The Union Blue http://www.theunionblue.com Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:58:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ vs. WSH http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/19/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-vs-wsh/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/19/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-vs-wsh/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 04:09:14 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7212 So I was planning on being positive tonight. My last few recaps have been super negative. I also seem to get saddled with the CBJ’s worst games. So the first period happens. Probably their worst period of the season. I come to the conclusion the team has the Union Blue recap schedule posted in the […]

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So I was planning on being positive tonight. My last few recaps have been super negative. I also seem to get saddled with the CBJ’s worst games. So the first period happens. Probably their worst period of the season. I come to the conclusion the team has the Union Blue recap schedule posted in the dressing room and choose to crap the bed when I have to write about it. I’m not going to say anything more about the first period other than it sucked and Sergei Bobrovsky kept them in it. Then the second period happened, and it was fantastic. One of the better periods of hockey the Jackets have played all season. They dominated the play, but they did it in the physical, “Blue Jackets hockey” way that we had all come to know and love. The third period wasn’t a dominant performance by any means, but it was damn entertaining. The Capitals outshot the Jackets in the third, but that felt more like a team down for a good chunk of the period pressing to tie it up. Which the Caps managed to do twice. Unfortunately, the Jackets couldn’t pull out the overtime victory, falling 5-4 and bringing the wining streak to an end. The Jackets now sit at 7-0-1 in the month of December. That is pretty good. Less good is the Jackets now sitting in no-man’s land in the standings. They are seven points back of the Caps and the Florida Panthers for the final playoff spots. They were 10 points back at the end of November. It’s just that hard to make up points in the standings, especially when giving out points to the opposition in overtime or the shootout. The Jackets have also pulled too far ahead of the bottom feeding Edmonton Oilers. So screw it. Let’s keep this thing going. Who cares if the Jackets only have a 1.6% chance of making the playoffs (per SportsClubStats). This team to too good to tank without sitting Bob (who is in a contract year), and a handful of other players. The odds may be stacked against making the playoffs, but they are equally stacked against ending up with McDavid or Eichel. So I’ve flipped back again, and am now pulling for the historic comeback.

Third Star: Karl Alzner

Any time a defensive defenseman has a multi-point night in a victory, he’s probably gettting a star. Even if his goal was Charmin soft (Bob really should have had that one). Alzner was fine, never really standing out in his 18:09 of ice time. Which I guess is good considering his role (think a less monstrous Dalton Prout).

Second Star: Eric Fehr

Sure, he scored the game winner. And picked up an assist. Any time a scrappy lower line player picks up multiple points and an over time winner, he’s probably getting a star. Yes, I know I used the same sentiment for Alzner. Fehr was fine, never really standing out much in his 14:33 of ice time. Which I guess is good considering his role (think a lower motored Matt Calvert).

So this is the second game I have done for the Caps, and the second time Alex Ovechkin was shut out of the stars. This despite leading the game in shots both times (albeit tied with Nick Foligno tonight), and being a general force of nature on the ice. Almost every time Ovechkin is on the ice, the game revolves around him, whether he has the puck or not. If he has the puck, everyone is scrambling. If another Cap has the puck, they are trying to find Ovechkin (sometimes to their detriment) and the Jackets are all cognizant of where he is on the ice. When the Jackets have the puck, it’s almost like they are more concerned with keeping it away from Ovechkin than scoring themselves. There are few players who bend the play like this. I say there are only three (Ovechkin, Crosby, and Stamkos). I get that he was held pointless tonight, but still. I guess I don’t necessarily think points are the be-all, end-all of the three star selections, and think the players who played the best should be honored. I’d have rather seen Ovechkin get one of these two spots, with Fehr or Alzner getting the other one for contributing on the scoresheet (or other multi-point Caps like Jason Chimera, Mike Green, or Michael Latta).

