game high six shots on net, 64% on faceoffs, team high +8 corsi, and 21:39 time on ice is a pretty solid stat line. Pavelski was arguably the Sharks best all around forward tonight, logging major minutes on the powerplay (5:36) and penalty kill (3:24), while generally getting paired up against the Johansen line. A pretty solid all around night from a player who I think is a little underrated (at least in terms of his two-way game). He’s one of those guys that isn’t necessarily flashy, but always does the right thing, and scares me every time he touches the puck in the offensive zone.

1st Star: Ryan Johansen

A first star doesn’t make up for missing out on his first career hat trick, but it will have to do. He wasn’t super dominant tonight, but he was successful when he needed to be. Getting matched up against Thornton (a surprisingly tough player to play against) and Pavelski can lead to a rough night though. Johansen led the Jackets forwards in time on ice as well, and playing the Sharks big guns to a draw is no easy feat. My favorite Rimer-ism of the night also concerned Johansen. Shortly after scoring his second goal, Rimer stated something to the effect of “how good would Johansen’s start to the season be if he didn’t miss training camp”. At this point in time, Ryan Johansen had 5 goals and 4 assists, for 9 points in 6 games. That is a 68 goal pace. That is a 55 assist pace. That is a 123 point pace. He’s pretty clearly not off to a slow start. He’s off to a start to basically double his career best in every category.  He’s not going to keep up a near 70 goal pace, but I wouldn’t put 40 out of question this year. I think he spent his training camp time shooting about a million pucks against a garage door (or a basement wall, or into a dryer, whatever), as his release has gotten just a touch deadlier this year. That in itself is probably worth a handful of goals.

game6

Dud: Jared Boll’s 1st Period Fight

That was some shameful stuff. There is really no excuse for what Boll did there. Desjardins really did not want to fight, and Boll had dropped the gloves and was throwing fists before Desjardins even really knew he was in a fight. Then Boll threw multiple punches, squarely landing one on the kisser, while Desjardins was down. I thought maybe at first glance that Boll was sticked by the one Sharks player behind him, turned around and found Desjardins (not the player who had originally been behind Boll) and decided to get some quick revenge. But the overhead replay made it pretty clear this wasn’t the case. Now I am not against all forms of fighting, but this kind of pointless fight is the kind that needs to go. The stick up for your teammate fights can be fantastic when warranted. But jumping someone who doesn’t want to fight, then continuing to punch him when he is down, well there is no place for that anywhere.

Stud: The Powerplay

I really like what they were doing during this game. Which is a little bit of everything. They presented a lot of different looks and were quite unpredictable (minus the stretch where Erixon and Savard passed it back and forth at the point about seventeen straight times). They attacked the box with regularity, had players moving all over the ice, and just generally caused chaos. They were constantly making the Sharks penalty killers look around and try and figure out who was where. A lot of movement is good, as it forces the defenders to move (which opens up space) and make decisions (which can really open up space). Too often in the past they would get obsessed with getting a shot for Wisniewski. That is great and all, but you can plan for that after so long. Scott Hartnell is a big part of this as well. He’s basically filled into Umberger’s spot on the powerplay, but Hartnell is a much more diverse player. Umberger was pretty much only capable of squatting down in front of the goalie. Hartnell does that too, but he can also slide up to the high slot as a one-timer option, and is craftier in the corners than RJ. This allows him to move to wherever spot best suits that particular moment, which opens up more options for everyone else. The Wiz-bomb is still there as an option (and a hell of an option), but it’s not the focal point anymore.

There it is. Jackets win. Jackets win. The left coast trip is in progress now, and off to a 1-0 start. If they can ramp up their 60 minute play, they might just come back from this one ahead in the win column. San Jose is a good team, and the Shark Tank is a tough place to come out with two points, and fortunately the Jackets were able to pull one out tonight. Now it’s crazy late, so I’m going to sleep. So you all tomorrow night, as the Jackets take on the Ducks in Anaheim.

