The Union Blue http://www.theunionblue.com Sat, 29 Nov 2014 03:08:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Three Stars and Game in One Picture: VAN @ CBJ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/28/three-stars-game-one-picture-van-cbj/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/28/three-stars-game-one-picture-van-cbj/#comments Sat, 29 Nov 2014 03:08:31 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7139 Well. The Jackets fell 5-0 at home on Black Friday to the Vancouver Canucks. It was a weird game. If you’re a possession stat person, the Jackets played well and competitively on paper. Take a look at this shot chart: If you compare this to recent Jacket games, it’s the best the CBJ have done […]

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Well. The Jackets fell 5-0 at home on Black Friday to the Vancouver Canucks. It was a weird game. If you’re a possession stat person, the Jackets played well and competitively on paper. Take a look at this shot chart:

Per 3-WoI-VAN

If you compare this to recent Jacket games, it’s the best the CBJ have done in hanging with an opponent and staying equal or better in offensive output – especially through the first two periods. But as Nick Foligno said in post-game interviews, the team doesn’t seem to have the confidence to survive getting scored against, and the goals against rained down in the third.

Let’s take a look at the three stars courtesy of NHL.com:

3rd Star: Nick Bonino. This is what happens when you have a pretty even game but then the score is so completely lopsided you have to think there’s no way you can vote in one of the hometown guys who just got shut out, I think. Because, OK, Bonino played well but he wasn’t even their best center in my opinion not even winning half his faceoffs. And yes, he had three assists, but the goals this evening seemed so flukey give me a Vrbata play over Bonino. But whatever. Who else are you going to pick?

2nd Star: Chris Higgins. Again. I feel like this is a choice that is made to honor rules of star voting. Higgins gets the game winner. Thus, a star is awarded. But again, who else do you pick? (OK, I promise, this is the last time I’ll use this phrase)

1st Star: Ryan Miller. This guy. What a journey, right? Leaves Buffalo. Goes to St. Louis, leaves unceremoniously and ends up in Vancouver and is now part of the winning ways this crew is building. Miller most certainly deserves this honor tonight. He stopped all 31 CBJ shots, gets the shut out and was the biggest piece of the puzzle in putting the cork in the bottle of the Jackets’ hopes. Big stops on Foligno, Jenner…and, back to Foligno’s quote mentioned earlier, the belief faded and the Jackets became the catnip that the Canucks toyed with for the final 20.

Something entertaining in visual media coming soon courtesy RockmanHalo

Stud. Derek Dorsett. Now now, bear with me. This is not some random fan-girl pandering. This is acknowledgement that I legitimately laughed out loud when he was tossed / self-ejected into the Blue Jackets bench. OF COURSE only Derek Dorsett would do something like that. The guy was always memorable on Nationwide ice and he did it again tonight. Let’s relive the moment in this great gif courtesy of @MyRegularFace. And seriously, this may have been the happiest Jackets fans were all night.

Dud. Spitting in the face of analytics. Tonight had the Jackets putting up some of the best possession stats they had in a while. As these data points are simply to be used as probability measures, it seemed that the CBJ might have a good shot at winning. But the third period meltdown assured everyone that even with winning the possession battle, both at All strengths and Even strengths, and “winning” the penalty battle (2 CBJ penalties to 3 for the Canucks) wasn’t enough. Finding a new way to lose was a frustrating outcome of tonight’s game.

There’s not a lot of time to wallow in this one (hopefully). The Jackets are en route to Nashville tonight. They face off against a good Predators team and simply have to find a way to win. There’s no two ways about it – regardless of the hand that has been dealt, these are the players that can play, so onward we go.

Carry the Flag!

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: WPG @ CBJ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/26/three-stars-game-one-picture-wpg-cbj/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/26/three-stars-game-one-picture-wpg-cbj/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 05:09:09 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7135 I didn’t watch the Blue Jackets game tonight. I doubt I can even stomach the box score. The Jackets gave up a goal in the first nine effing seconds and then managed to get it back with a powerplay goal. They took a period off for what seems like the 20th game in a row and lost […]

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I didn’t watch the Blue Jackets game tonight. I doubt I can even stomach the box score. The Jackets gave up a goal in the first nine effing seconds and then managed to get it back with a powerplay goal. They took a period off for what seems like the 20th game in a row and lost 4-2. The L’s are piling up faster than Lori Schmidt questions at a Scott Arniel press conference. I said give them 10 games and the Jackets look like taking the rescue line of optimism and strangling themselves with it.

The good news is that we care. If we didn’t…if we were complacent? When you’re surprised when the Jackets come out with 2 points? That’s when you push the panic button. You’re free to push that personal one whenever you want. Myself? I made my ultimatum and I’m going to stick to it.

game21

 

Carry the Flag.

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November 17-23 CBJ Prospect Week in Review http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/25/november-17-23-cbj-prospect-week-review/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/25/november-17-23-cbj-prospect-week-review/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:00:38 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7118 Hello all! Time again for the CBJ prospect week in review! Starting off in Springfield as we usually do the Falcons faced off against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the first time since their brawl filled game last week. Kerby Rychel opened the scoring 1:27 into the game with Dana Tyrell and Michael Chaput assisting […]

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Hello all! Time again for the CBJ prospect week in review!