First Star: Nick Foligno

Foligno just keeps on trucking. I keep expecting him to slow down. I mean, how can you really expect a 27 year old with a career high of 18 goals to keep scoring at a near 50 goal pace. Yet Foligno keeps on scoring. Two more tonight, along with an assist on six shots on goal. This strikes me as very similar to Alex Steen last year: a very solid middle of the lineup forward, in his late-ish 20’s, in a contract year scoring at rate that blows all his career numbers out of the water. Steen eventually got hurt, slowed down a little, and only finished with 33 goals (in 68 games), which was still nine goals above his career best. They both present interesting cases in terms of their next contracts, as Steen dropped off this season to his usual level of play (a 22 goal pace this year, having average 21 goals per 82 games over his career). I love Foligno, and I hope he becomes some sort of mid-career breakout superstar, but I will be pretty (and happily) surprised if he gets to the 33 goals that Steen finished with last year.

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Dud: The idea the Sergei Bobrovsky “wants” Ovechkin to take weakside one-timers on the powerplay

So that was a thing that was said. By someone paid to speak intelligently about hockey. I’m not going to name names, but you can probably guess. That is just one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard a commenter say. Ovechkin is one of the all-time greats when it comes to weakside one-timers on the powerplay. That’s what he does, he sits over there on the backdoor, and rips it. It’s not a special strategy, but if you have a shot like his, you can do it and be successful. It’s what Brett Hull made a career of doing. Stamkos is amazing at it now as well. Ovechkin has scored more often than either of them on the powerplay. He’s actually fourth all time in powerplay goals per game. The guys he is behind (Lemieux, Bossy, Kerr) all played a significant amount of their careers in the bonkers 1980’s. Ovechkin is third among active players in powerplay goals (behind Jagr and Iginla), and could move into second next season. The next best powerplay goal scorer to start his career after 1995 is Milan Hejduk in 40th. So that was a lot of stats there. My point is that NO ONE wants to leave Ovechkin open so he can tee off on one-timers for the challenge of sliding cross-crease for the save. It’s a ridiculous statement. It’s like saying if you wanted to be pitching against any player in baseball, you’d want to be pitching to Mike Trout. If you were trying to shut down a quarterback, you’d want to be facing Aaron Rodgers. If you wanted an opponent to have the ball, you’d want it to be Lebron James. No. Just no. I don’t care how confident Sergei Bobrovsky is, he does not WANT the Jackets to allow Ovechkin to have that shot.

Instead, Sergei Bobrovsky being really good allows the Jackets to not have someone right on Ovechkin. It allows them to have the high forward play the middle of the ice, albeit a little lower and more focused on the the passing lanes to Ovechkin than normal. Many teams will have the forward in the middle of the ice over on Ovechkin’s side, which opens up the defenseman up high (Mike Green). Bob allows that forward to cheat to the middle a little, play the passing lanes to Ovechkin a little more aggressively than usual, yet still be in Green’s shooting lane. This is so much different than wanting Ovechkin to take the shot. I realize it is somewhat semantics, but it’s the kind of difference I think is important. Talent dictates strategy and matchups, and noting how the CBJ were playing Ovechkin when down a man was a point that could have been used to demonstrate how Ovechkin changes the Jackets strategy in comparison to other non-Tampa opponents, and how Bob changes the Jackets strategy in comparison to other Caps opponents. Instead it was used to say ridiculous things about Sergei Bobrovsky’s confidence.

Stud: Jeremy Morin

I was pretty impressed with Morin tonight. He doesn’t play a fancy game, but he’s got decent size and speed, and knows what to do with the puck. He reminds me a little of Blake Comeau, but actually putting the puck on net instead of circling the zone. I was pretty down on that trade when it happened (defensemen don’t bust when putting up the AHL numbers Tim Erixon put up at his age), but Morin might turn me around. I think Erixon will be the more impactful player long term, but Morin is a definite top nine player who seems to have been more of a numbers crunch in Chicago than the bust I thought he might be. Three shots on goal, one leading to the Jackets first lead of the game, not a bad night for a guy on a new team playing third line minutes. I look forward to seeing what he can do the rest of the season.

So that is it for tonight, a 4-3 overtime loss to the Caps. We’ll see you back at Nationwide on Saturday, where the Jackets will take on Tim Erixon and the Chicago Blackhawks.