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Goal Breakdown: Johansen Finds Some Space, and a Few Things Not To Do http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/22/goal-breakdown-2/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/22/goal-breakdown-2/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 01:16:48 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=6989 Welcome to the second Goal Breakdown of the season. I mentioned it at the top of the last post, but I will do it again here. This year I will be putting out a Goal Breakdown every Wednesday night, generally featuring one goal for the Jackets and one goal against, that will go through the […]

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Welcome to the second Goal Breakdown of the season. I mentioned it at the top of the last post, but I will do it again here. This year I will be putting out a Goal Breakdown every Wednesday night, generally featuring one goal for the Jackets and one goal against, that will go through the nitty gritty of what made that goal happen for the Jackets (good or bad). Last week’s Goal Breakdown post featured Cam Atkinson‘s goal against the Sabres, and Rick Nash’s goal during the Rangers game. This week will see a slight tweak, with all three goals against the Senators being quickly discussed, and a deeper look at Ryan Johansen‘s goal versus the Flames.

Erik Karlsson (on Curtis McElhinney) assisted by Clarke MacArthur

Don’t do this.

I need to hit this one first, even though it was goal number two. Just don’t. I mean. Like. I don’t have the words for how terrible this decision was by Nick Foligno. There is just no upside to this move. The best case scenario is that he breaks up the pass across the slot, the puck somehow doesn’t end up on a Senators player’s stick, and he takes out McElhinney. That is not a very good best case scenario. The bigger problem I have with it, it that he might have been able to stop that play had he stayed on his feet. Think about it. A sliding player is slowing down. A skating player is speeding up. He slid so early that he was starting to get back to his feet when he got to the net. Guess what happens if he just keeps skating? He’s on his feet, has more control of his stick and his body, and he’s probably able to knock that pass away, and possibly not take out CMac. Just a stupid boneheaded play. I am generally against leaving your feet ever, especially to block a pass, doubly especially when you are definitely going to take out your goalie doing so, and triply especially when you are a better than low chance of knocking the puck into your own net.

David Legwand (on Curtis McElhinney) assisted by Mike Hoffman and Chris Neil

If you are going to go out of position to pick up the puck, make sure you pick up the puck.

This goal looks pretty bad at high speed, as it looks like Dalton Prout is just running around not knowing what he is doing, or somehow doesn’t know that Legwand is behind him. But he knows, he just saw an opportunity to pick up the puck. He just misses it completely. Here’s the thing on that play: if Prout stays in his lane, he can still play the puck and Legwand if need be. He won’t get to play the puck cleanly, might have to just dump it out of the zone or into the corner, but Legwand won’t get an unfettered shot on goal. This move means he might be able to instantly breakout and send the Jackets on an odd man rush the other way, but if he misses, Legwand probably scores. There are some guys I am cool with making that decision. I am good with Ryan Murray making that decision (I trust him so much), and I expect it from Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski (those high risk, high reward plays are part of their games). I do not expect it from Prout, nor is that the kind of thing I would ever want to see him doing.

Mike Hoffman (on Sergei Bobrovsky) assisted by Chris Neil

Seriously, pick up the damn puck

Yes, the liney gets in the way of Johnson, and this goal probably doesn’t happen if Johnson has a clear lane. However, David Savard really needs to pick up that puck. Or don’t try and pick it up. Either of those moves is fine. He commits to the puck, and he at least guarantees they don’t immediately score on this rush. If he doesn’t make a move for the puck, then he has a one-on-one with back pressure from Johnson on Hoffman (meaning he can’t slow up or try a fancy move). Instead Savard half-asses the attempt to break it up, not getting enough of the puck to knock it away, but killing his gap control and allowing Hoffman the space to keep the puck away from Savard, and use his body to shield it from Johnson. Wouldn’t have minded a pokecheck attempt from Bob there either.