Starting off in Springfield as we usually do the Falcons faced off against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the first time since their brawl filled game last week. Kerby Rychel opened the scoring 1:27 into the game with Dana Tyrell and Michael Chaput assisting (remember this trio you’ll be hearing this a lot tonight). Later in the first, Sean Collins scored his second penalty shot goal in a row giving him six on the year. Two minutes later, Rychel, Chaput and Tyrell struck again and gave the Birds a 3-0 lead going into the first intermission. After a Sound Tigers goal in the second, Michael Chaput scored on the power play early in the third. Then, Lukas Sedlak scored a few minutes later to give the Falcons a 5-1 lead before Ryan Pulock would do what he does best – scoring on the power play making it 5-2. Anton Forsberg made 23 saves for his fourth win of the season.

On Saturday the Baby Bears came to town and the Bruins took an early 1-0 lead before Mike Hoeffel scored his first goal since opening night. Just over a minute later Sean Collins scored with TJ Tynan and Austin Madaisky picking up assists. After another Bruins goal, just a minute later Austin Madaisky got his first of the night late in the first. In the second period Madaisky struck again marking his first two goal game as a pro. Midway through the third, TJ Tynan picked up his third point of the night.  Anton Forsberg would make 24 saves in the win.

To close out the weekend it was another game with the Providence Bruins. Oscar Dansk saw his first game action since November 11th and, well, it wouldn’t last long as he was pulled after allowing four goals on six shots. Dansk was only in net for 4:11. Austin Madaisky scored his seventh goal of the season late in the first before Sean Collins tied the game one minute into the second period. Marko Dano scored his first with the Falcons 1;14 later. Madaisky made it back to back two goal games with his goal midway through the second period. Providence did pot another one late in the second to make to 4-3 before Corey Cowick would score his fourth to make it 5-3. Providence did have one more score in the third. Anton Forsberg made 19 saves in relief for his sixth win of the season. Ex Falcon Jeremy Smith took the loss for the Bruins. The Falcons have swept their last two weekends giving them one of the longest winning streaks in the AHL at the moment.

Sonny Milano-Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Season Stats 12GP 3-15-18 -7 4PIM

Sonny and the Whalers had three games this week and Sonny was held pointless in a 4-3 shootout loss to Erie including through the shootout. Up next against Guelph. in a 9-3 blowout loss Sonny picked up two assists. In a 2-1 win over Blake Siebenaler and the Ice Dogs, Milano did earn his 15th assist.

Nick Moutrey-Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Season Stats 22GP 11-15-26 +2 25PIM

Nick got some good news on Monday of this week as it was announced that he will serve as the Spirit’s captain for the rest of the season. Also, last week the Spirit traded one of their top forwards which will likely lead to even more icetime/opportunities for Nick.

Opening up the week against Niagara, Nick was the hero when he scored the game winner of a 2-1 win with only 1:33 remaining, for his efforts Moutrey was named third star. Nick was held pointless in a 7-1 loss to Erie on Saturday.

On Sunday against Sarnia, Nick again was a star – picking up a point on all three Spirit goals in a 5-3 loss. Nick opened the scoring with his second shorthanded goal and set a new personal high. Nick picked up an assist on Tye Felhaber’s third of the season and Nick scored his second of the game to give the Spirit a 3-2 lead before the Sting notched three straight to win 5-3. Nick was named second star in the loss. The two goal game was his third in his last eight games.

Markus Soberg-Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Season Stats 22GP 2-6-8 -7 6PIM

Markus and the Spitfires started out the week welcoming the Sarnia Sting to the WFCU Centre with Markus snapping a three game pointless streak. In the second period trailing 3-0, Markus skated in and centered a pass that the Sting player couldn’t gather. This allowed Slater Doggett to get the puck and score his seventh of the season in a 5-3 loss. Markus would be held without a point in a loss to Kitchener and a blowout loss to London.

Peter Quenneville-Brandon Wheat Kings
Season Stats 22GP 5-19-24 E 6PIM

Peter was held pointless in a game against Swift Current before picking up an assist in two games against the Oil Kings. In the 7-4 win, with the Wheaties leading 6-4, Peter sent a cross-crease pass to Quinitin Lisoway to make it 7-4. In the rematch, Peter again picked up an assist on the final goal with this one being a bit more significant. In overtime, tied at four, Peter passed the puck to Ivan Provorov who sent a cross-rink pass to Tim McGauley coming in fresh off the bench to skate in and score to win it.

Oliver Bjorkstrand-Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Season Stats 21GP 13-15-28 +7 14PIM

Oliver and the Hawks opened up the week against the Kamloops Blazers. In the 4-1 loss, Oliver picked up an assist on Keoni Texeira’s goal in the second period. Up next was a weekend back-to-back with Kelowna which included a game on national television. In the second period trailing 3-0, Oliver sent a pass to Alex Schoenborn who found Chase De Leo in the slot. Late in the second, Oliver sent another pass to Layne Viveiros whose point shot was stopped sending the puck into the air. Schoenborn was waiting (so it wouldn’t be a high stick) and scored to make it 3-2 in a 4-3 overtime win.

In the rematch Oliver hit a career milestone when, in the second leading 1-0, Oliver skated into the zone and the Rockets goalie didn’t even move as Oliver slid the puck into the net for his 13th goal of the season and 200th career point in his 155th career game (94-106-200). The Winterhawks would go on to win the game 4-3.