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ DET http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/17/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-det/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/17/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-det/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:39:45 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7207 The Blue Jackets were certifiably on fire heading in to Detroit last night, winning 6 straight and looking like they could somehow, magically, be getting their season turned around. After a grueling 65 minutes of hockey the Blue Jackets willed their way to a seventh straight win against a team we love to hate and […]

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The Blue Jackets were certifiably on fire heading in to Detroit last night, winning 6 straight and looking like they could somehow, magically, be getting their season turned around. After a grueling 65 minutes of hockey the Blue Jackets willed their way to a seventh straight win against a team we love to hate and more importantly: in a barn they’ve struggled in. Compared to the fire-wagon nature of the Pittsburgh game, this defense-heavy tilt was a fresh kind of suspense that we hadn’t seen the CBJ do well at this season.

3rd Star: Boone Jenner

Boone is turning into quite the legend on the penalty shot, isn’t he? While he wasn’t able to score any points during play, once again Jenner has his hand in a pivotal moment a game. With just under 22 minutes of ice time it’s easy to see why his injury left such a big hole in the Union Blue’s lineup.

2nd Star: Jimmy Howard

Tonight was a showdown of two goalies just absolutely on top of it all game. Howard was peppered for 29 shots against and a good number of those were decent scoring chances. Hat tip to him, because as much as the Wings fan I talk to every day about him you’d think he would have let in 5 with the chances the Blue Jackets were getting.

1st Star: The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Sergei “Top Cop” Bobrovsky

Boy was Sergei a wall tonight. The only puck to get past him was a shootout attempt by equally legendary Pavel Datsyuk. Everything else though, rock solid. Coach Richards tried some sweet talk to get his defense off the hook because they left Sergei out to dry more times than I feel comfortable with. There’s one play in particular where Sergei had to go cross-crease and made an amazing glove save, getting there so quick and making a stop so fantastic he didn’t even realize he had the puck. For every game where he lets in a dud, Sergei graces us with games like this that give you warm and fuzzy feelings. He’s our goalie, and we’re happy to have him.

Game in One Picture:

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Stud: Discipline

I had the unfortunate blessing of attending these teams’ first matchup of the season at Nationwide Arena, and doubly so that it was the game I was taking a new fan to for his first ever NHL tilt. After seeing that 5-0* drumming, my friend told me that this was the kind of game he would have died to see live. He was right, as much hair pulling we did at seeing chance after chance get smothered by James Howard and the Detroit defense the back and forth between these squads was exciting. I didn’t realize it during the game since time was flying by but the Jackets played a supremely disciplined game: when was the last time Detroit had more penalties than us? Who knows if even one more penalty would have been enough to snap the Jackets’ winning streak. Phew!

Dud: Shootouts

There’s really not a whole lot to get nitpicky and mad about after this one, so I’m going to pick on shootouts. It really brings the mood down a touch winning two games over (who I would argue are) our biggest rivals in a shootout. There’s no thrill to them, just a sigh of relief. Weird, isn’t it? I won’t complain too much, though. I’d rather have 2 extra points than 0.

So there you have it. The Blue Jackets streaking continues and they prolonged it winning a game I’m not sure many of us though they could win. (A close 1-0 game, not just a game against the Wings.) It was also great to see Jeremy Morin play and be an immediate use to the team right out of the gate. He didn’t record any points but if he plays like he did last night there should be some hugs in his future.

And hey! Would you look at that! A mere 2 games under .500!

Carry the Flag!

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December 8-14 CBJ Prospect Week in Review http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/16/december-8-14-cbj-prospect-week-review/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/16/december-8-14-cbj-prospect-week-review/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 15:08:29 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7198 Time for another week in the world of Blue Jackets prospects! It was a light week with the International break happening along with college hockey taking its Christmas break (Minnesota is done until next year) so let’s begin where we always do – Springfield – where the baby birds are still playing. Starting off on […]

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Time for another week in the world of Blue Jackets prospects! It was a light week with the International break happening along with college hockey taking its Christmas break (Minnesota is done until next year) so let’s begin where we always do – Springfield – where the baby birds are still playing.

Starting off on Wednesday, The Falcons pulled off a pair of things they hadn’t done in a long time. First the team lost for the first time in 11 games and they were also shutout for the first time since October 24th. In the 2-0 loss, Anton Forsberg stopped 23 of 24 with ex-Jacket Mike Blunden adding an empty net goal.