Ryan Johansen (on Karri Ramo) assisted by Nick Foligno and Cam Atkinson

Okay, so I like Jody Shelley (he was the Jackets most improved player last season, going from unlistenable to quite enjoyable), but he really said nothing in the replay that showed how this goal happened. This is a bit of a broken play, but that is part of what allows Ryan Johansen to get free. This goal is really a master class in the art of finding space. You hear people talk about it with guys like Steven Stamkos (the current best) and Brett Hull (the all time greatest), but you never really hear much of an explanation of what it is or how to do it. Johansen uses two key elements of it on this goal. Watch the goal again, but never take your eye off of Johansen.

JohansenFlames1

The first key here is the big loop. This is okay in this situation for a few of reasons. First, the Jackets have numbers back if the puck goes the other way. Second, it’s a power play, so any chip out will likely take a longer regroup anyway, so he’ll have time to get back. Third, it allows him to sneak out of the way. This is one of the best tactics for finding space. Skate yourself out of the play, to the point where no defender is watching where you are. Once they lose you, then you are free to sneak back into the play. The is done by going way out on the weak side (whether on the power play or not), as well as a forward in the high slot sneaking out of the zone, then curling back in. I like the little trick play where you start to head for the bench like you are changing, then reverse course and zip unchecked back into the zone. Also note the keep-in by Savard here, a real nice play to keep this alive.

JohansenFlames2

Foligno then tries to get the puck across to Johansen. This is another finding space move. Go so far out of the way that no one will cover you, but also so low that the goalie can’t track you with his peripheral vision. This move only works for guys with ridiculous accuracy, and the balls to be willing to try and roof it from a tight angle. Had this got across, Johansen was one-timing this with the intention of going shelf. Since Ramo doesn’t know where he is, and would need to get across quickly, you can all but guarantee he would have the bottom of the net covered. Johansen would either be scoring, or rimming the puck all the way around to Savard at the point (or back to the Jackets end, or maybe out of play).

JohansenFlames3

Now we have Johansen using two tools of finding space at once. He uses the chaos created here to slip in unnoticed. The Jackets attempt to use a tricky little move that both worked and didn’t work. The goal of the short pass to Cam and the touch pass back to Foligno is to draw everyone into Cam, then have them scramble back out after he immediately passes it away. It gets the defenders moving and creates gaps in the box that can be exploited. My guess is this was a set play that would have seen Foligno pass it to Cam, who touch passes to Foligno, who quickly passes to Savard, who slap-passes a shot backdoor to Johansen (as diagrammed above). Instead, the pass gets semi-broken up, the Flames are all very aware of this and not paying as much attention to other things, like weakside forwards. This allows Johansen to quickly move into the space opened up. That is the next key to finding space, moving quickly once you identify where the space will be. See the below screenshot, as Johansen is moving to a spot currently occupied by a defender, but won’t be once he gets there.

JohansenFlames4

Johansen sees the Jackets are going to win this board battle, and Foligno is headed down low with the puck. That means the defender in front will be moving lower to close out of Foligno, and since the other Flames are so far way, he’ll have a nice little space to take a shot from if Foligno can get him the pass.

JohansenFlames5

Now we have the final tool necessary to successfully find space: a quick release. He had to get this one off quick, as he only had that small gap for a fraction of a second, before all four Flames would have closed on him. Fortunately, he’s got a pretty quick release (looking quicker this season too), and was able to bury it past Ramo.

So that is the art of finding space. Get yourself lost, take advantage of chaos, identify where space will be before it opens up, accelerate there quickly, and get the shot off instantly. Easy as pie. Now you all have a good excuse for the big loops you take during your rec hockey games. I know it’s one I’ve used from time to time.

 

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CBJ Prospects Review (10/7-10/19) http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/20/cbj-prospects-review107-1019/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/20/cbj-prospects-review107-1019/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:53:19 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=6975 Hello all! I’m trying to get back to our normal prospect updates on Mondays schedule, so as we do, let’s  start off in Springfield (or Syracuse as it was) as the Falcons first two games were on the road against the Crunch. The Falcons had a light start to the season playing only one game […]

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Hello all! I’m trying to get back to our normal prospect updates on Mondays schedule, so as we do, let’s  start off in Springfield (or Syracuse as it was) as the Falcons first two games were on the road against the Crunch.