Dillon Heatherington-Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
Season Stats 24GP 1-9-10 -8 15PIM
Dillon and the Broncos opened the week with a 5-0 win over Peter Quenneville and the Wheat Kings although Dillon was held pointless. Up next against Prince Albert, fresh off mascotgate, Dillon earned his first point in four games. In the second trailing 3-0, Dillon fired a shot that Jake DeBrusk tipped to make it 3-1 in a 6-2 loss. Up next in a wild game with Saskatoon, Dillon notched three assists including one on the game winner in an 8-7 overtime win. (sorry folks, hard to tell any more details from the highlights)

Daniel Zaar-Lulea (SHL-Sweden)
Season Stats 23GP 3-10-13 -2 8PIM

Daniel and the Bears opened the week against Brynas and in the 7-2 loss Daniel picked up an assist. In the third, trailing 4-1, Daniel found Jonathan Granstrom from behind the net to make it 4-2. In the loss Daniel played his fewest minutes of the season. Daniel was held pointless in Lulea’s other two games last week.

Elvis Merzlikins-HC Lugano (National League A-Switzerland)
Season Stats 13GP 10-2-1 .910Sv% 2.72GAA

Elvis and the Panthers played three games this week although Elvis did not play until the last game of the week. In a 4-3 overtime win – in which the game winner was scored with just a second left – Elvis made 25 saves for his 10th win of the season.

There you have it folks – another week in the world of CBJ prospects. As for next week the Gopher Boys hope to get off the schnied as they travel to Boston for games against Sonny Milano and…oh right umm against Boston College and Northeastern. Meanwhile in the OHL, Windsor has a trio of prospect matchups as they’ll play Saginaw and two against Sonny Milano and Plymouth.

 

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Thoughts on the financial risks athletes face http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/23/thoughts-financial-risks-athletes-face/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/23/thoughts-financial-risks-athletes-face/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 01:53:51 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7123 Last week, a story broke sharing the unfortunate details of Jack Johnson’s financial situation. Often, it’s easy for people to perceive athletes as invincible and when something like this happens there are often a variety of opinions ranging from great empathy to malaise to condemnation. In an effort to take a deeper look at the […]

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Last week, a story broke sharing the unfortunate details of Jack Johnson’s financial situation. Often, it’s easy for people to perceive athletes as invincible and when something like this happens there are often a variety of opinions ranging from great empathy to malaise to condemnation. In an effort to take a deeper look at the financial risks that professional athletes face, we spoke to a local fee-only financial planner. This planner has no direct knowledge of Jack Johnson’s situation but has worked with professional athletes from a variety of sports. As a fee-only planner, this individual has focused their practice on providing objective advice on all aspects of a client’s financial health including income planning, net worth planning, investment planning, business planning, insurance, retirement, dependent planning and estate planning. This planner is not associated with any financial institution and does not sell any products or receive commissions.

The team at Union Blue submitted a list of questions that hopefully will share deeper insight on not only the Jack Johnson situation but also on the challenges that all athletes who come into great amounts of money face.

***Please note that this content represents one adviser’s opinion. This article in no way presumes to know the specifics of Jack Johnson’s situation or play of action and should not be considered as such. The content herein is NOT financial advice and should not be construed as such***

1. How common is it for athletes to find themselves in a situation where someone is trying to take advantage of them financially?

Unfortunately it is very common.  Their contracts are very public information and that makes them an immediate target, as there are plenty of people out willing to sell them a bad deal to make a quick buck for themselves.

2. How common is it for someone who is related to the athlete to try to take advantage of the athlete financially?

This is another common occurrence.  There are so many emotions involved when a person receives a large sum of money, whether it’s a professional athlete, lottery winner, or a family inheritance.    When this occurs, close friends or relatives may expect to be compensated for “all the years”.  The windfall recipient (in this case, the athlete) may also feel obligated to help out, sometimes out of guilt.

3. In your opinion, what kind of advisers does an athlete need?

They should have an agent, attorney, accountant and financial planner.  None of these advisers should work together, or for the same firm.  They should always be evaluating the other’s work, on behalf of their client.  This adds a level of protection where they are all looking over each other’s shoulder.  An understanding how each is compensated should also be known, where there are no conflicts of interest.

4. $15MM (the amount Johnson reported lost) *sounds* like a lot of money – how much is it really to an athlete who will not have those kind of earnings for his entire life?

Every situation is different, so I will have to list generalities.  If the dollar amount named is pre-tax (as in the reports the $15 MM seems to be), you have to account for taxes and agent fees first being drawn against that gross amount.  That would be close to 40%-50% of each paycheck. After those calculations, let’s assume $9MM remains (40% tax and agent fees).  For purposes of this discussion, let’s assume an athlete purchases a $1MM house (or other such similar transaction).  Even if (s)he pays cash the cost of ownership of an asset of that price is approximately $5,000/month ($60k-$75k/year) with taxes, utilities, upkeep.  Let’s also assume an athlete chooses to have a family. Kids born in 2014 can cost as much as $500k for 18 years (or $2,315/month), particularly if the kids live the same flamboyant life style as they may see their parents live, with expenses at a country club, a college education, and a wedding.  With that kind of thinking in place, one is already looking at costs for a home and ONE child of ~$7500 per month before paying for food, and other day to day costs. When an athlete makes assumptions of expensive cars, travel, clothing, they often plan for a lifestyle based on earning their contract all the way until age 65.  Unfortunately, most athletes retire around age 35.

The general rule of thumb is you can live on 4% of your savings and have those investments maintain their level.  The lifestyle listed above easily can cost $300,000 – $400,000 per year, which would require close to $10MM earned (in their portfolio) to compensate for the shortened earning lifespan.