After that, it was time for the longest bus trip of the season according to play by play guy Andy Zilch when the team headed to Norfolk, Virginia. On Friday night, with Ilya Bryzgalov in net for the Admirals, Marko Dano opened the scoring when he picked up a rebound off an Austin Madaisky point shot. Bryz got a piece of it with his stick but the puck ended up in the net. In the second with the game tied at one, Dano struck again scoring just seconds into a power play. The goal came off a scramble with Dano gathering the loose puck to make it 2-1. Sean Collins scored an empty net goal for his 10th of the year. Forsberg had 26 saves including one on a late game penalty shot.

In the rematch, this time with Scott Munroe taking over the Falcon’s crease, Trent Vogelhuber opened the scoring with his first two goal game since March of 2013. Josh Anderson’s breakaway set up Trent’s second shorthanded goal before the Admirals would score four straight. With only seven seconds remaining, Anderson scored his first pro goal when he picked up the rebound of…it’s hard to tell looks like Josh picked up his own rebound…but Corey Cowick also got an assist. Of note, it was Alexander Wennberg‘s faceoff win set the play in motion.

Down in Kalamazoo, the Wings went 2-1 this week and guess who was in net for the loss…I don’t mean that the way its sounds, but in the two wins the Wings scored six goals including a 2-0 victory. But when Oscar Dansk was in net on Saturday the Wings decided to be silly and score two for the first time with Oscar in net (I know I’m overthinking this but…I got nothing really). In the 5-2 loss to Toledo, Oscar stopped 23 of 28.

Blake Siebenaler-Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Season Stats 31GP 4-9-13 -5 15PIM

Blake and the Dogs opened the week against Peterborough and Blake snapped a 10 game pointless streak. With the Dogs trailing 4-2 after allowing four goals in just over four minutes, Blake fired a point shot that bounced off the back wall. Graham Knott pickied up the rebound to make it 4-3. Blake picked up another assist on Josh Ho-Sang’s goal to make it 6-4 in a 7-4 victory. Up next in a game against the top team in the CHL, Blake did most of the work on Christopher Paquette’s goal when he skated down the wing through pretty much the entire Generals lineup to find  Paquette in the slot to tie the game at two in a 5-3 Dogs win. Blake was held pointless in a blowout loss to Nick Moutrey and Saginaw.

Sonny Milano-Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Season Stats 20GP 8-23-31 -8 6PIM

Despite rumors of the teams pending move next season, the Whalers continue on. Starting off the week against Sault Ste Marie, Sonny was held pointless in a 5-1 loss. Up next against London Sonny picked up his fifth three-point game of the season. Starting off trailing 1-0, Sonny worked a pretty passing sequence with Victor Crus-Rydberg before skating in and passing to Matthew Campagna to tie it. Later, with 1:43 remaining, it was all Sonny when he took a pass from Matt Mistele, skated in and put the puck past the Knights keeper. Later in the game, trailing 5-3, Sonny took a pass from a keep in at the blueline that became a two on one with Mistele finishing it. To close out the week it was the defending OHL Champ Guelph Storm coming to town. Sonny scored his eighth of the season to open the game in the second period of a 3-2 overtime loss. Next week it’s off to Boston (may get awkward) as that is where Team USA’s World Junior Selection Camp will take place.

Nick Moutrey-Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Season Stats 29GP 13-20-33 +4 38PIM

A light week for Nick and the Spirit as they only played two games this week against Erie. Nick picked up an assist in the 6-4 loss. Up next was a game against Blake Siebenaler and Niagara. In the first, Nick shoved Vince Dunn and got the puck before passing to Mitchell Stephens. Stephens then skated in for his first of the night. Nick also assisted on Stephens’ hat trick goal in the third just 14 seconds before adding his own goal. Nick took a crossrink pass from Dylan Sadowy and fired a rocket from just above the circle to make it 5-1. Nick was named third star in the 7-1 victory.

Olivier LeBlanc-Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Season Stats 31GP 3-16-19 +18 51PIM

The Sea Dogs embarked on a three game Quebec road trip with Olivier going pointless in the first two before picking up an assist in a 4-2 loss to Val-d’Or. The assist came on Thomas Chabot’s power play goal.

Peter Quenneville-Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Season Stats 34GP 7-24-31 +2 8PIM

Peter and the Kings had three games this week. In a shootout loss to Moose Jaw and a win over Swift Current, Peter was held without a point before collecting an assist in a 4-0 win over Red Deer. Peter picked up an assist on little brother John’s first period goal.