The Falcons had a light start to the season playing only one game then having to play a three-in-three the next week. Mike Hoeffel scored the first goal of the season when he potted the rebound of a Denny Urban point shot. Urban (who’s an ex-Ohio Junior Blue Jacket by the way) struck when he took a pass from Dana Tyrell and fired a shot from the dot making it 2-0. 1:29 later, ex-Jacket Michael Blunden made it 2-1. Ryan Craig closed out the scoring with an empty net goal to make it 3-1, Anton Forsberg made 21 saves in the win.

A week later in the rematch, a somewhat familiar face would open the scoring when Jonathan Marchessault got the first goal followed by Dana Tyrell tying the game seven minutes later off a deflection. Early in the second, Domenic Monardo picked up the rebound making it 2-1. The Crunch would score late in the second to tie it and top prospect Jonathan Drouin scored the game winner in his pro-debut. Anton Forsberg made 35 saves in the loss – his first in North America.

Saturday, in the team’s home opener, the Falcons fell to the Hershey Bears by a score of 4-1 with Domenic Monardo scoring the team’s only goal. Anton Forsberg made 26 saves and allowed an empty net goal.

To close out the weekend it was time for a Dansk Party as Oscar Dansk earned his first pro start against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Ryan Craig opened the scoring with some help from Sean Collins and TJ Tynan, (the assist was the first point of Tynan’s pro career). Domenic Monardo scored his third of the season. After the Tigers scored two, new signee Andrew Cherniwchan would score to make it 3-2. Harry Zolnierczyk would score with 13 seconds remaining to tie it and Anders Lee had the game winner with his second of the night 41 seconds into overtime. Oscar Dansk made 34 saves in his debut.

An important side note: Anton Forsberg was called up to Columbus postgame due to Curtis McElhinney being injured.

Blake Siebenaler-Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Season Stats 9GP 1-2-3 -2 5PIM
Since our last update, Blake and the Dogs have played six games. Blake has been pointless in the first three. For the next game, the IceDogs finally got to go home after a six game road trip as the brand new Meridian Centre was being completed and they did it in style. In the home opener against Belleville – Blake picked up an assist when Cody Payne scored to make it 6-4 off a scramble in front. Blake would go pointless in the team’s next two games.

Nick Moutrey-Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Season Stats 9GP 2-6-8 +1 8PIM

Starting off the week against London, Nick picked up an assist on Dylan Sadowy’s second of the game in a 3-2 shootout loss. Up next against Peterborough, Nick achieved his first multi-point game of the season with a goal and an assist. In the first, Nick won a board battle and got the puck to Jimmy Lodge who skated to the slot to make it 3-2 Petes. Later in the game, Nick scored the first of the Spirit’s two empty net goals when he outraced two Petes players and pulled off a wraparound to make it 5-3 in a 6-3 (10/12 game can’t link to video for some reason) Spirit win that they sealed with an empty net goal 49 seconds later. Nick was named third star in the win.

Nick earned another multi-point game in the next matchup against Markus Soberg and the Spitfires. With the Spirit trailing 4-1, Nick sent a cross-rink pass to Arty Art… I mean Artem Artemov who corraled the puck and fired a shot to make it 4-2. Nick’s second assist came on the Spirit’s fifth goal in a 8-5 loss.

Nick’s three game point streak was snapped in a shootout loss to Kitchener. Nick returned to the scoresheet with his second goal of the season in a 5-3 loss to Guelph.

Markus Soberg-Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Season Stats 9GP 0-3-3 -3 6PIM

In a game against Peterborough, Markus skated around the net and sent a pass to Chris Marchese who fired a shot to make it 1-0. The Spits would go on to win the game 5-4 in overtime. Markus would get points in back to back games for the first time this season when he picked up an assist in a 9-2 loss to Sarnia. Sarnia would roar out to a 8-0 lead and then, in the third, Markus skated out from the wall through the Sting to the net to take a shot with Mark Manchurek making it 8-1 Sting. Markus  be held pointless in the Spits next three games.