5. Are there common financial mistakes you see athletes make?

Most go after all the “things” they coveted as a kid, such as a sports car, or an  expensive house.  Often we see them open a business as a perceived “investment”, such as a restaurant, or car dealership.  It’s as simple as they throw around their money because, at the moment, there is plenty of it.

6. What is a power of attorney, and what should one consider before signing one?

A Power of Attorney is a document that appoints an agent to act on his, or her, own behalf.  One is giving another person the power to act in conducting the signer’s business, including signing papers, checks, title documents, contracts, handling bank accounts and other activities in the name of the person granting the power. There are different levels of Power of Attorney, as they can be limited.  Before signing a Power of Attorney one must be certain there is a clear understanding of what authority is being allowed.

7. Obviously we don’t know the details of the case, but are there any things you can see that Jack can do to protect himself right now or going forward?

At this point Jack needs to “reset” and start over.  We still don’t know the details on how much of his future contract was monetized, or if the bankruptcy voided those transactions.  A bankruptcy attorney is better suited to answer those questions.  Unfortunately, this was a costly lesson for Jack.  Moving forward he should keep it simple and avoid elaborate investments.  He should also look for transparency, where he understands how and where his money is being invested.

8. What can the non-millionaire learn from this experience and apply to their own finances?

First and foremost, always keep control of your finances.   For any investment product, ask the questions “how much control am I giving up?” and “How easily can I get out of the investment and get my money back?” There are many common products out there, such as annuities, where you ultimately are giving up control of your money in exchange for a future promise. It is essential to understand exactly what risk comes with whatever promised reward.

9. Is there typically a correlation between how ‘hands-on’ an athlete is with their money versus their long term success? Basically if they leave it to a pro and don’t touch it, does that tend to pay off long term?

Without a doubt, there is a direct correlation.  My Grandfather once told me the more you have, the harder it is to manage it.  Those who invest their own time into their personal financial plan are destined to be more successful, no different than a diet, or exercise routine where results are based on time invested to achieve the goal.

10. Any Other comments…

Most people will look at a professional athlete and scoff at them, when they go through financial difficulties.  Finances are all relative as it’s often emotion that drives our financial decisions.  We all have needs, wants and wishes and think we need to filter them accordingly.  Unfortunately our culture is based on wanting to spend and live in excess (remember this on Black Friday).  Our “wishes” become wants and “wants” become needs, such as the latest technology, or toy.  The next time you receive the big bonus, or cash windfall look at what was actually saved. Its not what you make, its what you save that will ultimately determine your financial success long term.

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ PHI http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/23/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-phi/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/23/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-phi/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 13:10:50 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7114 *Sigh* The Blue Jackets arrived in Philadelphia with freshly activated forwards Boone Jenner, Matt Calvert and Jack Skille and a teaspoon of momentum carrying them after succumbing to the Boston Bruins in an extended round shootout the night before. The Philadelphia Flyers had come in losing their last 4 in a row. Both teams, naturally, […]

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*Sigh*

The Blue Jackets arrived in Philadelphia with freshly activated forwards Boone Jenner, Matt Calvert and Jack Skille and a teaspoon of momentum carrying them after succumbing to the Boston Bruins in an extended round shootout the night before. The Philadelphia Flyers had come in losing their last 4 in a row. Both teams, naturally, desperately needed the pick-me-up of a win against a divisional rival…and the Flyers managed to get it without much fight from the CBJ.

3rd Star: Jakub Voracek

Jake continues the blistering pace of scoring this season, putting in nothing spectacular yet showing the beauty of what can happen when you put pucks on net. That’s the kind of play that seems to have escaped the Jackets these last few games: the puck luck (or positioning consistency) that lead to weird deflections and juicy rebounds and tip-ins.

2nd Star: Claude Giroux

Giroux gets a spot above his buddy Jake for his domination of the faceoff dot. The box score says 23/28 went his way and we’re left with another thing the Jackets have let slip. The Jackets lost 85% of their face-offs in the offensive zone, which is laughable compared to Philly’s percentage clocked at 59…59 percent!

1st Star: Braydon Coburn

Coburn’s late 3rd period goal was a lawn mower taken to the Blue Jackets’ sprouting rally. It was a brilliant rip from the middle of the slot and how anyone in a white jersey let him get that open speaks to the “casual” nature of game Todd Richards remarked about.

Game in One Picture

game20

Stud: The Cavalry

Man, it’s good to see them again, isn’t it? Jenner’s goal was a clutch tally on the powerplay and Skille and Calvert’s rush down the ice early in the third was a thing of absolute splendor. It’s hard to see the returning names and faces producing like that in their first few games back and seriously say to yourself that the Blue Jackets don’t have a chance to turn it around and salvage the season.

Dud: Faceoffs

The Jackets didn’t have over a 45% tilt at any end of the ice in the faceoff category last night, winning a paltry 15% in the Flyers end and a troubling 43% in their own. (In fact, Philly’s first goal came almost immediately off of the draw.) It’s something I’ve seen breaking down lately and if you can’t win control of the puck you’re not going to give yourself appropriate chances to score. If there’s one thing that I’d like to see immediately change in their game against the Jets on Tuesday it’s the quality of their faceoffs.