Oliver Bjorkstrand-Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Season Stats 28GP 21-19-40 +15 23PIM
Oliver Bjorkstrand is in Kindersley Saskatchewan with Team Denmark playing in the World Junior A Challenge. Oliver has been given a leadership role – he’s wearing an A for the Danes. The Danes defeated the SVHL’s Rosetown Red Wings 6-0 in an exhibition but unfortunately, I can’t find stats for the game. In their tournament opening game against Canada West (Canada sends two teams) Oliver picked up an assist on Nikolaj Ehlers first goal. The game ended as a 3-2 victory for the Danes. Hockey media said this duo of Bjorkstrand and Ehlers could be very dangerous together actually saying the Danes could stay up with this team.

Per THN’s Ryan Kennedy “Fair warning for WJC teams as I watch Denmark at World Jr A Challenge: Ehlers (WPG) and Bjorkstrand (CBJ) are scary good together”

Daniel Zaar-Lulea (SHL-Sweden)
Season Stats 30GP 4-12-16 -5 10PIM

Last week Lulea finished its Champions Hockey League quarterfinal against Finland’s Lukko Rauma. The 2-1 win gave the Bears a sweep and a win by aggregate. Up next in the CHL is two games against SHL rival Skelleftea AIK.

After that Daniel and the Bears closed out the first half with two games last week going 1-1. In the 3-2 overtime win over Leksands, Daniel was held pointless. Up next was the Chainsaws (HV71 – google it). In the 5-4 loss Daniel opened the scoring with his first goal since late September. He scored when he took a crossrink pass and fired his usual rocket into an almost wide open net. The SHL is now done until the day after Christmas. In the first half, Daniel leads the Bears in assists and shots on goal and is tied for the team lead in power play goals.

Quickly, let’s talk International Hockey. First up in the World Juniors Division 1 Group A, Markus Soberg and Norway opened the tournament against the host nation Italy with the Polar Bears picking up a 3-0 victory. Markus picked up an assist on the team’s first goal. Meanwhile in Toronto, Dillon Heatherington is taking part in Canada’s Selection Camp  – he missed the team’s first practice due to travel problems. The team played two games against a group of CIS All Stars (Canadian Interuniversity Sports). In a 10-3 Canada win Dillon added two points – his goal made the score 8-3 and he also added an assist on Madison Bowey’s goal. Dillon was paired with Red Wings undrafted free agent signing Joe Hicketts. In Sunday’s rematch, Dillon paired with Ducks first round pick Shea Theodore. He was held pointless in the 6-0 Canada win. Dillon survived the camp’s first round of cuts on Sunday. The team cut five players, two of which were defensemen, including would be returner Chris Bigras.

There you have it folks another week in the world of CBJ prospects. Next week will be a light week again with the WHL’s last games before the break being the 17th.

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: PIT @ CBJ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/14/three-stars-game-one-picture-pit-cbj/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/14/three-stars-game-one-picture-pit-cbj/#comments Sun, 14 Dec 2014 16:36:25 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7192 Well that was a game, wasn’t it? It had a little bit of everything and by everything I mean every possible way to score happened: short-handed goal, power play goal, penalty shot, shootout, regulation goal…and then you add in one almost line brawl and a quite a few scuffles, 55 hits between two teams and […]

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Well that was a game, wasn’t it? It had a little bit of everything and by everything I mean every possible way to score happened: short-handed goal, power play goal, penalty shot, shootout, regulation goal…and then you add in one almost line brawl and a quite a few scuffles, 55 hits between two teams and a first period that pretty much had your head spinning and you have one enjoyable night of hockey (did I mention the Jackets now have 6 wins in a row?). The Jackets were able to hammer out a win against the team that eliminated them from last year’s playoffs and ensured that this season’s record against PIT will include at least one regular season win. BUT for the third time in a row, the Jackets beat a conference opponent WHILE giving them a point. That certainly makes a climb to a playoff spot that much more difficult and the push and pull between what this team can do and what if they get a top pick in the draft continues. Ah the drama. Let’s look at the three stars from last night’s game as named by NHL.com:

3rd Star: Kris Letang Prior to that goal with 10 seconds left in regulation, the Penguin who I thought made the biggest impact was actually Blake Comeau. He led the team in shots with 7, had the first goal and played a great game in his former home arena. Sure Letang had scored that second goal but Comeau was still the more impactful player…until Letang scored the tying goal to force overtime and earn his team a point. Pretty impressive stuff. Clutch play and now that first goal loomed larger. Letang certainly was a guy deserving of a star tonight.