Julien Pelletier-Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)
Season Stats 13GP 5-7-12 -2 4PIM

Julien scored a goal in a 4-3 loss to Sherbooke. Pelletier’s wasthe one to make it 3-2. Julien was held without a point in the Eagles next five games, (sorry folks, no highlights for some reason).

Olivier LeBlanc-Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Season Stats 11GP 2-6-8 +16 31PIM
After being held pointless in a loss to Halifax, Olivierhad a night against Charlottetown when he picked up an assist and was a +4 in a 4-1 win. Late in the first, Olivier sprung Justice Dundas who scored on the breakaway for his first of the night. After no points in a blowout loss to Moncton, he’d pick up another assist in the rematch.

In a 7-1 win, Olivier earned an assist on Mathieu Joseph’s third period goal. The Sea Dogs loss to Moncton was their annual “Pink in the Rink” game in which Olivier served as the model for their pink jerseys. Olivier currently leads the QMJHL in +/-.

Peter Quenneville-Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Season Stats 11GP 3-8-11 -2 0PIM
After having only two assists in his first six games, Kings play by play man Bruce Luebke wrote about how a trip to Peter’s home province might get Peter going and boy did it. Starting off against Red Deer, in the second with the Kings trailing 4-2 Peter snapped a shot to make it 4-3 in a 6-4 Wheat Kings win.

Peter also opened the scoring in the Kings first regulation loss when Ryan Pilon sent a perfect pass to Peter on the doorstep (and to those who watch the highlights those are the Hitmen’s Bret ‘The Hitman” Hart 20th anniversary jerseys).

Up next against Edmonton, Peter picked up an assist. With Brandon trailing 3-0, Peter got the puck from a teammate, brought the puck in and passed to Rihards Bukarts. Bukarts would drop a pass to Eric Roy who fired a shot in what ended as a 5-2 loss.

When the Kings got back to Manitoba it was time for a CBJ prospect weekend with both Dillon Heatherington and Oliver Bjorkstrand coming to town. Against Swift Current, Peter picked up three assists in a 8-3 win, sorry don’t really see them in the highlights. In the following game, Peter had another three point night picking up a goal and two assists. Peter would pick up the two assists on the Kings first two goals; and then, in the second with the Kings leading 5-2 Peter tipped a Bukarts shot to make it 6-2 in a 10-3 Wheat Kings win.

Oliver Bjorkstrand-Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Season Stats 7GP 6-5-11 +3 6PIM
The Hawks have continued to struggle (not that Oliver is). In a 6-2 loss to Everett, Oliver picked up points on each of the Hawks goals including one he scored. In the first, trailing 1-0, Oliver took a pass from Chase De Leo in the slot to tie it at one. Later in the game with the Hawks trailing 3-1, Oliver stole the puck and found Nic Petan to make it 3-2.

In the first against Seattle, Oliver again stole puck from Ethan Bear and skated in through the defense to make it 1-0 in a 3-2 shootout loss. After the game, Hawks play by play man Andy Kemper tweeted this stat out “Oliver Bjorkstarnd has points in 100 of his 139 career WHL games – 50 single point games 50 multiple point games”.

After a 16 hour bus trip, the Hawks were in Moose Jaw for a game against the Warriors with Oliver picking up two goals and an assist. He was named first star. In a game mentioned above, Oliver picked up an assist in a 10-3 loss to Brandon when he took a cross-rink pass and started a tic tac toe play with Chase De Leo finishing it. It was announced before the Moose Jaw game that Oliver will be serving as an alternate captain this season after wearing an A since he was returned from Columbus.

Dillon Heatherington-Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
Season Stats 11GP 1-3-4 -5 0PIM

Dillon was held pointless against Victoria and Kelowna before picking up a point against Kootenay. In the 5-0 win over the Ice, Dillon earned the assist on Jake DeBrusk’s opening goal. After three games without a point, Dillon struck again – assisting on Carter Rigby’s second goal with the Broncos.