We’re reaching a critical point in the Blue Jackets’ 2014-2015 season. We’re in a twilight of sorts here: the Jackets have enough people back that they should be winning games and looking like the Jackets of last year that played solid more nights than not and managed to comfortably punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, are the Jackets too far gone? I’d like to think not. Rather, I think the Jackets have a chance to really turn themselves around, starting Tuesday. To me, the outcome of these next 10 games will determine what route I see the rest of the campaign taking: win at a .500 or better clip and I think they’ll be able to regain a foothold.

Or else.

Carry the Flag!

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: BOS @ CBJ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/22/three-stars-game-one-picture-bos-cbj/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/22/three-stars-game-one-picture-bos-cbj/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 04:03:59 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7111 Ah, the 1 point game. Depending on how you feel this is a glass half full or glass half empty scenario. The problem is the Blue Jackets are parched for points at the moment and anything less than 2 points has to be considered a let down. The CBJ played what may have been 20 […]

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Ah, the 1 point game. Depending on how you feel this is a glass half full or glass half empty scenario. The problem is the Blue Jackets are parched for points at the moment and anything less than 2 points has to be considered a let down. The CBJ played what may have been 20 of their best minutes of hockey to open the game which was a welcome sight after so many slow starts as of late. While I don’t think anyone was surprised by the shot in the arm that the return of Skille and Calvert seemed to give the team, I was very happy with the newest members of our defensive corps in Jordan Leopold and Kevin Connauton. While it was disappointing to watch a 2 goal lead evaporate after a goal that Bobrovsky will be having nightmares about for months to come, seeing the team rally and tie it to force OT gave the fans in attendance something to cheer about. Now for tonight’s threes stars:

 

3rd Star: Nick Foligno

How many different ways are there to praise Foligno’s work ethic and play? I feel like I’m starting to sound like a broken record. The guy personifies the Blue Jackets brand of hockey. Tough, ugly goals by getting to the dirty parts of the ice. Foligno added two more points (1G, 1A) this evening to his already impressive campaign while also leading the team in +/-. You can’t help but feel like this guy’s decided to write the terms of his own contract.

2nd Star: Ryan Johanson

Johanson had yet another impressive evening with 3 points (1G, 2A) tonight. His unassisted goal was the result of having his stick in the right place at the time, getting a jump on the defender.

Ryan contributed on both of the other goals with great puck movement and I know it’s ludicrous to be so critical of a player who contributed to all three goals on the evening but I’d really love to see Joey step up his play when the puck is behind him. From my seats, once he’s beat, he tends to coast and make minimal effort to catch up to the play. I know, I’m looking a 3-point gift horse in the mouth but I feel like this is a development that’s just come about this season and I’d love to see it nipped in the bud before it becomes the new norm.

1st Star: Alex Khokhlachev

This pick seems to have come from someone of the school of thought that GWG equals automatic first star. I’m not of that school of thought so I have little to say here except for up until his goal in the shootout, Khoklachev was unremarkable. He had 1 hit and 9:33 time on ice. Congrats on the youngster for playing a key role in getting his team the 2nd point on the road on an evening where goal tenders were stingy.

Game in One Pic Coming Soon

Studs: It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the way Skille and Calvert play and anyone who wonders why I heap so much praise on those two need look no further than their play tonight. They skated fast, they stick-handled well and moved the puck confidently throughout the ice. While not a marquee name like Horton or Dubinsky, I see both of these guys playing a large role in any righting of the ship.

Dud: The dry scrape. Thank goodness I’ve seen it for the last time in Nationwide Arena. The crowd was rocking at the end of regulation, still abuzz from Johnson’s game tying goal with 7 minutes to go and then 5 minutes of a dead arena for the dry scrape. Good bye and good riddance.

The Blue Jackets return to the Wells Fargo center tomorrow to face the struggling Philadelphia Flyers. A win in Philly would see the Jackets tied with the Flyers for 6th in the Metro. Do the CBJ have what it takes to make that leap? We’ll see. Until then, Carry the Flag!

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: DET @ CBJ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/19/three-stars-game-one-picture-det-cbj-2/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/19/three-stars-game-one-picture-det-cbj-2/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:53:03 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7108 The Blue Jackets fans were riding as high a high they could have Tuesday night when the club took on the Detroit Red Wings. The Jackets have been dominant against their rivals from up north the last few years, and the Jackets  seemed rejuvenated after breaking their losing streak and taking 4 points against the […]

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The Blue Jackets fans were riding as high a high they could have Tuesday night when the club took on the Detroit Red Wings. The Jackets have been dominant against their rivals from up north the last few years, and the Jackets  seemed rejuvenated after breaking their losing streak and taking 4 points against the Flyers and Sharks. The excitement didn’t last long, however. After a goal midway through the 1st period the Red Wings pulled ahead and never looked back. 

3rd Star: Tomas Jurco

Honestly, Jurco was the first Wing to beat Bobrovsky cleanly. It was on a screen, but still cleanly. Until that point the Wings were playing the “pass off the pads” game pretty hard, and it was Jurco’s goal that put the 3 goal lead in place and pretty much ended any hopes of a comeback in Nationwide Arena.

2nd Star: Tomas Tatar

Tatar’s goal was the game winner, which is why I guess he’s the 2nd star. I didn’t notice anything spectacular about his play, and I’m not going to compliment his skill set tapping in a rebound.

1st Star: Jimmy Howard

I don’t agree with Howard being 1st star at all. If anything, regardless of the score Bobrovsky deserves recognition for the amazing effort he put into each second of each minute of the game. Bob was struggling through the at times comical Columbus defense and the most Howard had to put up with was a few shots from the slot. The Jackets would have put 5 up on Howard if their puck luck was as decent as the Wings’ was last night…no doubt about it.