2nd Star: Ryan Johansen In my opinion, it wasn’t until about halfway through the third period that any real standout players emerged. And that’s not a bad thing. The game was such a team effort with a ton of guys doing a lot of little things that it seemed like everyone might earn a star on which ever team got the win. But then we went to OT and then…we went to the shootout. For me, the second star would have gone to Cam Atkinson. I loved the different look Cam brought to the ice tonight – 5 hits, crazy physical play and clearly hustling on the ice. That’s not to glorify hits, it’s to show that Cam has a physical game and was doing everything he could to contribute to the team last night. And he also had a lovely little goal in the shootout. So Cam would have been second star, but Johansen is also certainly deserving. WHAT A SHOOTOUT GOAL. My god. Johansen played with speed, space and shot selection to confound Greiss and score a nasty nasty goal.

1st Star: Boone Jenner An interesting choice, and a good choice. Again, it’s not so much that Jenner wasn’t first star but think of all the other guys who did stuff to make a difference: Bobrovsky, Johnson, Foligno. But yes, Jenner played quality Jackets hockey. He had a goal and an assist, and that goal came on a penalty shot. Jenner scored with authority and confidence and that score likely buoyed the team’s confidence, notched the tie when the CBJ needed to find an equalizer to make the score 2 all and reignited the team.

Game in One Picture

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Stud. Everyone. As I’ve alluded to – tell me one player who really did NOT make an impact last night. The fourth line played perhaps their best shift of the season in the first period; Jack Johnson – who seems to play his best hockey versus Pittsburgh – was flying and scored his second of the season; Nick Foligno does Foligno-things and scores; Calvert was buzzing and had a couple shifts where he single handedly maintained possession in the zone; Bobrovsky stands tall in the final frames (3rd period, OT and the shootout) and on and on and on. That game was fun as hell to watch and it was rewarding to see the team play like they can. Consider this the current standard of where this team should be. And it sure looks like this is becoming a real rivalry.

Dud. Father Time. Like seriously – that game could have gone on all night and it would have been amazing. What play, and what an entertainment factor. When the clock struck midnight the day, and the game was over and it’s on to the next.

Next up – Tuesday. Detroit. In Detroit. Let’s get after it.

Carry the Flag

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ WSH http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/11/three-stars-and-game-in-one-picture-cbj-wsh/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/11/three-stars-and-game-in-one-picture-cbj-wsh/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 03:24:35 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7186 So that makes five straight wins for the Blue Jackets. I’d love to be excited about that, but once again the Jackets were grossly outplayed by the opposition, only to see Sergei Bobrovsky stand on his head again. I wish I could be positive about this team, but it’s just so hard. They looked like they were […]

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So that makes five straight wins for the Blue Jackets. I’d love to be excited about that, but once again the Jackets were grossly outplayed by the opposition, only to see Sergei Bobrovsky stand on his head again. I wish I could be positive about this team, but it’s just so hard. They looked like they were shorthanded for most of the game, and while they were a man or two down for much of it, they could easily have spent more time on the penalty kill. There were a few calls they got away with late in the game that could have swung the game back in the Capitals favor. I don’t know what more to say about this team right now. They aren’t playing well. They really truly aren’t. The Capitals were the much better team in my eyes tonight, their best players were more dominant, with the obvious exception of Bobrovsky. Making things even murkier, the Jackets again give up a loser point to a team they are chasing in the standings (making it three of the five wins). Considering the massive amount of ground they have to pick up, they need to start beating teams ahead of them in regulation. Otherwise they are headed towards the 12th overall pick while never really sniffing the playoffs.

3rd Star: John Carlson

The star pickers in Washington are very different than most other teams it appears. Carlson is a very good all around defenseman, who played a very solid 25:07 for the Caps tonight, logging serious minutes on both the PP and the PK. But with only one shot on net, and a single assist, he didn’t have the kind of numbers you would expect. This is especially true considering the dominance of the Capitals in this game, and the nine shots fired on goal by Alexander Ovechkin.