Seth Ambroz, Ryan Collins, Mike Reilly-Minnesota Golden Gophers (Big Ten)
Ambroz 2GP 1-0-1 2PIM
Collins 1GP 0-1-1 0PIM
Reilly 2GP 0-2-2 0PIM

The Gophers took part in the annual Icebreaker Tournament held in South Bend. In the tournament opener against rival Minnesota-Duluth, only Seth and Mike played and both were pointless. In the championship game against RPI, all three of the Jackets prospects scored and Seth had the game winner with Mike picking up an assist on the goal – Seth deflecting his point shot. In the second period, Ryan Collins picked up his first collegiate point when Sabres pick Hudson Fasching deflected his point shot to make it 2-0. Mike’s second assist came when he earned a point on brother Connor’s second of the night.

Daniel Zaar-Lulea (SHL-Sweden)
Season Stats 12GP 3-7-10 +5 0PIM

After five games without a point, Daniel found his way back to the scoresheet with a two assist night against Djurgarden. Daniel picked up an assist on Lucas Wallmark’s goal when he fed Wallmark who made it 1-1. Daniel also got an assist on Jonathan Granstrom’s extra attacker goal but the Bears would fall by a score of 4-3. Daniel was held pointless in a 2-1 loss to Frolunda, a game that had him playing his second fewest minutes of the season. Daniel currently sits tied for fourth in the SHL in scoring and he is tied for the league lead in shots on goal.

Quickly Joonas Korpisalo returned to the Lynxes lineup and served as the backup for their game with JYP, Joonas had missed the previous eight games.

Elvis Merzlikins-HC Lugano (National League A-Switzerland)
Season Stats 7GP 5-1-1 .905Sv % 2.79GAA 0-3-3 4PIM(Leads goalies in Pts and PIM)

Elvis opened up against Lausanne HC, his fourth of the season. Elvis make 26 saves again AND picked up an assist on Frederick Petersson’s second period goal – that’s three on the season for those of you keeping score. After a night off Elvis went back in the crease against Geneve-Servette HC. Elvis made 26 saves in the game along with stopping four of six in a 4-3 shootout win.

That wraps up the week in prospects action. We’ll be back again next Monday with more on how all the young Jacket hopefuls are doing.

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ OTT http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/18/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-ott/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/18/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-ott/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:53:14 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=6977 Is it me or did that game feel familiar to anyone who attended last night’s home game? Home team establishes early lead, away team breaks open the scoring in the 2nd half of the game, away team applies great pressure towards the end to threaten sending the game to over time. I agree with Richards […]

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Is it me or did that game feel familiar to anyone who attended last night’s home game? Home team establishes early lead, away team breaks open the scoring in the 2nd half of the game, away team applies great pressure towards the end to threaten sending the game to over time. I agree with Richards on his post-game comments that while we may not have gotten the results we hoped for tonight, the way the Jackets played is the blue print for future success. Let’s hope he and I are both right. 

3rd Star: Nick Foligno

Foligno was certainly a difference maker tonight and had a hand in both of the CBJ’s goals as well as the play that saw McElhinney leave the ice for the duration of gameplay with what I can only assume was a head injury. I’m sure Foligno would say that tonight was just like any other game but it’s always great to see a player get that extra gear when facing his old team. Nick was a force tonight.

2nd Star: Robin Lehner

With a merely average net minder in the crease tonight, we could have had an entirely different outcome tonight. I’m convinced that Wennberg is going to asked to identify Lehner out of a lineup to the Ottawa PD later this evening for absolutely robbing him of his first NHL goal. Lehner made great stops in the first 40 minutes of play and when the CBJ really started peppering him with shots in the 3rd, he stood tall. Hard not to be impressed with his performance tonight.