Game in One Picture

goalinko

 

Stud: Effort

As bad as the game was, I have to admit that the Jackets didn’t stop trying until the horn ended the game. They weren’t crisp, they weren’t making good entries into the zone, their powerplay was abysmal…but I honestly believe that the Jackets were making a solid effort all game. A couple bounces a different way and they’re out of this laugher on top.

Dud: Zone Entries

All night, whatever the Wings were doing, it seemed nigh impossible for Columbus to mount a decent start into the offensive zone. When the Jackets did have good positioning in the Detroit end it was because of a faceoff win. It squashed momentum and eliminated any powerplays the ever-disciplined Red Wings gave up. (A runner-up to this is Brendan Smith’s fight with Foligno. Why did he take such offense to that hit and why didn’t he get the book thrown at him for instigating?)

All in all, it was a bad night for the Blue Jackets, and the overall forgettable stretch of hockey stretches on longer. The Jackets get a chance for redemption though, as a struggling and injured Bruins team comes into Nationwide on Friday night.

Until next time, Carry the Flag!

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November 10-16 CBJ Prospect Week in Review http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/17/november-10-16-cbj-prospect-week-review/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/17/november-10-16-cbj-prospect-week-review/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 01:43:48 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7096 Another week in the world of Blue Jackets prospects is over folks so let’s get to it. Starting off on Tuesday in Springfield, the Falcons fell by a score of 4-2 to Worcester with Sean Collins and Ryan Craig scoring the team’s goals. Oscar Dansk made 20 saves in the loss. On Friday night against […]

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Another week in the world of Blue Jackets prospects is over folks so let’s get to it. Starting off on Tuesday in Springfield, the Falcons fell by a score of 4-2 to Worcester with Sean Collins and Ryan Craig scoring the team’s goals. Oscar Dansk made 20 saves in the loss. On Friday night against Providence, the Falcons bounced back with a 4-3 victory. Ryan Craig and Austin Madaisky were the only CBJ signed players to score and Madaisky added an assist. Scott Munroe made 31 saves in the win.

On Saturday it was time for a rematch against Worcester and the Falcons earned a 1-0 win on Sean Collins’ second period penalty shot. In the victory, Anton Forsberg stopped all 33 shots he faced for his first North American shutout. To close out the weekend it was old time hockey with over 200 penalty minutes being handed out. In terms of the actual hockey being played, the Falcons were trailing 1-0 when Thomas Larkin opened the scoring with his third of the season. Lukas Sedlak and Dana Tyrell scored in the second to give the Falcons a lead before allowing two goals in the third to tie it. Three minutes after evening the score, Kerby Rychel struck  on the power play for his fourth of the season. 46 seconds later Tyrell scored an empty net goal to clinch the victory. After that is when all hell broke loose as 172 (if my math is right) of the games penalty minutes were handed out starting with Josh Anderson getting into a fight and that was followed by a line brawl. In the win Anton Forsberg made 28 saves.

Sonny Milano-Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Season Stats 9GP 3-12-15 -8 2PIM

Sonny and the Whalers were off to Kitchener to start the week and Sonny picked up his third three point game of the season. Early in the first Sonny skated in with Francesco Vilardi. Sonny finished it off to make it 1-0. In the third, after four Ranger goals, Sonny picked up an assist on Bryce Yetman’s fifth goal of the season when he gathered a loose puck and feathered a pass to Yetman. Later in the third, Sonny scored again. This time, after taking a shot, a Rangers Dman failed to clear and left a loose puck for Sonny to snipe it home making it 4-3. The Rangers scored a late empty net goal to make it 5-3. Sonny would be named second star in the loss. Up next against the Soo Greyhounds, Sonny again factored in on the opening goal when he picked up an assist on Matthew Campagna’s point in a 8-1 loss. So for those of you scoring at home, Plymouth scored four goals this week and Sonny had four points.

Nick Moutrey-Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Season Stats 19GP 8-14-22 +3 21PIM

Nick continued his strong play by picking up two more points in the Spirit’s two games last week. Nick opened the scoring in a 3-2 shootout loss to Windsor when he scored his eighth of the season. It took until December 6th to get his eighth goal last season. Nick also picked up an assist in the Spirit’s 5-2 loss to Oshawa on Sean Callaghan’s goal.

Julien Pelletier-Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)
Season Stats 19GP 5-9-14 -5 10PIM

Julien returned to the Eagles lineup after his three game suspension and found his way back onto the scoresheet for the first time since October 8th by picking up two assists in a 7-4 loss to Moncton. Julien then went pointless in the Birds next two games.

Peter Quenneville-Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Season Stats 22GP 5-17-22 E 6PIM

The Wheat Kings opened last week by welcoming the Seattle Thunderbirds to town. In 6-4 loss to Seattle, Peter scored his fifth goal of the season when, trailing 3-1, he banged home a rebound of an Igor Provorov point shot. Quickly, it was a big night for the Quenneville family as all three brothers played in the Medicine Hat-Brandon game with youngest brother David getting to take the ceremonial faceoff against big brother Peter (even though he’s not the Tigers’ captain). Peter was held pointless in the shootout win.