2nd Star: Nick Foligno

Foligno had a fine enough game at center, scoring on his only two shots on goal. That’s going to get you a star, especially with an overtime winner in there. I think Shelley and Rimer made a little much of Foligno playing center, as there aren’t a whole lot of differences in the Jackets system in terms of Foligno’s role, outside of faceoffs. Where he won a whopping 38% of them. I’m obviously fine with the Foligno pick, but I’d have given Bob the second star as well as the first (is that allowed?).

1st Star: Sergei Bobrovsky

Not a lot of words to describe the performance from Bob over the last couple of weeks. He’s been amazing. He’s trying to singlehandedly drag this team back into playoff contention. I don’t even know what to think anymore about this season, and it is totally because of him.

<Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture >

The Jackets will be back in action Saturday in Columbus where they will take on the Penguins.

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: PHL @ CBJ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/09/three-stars-game-one-picture-phl-cbj/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/09/three-stars-game-one-picture-phl-cbj/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 03:06:48 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7180 Oh hey there, CBJ! Four wins in a row, undefeated in December and a rallying first team goal for a waiver pickup that just turns out to be a game winner (nice work Kevin Connauton). The team still isn’t where they want  – or need – to be, and unfortunately this win came at the cost […]

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Oh hey there, CBJ! Four wins in a row, undefeated in December and a rallying first team goal for a waiver pickup that just turns out to be a game winner (nice work Kevin Connauton). The team still isn’t where they want  – or need – to be, and unfortunately this win came at the cost of giving an in-division opponent a point as well (preventing what Jackets faithful would at least be a tie in the standings after tonight). But here we are, winning feels better than losing and a nice little rivalry continues to brew. Let’s take a look at the three stars as decided by NHL.com:

3rd Star: Brayden Schenn. Schenn had both Philadelphia goals tonight – including one that eeked through Bob’s pads 5-hole style, but that kind of an effort that also shows up on the scoresheet is certainly worth recognition. I think you could have considered a full CBJ slate of stars and maybe thrown Hartnell a bone for a goal against his former team but good on Schenn.

2nd Star: Boone Jenner. Was this guy playing intense tonight or what? Jenner was the shot on goal leader with 5, notched the first goal, has points in four consecutive games and was playing Blue Jackets hockey. Back on the wing, Jenner played all out every second of the 20:01 he was on the ice (second only to Ryan Johansen of all the forwards by the way -19 had 22:50). Jenner is not only a performer he’s a tone-setter. Well deserved recognition – may have even been in the conversation for a first star, but….

1st Star: Kevin Connauton. Ok, first of all, I have now dubbed goals from number 4 as “CANNONtons”. I tend to over-pun but that one makes me smile. OK…on to his play. Game winner was also his first goal, his first point and his first game winner as a Jacket. While the opportunity certainly came in part due to Johansen’s ability to draw the defense, and, by Connauton’s own admission, the extra space that came with a 4 on 4 in overtime may have compelled him a bit more to take that attempt, it still won the game for the boys in blue. When Connauton came to Columbus he talked about his offensive ability. Nice to see that pay off and nice to see him get the first star honor.

Game in One Picture

otwinnter

Stud. Brandon Dubinsky. The wait for 17 was longer than was originally estimated, and it was longer that most – likely including the player – hoped, but in his first game back Dubinsky made a difference. 19:09 on ice, an assist  on Jenner’s goal and that good ol’ Dubi intensity. Props to the team, and again the player, for taking the time to return when he was truly, 100% good to go and make a significant contribution.

Dud. 3rd period. This team was rollin’ early. Performing strongly in possession (winning even strength Corsi for both of the first periods – 59.26% in the first and 63.64% in the second) and then they came out and laid back a bit (18.75% Corsi for). Nothing like some of the poor performances we may have seen in the past, but it would have been nice to continue with  strength through the end of the game and perhaps not have to let the Flyers leave with a point as well.

A great game overall by the Jackets, a definitely emotional boost as the boys now prepare to head into DC on Thursday to take on another division rival in the Caps. Can they make it 5 in a row? We’ll see…

Carry the Flag!