1st Star: Mike Hoffman

I’d be hard pressed to argue that any player with a 2 point evening where one is the GWG doesn’t deserve 1st star of the game. Sadly, watching the replay of Hoffman’s goal doesn’t necessarily leave me as impressed with his individual performance as depressed with Savard and Johnson’s play in front of him.

 

Game In One Picture:

game_5

Stud: Sergei Bobrovsky

Coming off the bench at the 7:02 mark of the 2nd period the night after putting in a solid outing is a big ask of any net minder. While I’m sure Bob would play 82 games given the opportunity, him getting rest on back-to-backs like this is a necessity. He came in, faced good scoring chances and allowed only the 1 Hoffman goal for the remainder of regulation. Fingers are crossed that McElhinney won’t be out long-term.

Dud: The Slow Start

An early 2 goal deficit can be deadly if you’re facing the wrong team. I’m glad the Jackets showed resiliency and dug their way out tonight but as they get ready to square away against some of the league’s best in California, this kind of deficit could prove insurmountable.

The Jackets are off until Thursday. There are rumblings that we could see Murray back in time for the California trip. If that happens, will it offer a shot in the arm for a banged up Jackets team looking to take on some of what the Western conference has to offer? I sure hope so. Carry the flag!

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CAL @ CBJ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/18/three-stars-game-one-picture-cal-cbj/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/18/three-stars-game-one-picture-cal-cbj/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 14:39:14 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=6971 Best I can say about that one is you can finally exhale, huh? Props to the Flames for catching the Jackets off of their game and turning what was on pace for a stomping into a potential comeback. Thankfully it wasn’t in the cards and the boys in Union blue eked out 2 points in […]

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Best I can say about that one is you can finally exhale, huh? Props to the Flames for catching the Jackets off of their game and turning what was on pace for a stomping into a potential comeback. Thankfully it wasn’t in the cards and the boys in Union blue eked out 2 points in front of a good crowd. (Which I was able to see tonight thanks to the amazing @SirChadlyOC. You guys that get to go to these every week? I’m so jealous.

3rd Star: Jack Skille

Skille was on point tonight, making a great connection off Letestu’s pass in the first period and also had a second solid chance later in the game. For what appeared to be the “energy line” tonight Skille and his line-mates were all over the ice and did their job well, and Skille would be higher up on the list if it wasn’t for Letestu playing equally as well.

2nd Star: Mark Letestu

Letestu did an amazing job at center, securing a 79% face off percentage and making very crisp, very accurate passes all night. The best one was the first, a wicked cross-crease pass to Skille to open the scoring up early; doing exactly what the Jackets would want after Tuesday’s downer of a tilt against the Stars.

1st Star: Matt Calvert

OK, so, this probably should be Mark Letestu. Calvert’s goal, as much it was a reward from his hard work all game, was stolen. RUTHLESSLY, from No. 55. He drew a penalty and did a splendid job chasing pucks into the corners: something the Jackets did from seemingly every line and every shift. Hats off to his line, again. They were the difference this game.

Game in One Picture

game4 

Stud: The Start

The Jackets came out flying, scoring 2 goals before the 1st period hit the 10 minute mark. I thought they were going to make this an unobtainable game before the horn sounded. Passes were hitting their targets and the CBJ were consistently in the right place at the right time to make plays. It was beautiful to watch, they were outclassing the Flames in almost every category. (The visitors didn’t get a shot until around 10 minutes into the game.)

Dud: The Finish

“Finish” taken a little leniently here but save for the 3rd goal the Jackets played a little lax and flat. I didn’t expect this to be a competitive game after 20 but I was biting my fingers hoping for the win with 10 left. Save for the last two minute scramble when the Flames pulled their netminder I was wondering if they still felt like they should be making defensive plays.

They barely won, but in 4 months all you’re going to remember is that they won. Perhaps with a game tomorrow in Ottawa energy conservation was on their minds, and it almost bit them in the ass in the last frame. Shame Bobrovsky didn’t make it to the 3 stars board because as important as scoring is, Bob (stop me if you’ve heard this) made some good shots and played well.

Carry the Flag!

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