Oliver Bjorkstrand-Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Season Stats 18GP 12-12-24 +9 12PIM 

Starting off in Everett, Oliver picked up an assist on Keoni Texeira’s first period goal. After a Tips goal Oliver picked up another assist on Chase De Leo’s goal to make it 2-1 in what ended as a Hawks 4-3 shootout loss. To close out the week it was time for a rematch with the Silvertips. In the 7-1 Hawks win Oliver picked up a goal and an assist. Oliver’s assist came on Nic Petan’s first of the night. Oliver’s goal came on the power play for a penalty on the coach…wait a second. That’s right folks! Tips coach Kevin Constantine earned the misconduct for arguing a non-call and refusing to send out a line after the Hawk’s second goal so he could grandstand in protest. To finish it he gave the ref some applause and a double barreled thumbs up as he crossed the rink to get to the visitor’s locker room.

Seth Ambroz-Minnesota Golden Gophers (Big 10)
Season Stats 6GP 1-1-2 +1 2PIM

It was a rough weekend for the Gophers as they were swept by the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. Friday night it was all Bulldogs when they picked up a 3-0 victory. On Saturday night, the series would shift to Duluth with the Bulldogs picking up a 2-1 win. In the loss, Seth Ambroz was the only prospect to pick up an assist that came on Leon Bristedt’s second of the year.

Daniel Zaar-Lulea (SHL-Sweden)
CHL Stats 8GP 6-6-12 +6 0PIM
SHL Stats 20GP 3-9-12 +3 0PIM

Daniel and Lulea opened the week by finishing up the round of 16 of the CHL. They needed to win by three goals to win on aggregate scoring. In the match up, Daniel had another multi-point game for the tournament. After spotting the Bulls a 4-1 lead the bears took over when Daniel got involved when it was 5-4 Bears. Dean Kukan skated in with Daniel who scored on his second whack at it. 10 minutes later in the third, Daniel again picked up the garbage of a Per Ledin shot to make it 7-4. The Red Bulls scored a late goal to tie the aggregate score at nine. So the game went to a shootout with Lulea winning it. Up next in the round of eight is a rematch of its last two games in the group stage. The team will play Finnish team Lukko Rauma in the group stage. Back in the SHL against HV71, with the game tied at one, Daniel sent a cross rink pass that an opposing player got a piece of. That sent the puck to Peter Cehlarik who made it 2-1. Lulea won it 3-2. Daniel was held pointless in a 2-1 win over Vaxjo.

Joonas Korpisalo-Ilves (Liiga-Finland)
Season Stats 9GP 6-2(1SOW) .936Sv% 1.63GAA

The Lynxes got back to work after the international break and Joonas got a night off to open the week before playing in two straight. Starting off against Sport, Joonas made 20 saves in a 6-1 win. Up next against Tappara, Joonas stopped the first 15 shots he faced before allowing a goal with only nine seconds left.

Elvis Merzlikins-HC Lugano (National League A-Switzerland)
Season Stats 12GP 9-2-1 .912Sv% 2.71GAA

Like Joonas, Elvis and the Panthers got back to it after the international break with three games last week and Elvis played in all three. Starting off against EHC Biel, Elvis made a season high 45 saves in the 2-1 victory. Up next against the Kloten Flyers (same night the CBJ played the Flyers FYI), in a 5-2 victory Elvis stopped 24 of 26. To close out the week against the ZSC Lions, Elvis had his seven game winning streak snapped in a 6-2 loss in which he stopped 33 of 38 shots.

As for next week, Blake Siebenaler and the IceDogs come down to Michigan for their lone trip of the season and both of the Jackets QMJHL prospects will take part in the Subway SuperSeries against the Russians. Currently the Russians lead the series 3-0 with game 4 against the OHL on the 17th.

 

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: SJS @ CBJ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/15/three-stars-game-one-picture-sjs-cbj/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/15/three-stars-game-one-picture-sjs-cbj/#comments Sun, 16 Nov 2014 03:44:18 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7091 Ahhhh the soothing feeling of watching an actual NHL hockey team play. I missed last nights win over Philly, so I can’t comment on it but this was the first game in a while that featured an actual NHL cast of characters wearing CBJ uniforms. This led to a strong effort, one of the more […]

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Ahhhh the soothing feeling of watching an actual NHL hockey team play. I missed last nights win over Philly, so I can’t comment on it but this was the first game in a while that featured an actual NHL cast of characters wearing CBJ uniforms. This led to a strong effort, one of the more complete games the team has put together all season, against a pretty good San Jose Sharks team. Antti Niemi was solid in the loss for the Sharks, but the Jackets were able to beat him twice, and grind out a much needed back-to-back win. Those two points are huge, as they bring the Jackets only five points back of the Devils for third in the division (with a game in hand). That is probably their only road to the playoffs (the last wild card spot currently is seven points out of reach). I know it seems early to be looking that far ahead, but these wins really help in terms of digging out of the hole from the last month. On to the stars!

3rd Star: David Savard

With Fedor Tyutin on injured reserve, the Jackets leaned heavily on Savard on the penalty kill, as he led the Jackets defense with 3:10 shorthanded time on ice, as the CBJ blanked the Sharks potent powerplay. Of course, the reason he received a star was his goal in the opening frame, as he finished off some nice puck movement from Artem Anisimov‘s line, burying on the screened Niemi. The early goal gave the Jackets a lead they would never relinquish.

2nd Star: Cam Atkinson

Cam had a solid game, and scored the game-winning goal, but I would have looked elsewhere here. I’m surprised that Anisimov didn’t end up with any of the stars tonight. I was a bit surprised to hear he would be playing, and really thought he’d just get some limited minutes to get back into the flow of the game. Instead, Arty was a two-way force tonight. He didn’t manage any shots on goal, but he did help setup Savard’s game opening goal. On the defensive end, he won 64% of his faceoffs, played a team-high 3:13 on the penalty kill, and made a couple of key plays as the Sharks were pushing to tie it up. Without Arty out there, I’m not sure the Jackets close out the game.

1st Star: Sergei Bobrovsky

What can you say about Sergei Bobrovsky that hasn’t been screamed by Jay Onrait. He really is the number one cop on the force. He was tested pretty early in the game and came up huge. Every time the Sharks seemed to be taking over momentum, Bob shut the door and totally killed San Jose’s flow. Making 36 saves is huge, but they were just so timely. He was only beat once, and that was when Joe Pavelski was left all alone in a prime scoring spot. Not many are making that save. A brilliant comeback game for Bob.

bobo

Dud: Injury Scares

I can’t be the only person who held their breath when Ryan Johansen crashed into the net after his breakaway chance. He was solid tonight, if nothing spectacular (nothing like last night’s four point performance), but losing him would have been such a huge blow. A serious injury there would have been the kind of thing that would fit right into this Murphy’s Law of a season. Get Bob and Arty back, but lose Johansen. As he limped off, I was prepared for the worst. That’s what this season for this team has done to me. Fortunately he was back out there shortly looking no worse for wear.

Stud: Jordan Leopold

He did nothing outstanding tonight. But he doesn’t have to. Really, he isn’t that kind of player, which helps makes him the perfect replacement for the similar, albeit much better, Fedor Tyutin. He was dealt for this afternoon, flew in just before the game, and played a pretty solid 17:11. He isn’t going to light the world on fire, but he is a professional hockey player, something the Jackets depth has been lacking.

With back-to-back wins in back-to-back nights, and the lineup being iced starting to look like a real NHL team, they now have two nights off before taking on longtime rival(ish) Detroit Red Wings Tuesday in Columbus. The Jackets have four of the next five games at home, with a trip to Philadelphia being the only road game splitting up the homestand. More efforts like tonight could see the Jackets sneak back into the tail end of the playoff race. See you all on Tuesday!

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ PHL http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/14/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-phl/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/11/14/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-phl/#comments Sat, 15 Nov 2014 03:41:50 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7089 HOW BOUT THEM JACKETS? Well my friends, the streak…it is over. The Jackets went to Philly today, and left with Scott Hartnell’s pride in tact. What an effort from the Jackets. Have we seen a more complete, full-60 game from this team, regardless of roster, this season? The Jackets went into Philly and took away […]

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HOW BOUT THEM JACKETS? Well my friends, the streak…it is over. The Jackets went to Philly today, and left with Scott Hartnell’s pride in tact. What an effort from the Jackets. Have we seen a more complete, full-60 game from this team, regardless of roster, this season? The Jackets went into Philly and took away a much needed 2 points as well as a good ego boost as the team now looks to the second half of a back to back tomorrow night versus San Jose. Let’s get a look at who the NHL named the three stars…hot tip, I’m going to disagree…

3rd Star. Jakub Voracek. I like Jake. The former Jacket is having a heck of a season – in fact, proving out what the jackets had anticipated from him when they drafted the young forward seventh overall in 2007. 7 goals and 24 points in 15 games is pretty good I’d say. And then he goes and has 1 goal and 1 assist tonight. That’s pretty good – pretty consistent, perhaps worthy of a star…unless…Well unless your team doesn’t win and you have guys like who’s up next also in contention for post-game honors.

2nd Star. Nick Foligno. Ok. Let’s discuss what beast mode actually means. Does it mean simply two goals off three shots? Or does it mean two goals one of which displays ridiculous patience to beat Mason low. Or does it mean three points with the highest TOI of the entire team on a given night? Oh hey. I don’t really care. But it sure means a star, in fact, it means the second star spot is likely yours. Foligno not only did all of what I just discussed but he also was the 2nd highest forward in terms of generating offensive chances (only to Hartnell) with a +18 corsi even with about average zone starts. Contract year or not, Foligno is a guy keeping this team going on and off the ice.

1st Star. James Wisniewski. Two goals, one more massive, critical save (the second game in a row) just under 20 TOI and let’s not forget he’s playing on what may still be a hurt finger. That kind of matters when a huge part of your game is that shot from the point. Wiz is invaluable. And I’d never say take anything away from him at all…EXCEPT…when your teammate has an assist on every goal of the game. But we’ll get to that below. Regardless, I would definitely see Wisniewski in the star earning list tonight.

Game in One Picture

win

Stud. Ryan Johansen. Come on, people. The guy is the points leader for the team, is playing ridiculous TOI night after night, is dancing in the top of the team possession ranks night after night, has an assist on EVERY freaking goal in the game and gets not a single star nod? Wow. I understand that the home press wants to see a Flyer in the vote, but Johansen, Wisniewski and Foligno deserved to dominate tonight. Color me confused.

Dud. that Pesky losing streak. I certainly can’t promise that the Jackets will now win 10 straight games, but it’s just such a relief to see the team get that win to get back to that feeling and that confidence that they can do this. And against a Metro opponent no less. Let’s hope we never see the likes of this nasty beast again.

The Jackets fly home tonight and will face the San Jose Sharks Saturday at Nationwide. What an interesting bookend since the Sharks were the last team the Jackets beat before the recent slide. Can they go 2-0? Sure they can.

Carry the flag!

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