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December 1-7 CBJ Prospect Week in Review http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/08/december-1-7-cbj-prospect-week-review/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/08/december-1-7-cbj-prospect-week-review/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 01:49:40 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7173 Greetings, Jackets fans – it’s another week in the world of Jackets prospects. We’re closing in on the CHL’s holiday break and the World Juniors are coming quickly. Let’s start with an award. It was announced on Monday that Anton Forsberg was named the AHL’s Goaltender of the Month for November. After being sent back from Columbus, Anton went 8-0-0 with […]

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Greetings, Jackets fans – it’s another week in the world of Jackets prospects. We’re closing in on the CHL’s holiday break and the World Juniors are coming quickly. Let’s start with an award. It was announced on Monday that Anton Forsberg was named the AHL’s Goaltender of the Month for November. After being sent back from Columbus, Anton went 8-0-0 with a 1.76 GAA and a .936 save percentage.

On to the Falcons’ games. Starting off on Friday night against Norfolk, early in the first Marko Dano scored his third of the season off a scramble in front. Seven minutes later with the Falcons on the power play, Austin Madaisky’s slap shot was stopped and TJ Tynan picked up the rebound to find Ryan Craig in front. He scored with the entire side of the net open. A minute twenty later, the Admirals scored to the period 2-1. Trent Vogelhuber scored the game winner very early in the second period  (for some reason they didn’t think it deserved to be in the highlights). In the 3-2  victory, Forsberg made 27 saves. The win also set a new franchise record as it was the Falcons 10th in a row. Here are head coach Jared Bednar’s and Anton Forsberg’s postgame comments.

Saturday night was a nailbiter as the Falcons and Manchester Monarchs combined for a 0-0 tie. Anton Forsberg made 30 saves along with stopping all three Wolfpack shooters in the shootout. Sean Collins’ goal in the first round would hold as the game winner.

In Kalamazoo…ugh it hasn’t got much better. Oscar Dansk started the week’s opener against Florida with Allen York in net (yeah that Allen York) and Dansk lasted for 13:07 stopping only five of eight shots in the 3-1 loss. York was also pulled but his was due to injury. After a night off against Evansville, (a game in which the Wings could score goals) it was off to Cincinnati. In a 2-0 Cyclones win, Oscar stop 31 of 33 and take the loss. Here’s Nick Bootland’s comments praising Oscar a bit. Here’s an interview with Manny Legace on Oscar, the Jackets goaltending, and other things during a game broadcast.

Sonny Milano-Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Season Stats 17GP 6-21-27 -7 6PIM

First off on Tuesday it was announced Sonny was one of the 30 players who will take part in Team USA’s pre WJC Camp starting on December 16th.

Sonny and the Whalers opened the week against Mississauga. In the 4-3 loss, Sonny was part of each Plymouth goal. 1:50 into the game Sonny sent a cross rink pass to Matt Mistele who skated the length of the ice for his first of the night. Later in the first, Milano-Mistele struck again with Sonny working the wall and sending a backhand pass to Mistele who was patient and scored his second of the game. In the second with the game tied at two, Sonny was cherry picking (or fresh off the bench) and got the puck behind the fish’s defense to go off to the races and – wait, stop me if you’ve heard this before – he went to his backhand to give the Whalers a 3-2 lead. Sadly Plymouth would allow two third period goals and fall 4-3 and since the game was in the house of chocolate (Mississauga’s rink is the Hershey Centre) Sonny would be shut out of the three stars (dang homers). Sonny was shut out in a 3-1 loss to London.

Markus Soberg-Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Season Stats 27GP 4-8-12 -2 10PIM

Markus played his final games with the Spitfires before heading off to join the Polar Bears for the World Junior Championships Division 1 Group A in Asiago, Italy next week. First up against Sault Ste Marie Markus scored his fourth of the season. With the Spits trailing 3-1, Markus tipped a Trevor Murphy point shot but ultimately, the Spits would fall 8-5.

Saturday night was the Spitfires Teddy Bear Toss game and Markus played a hand in helping the Spits fan unleash the bears. Little hard to tell from the highlights but it looks like Markus gathered a point shot rebound and got the puck to Luke Kirwan who found Aaron Luchuk for the first of his hat trick in a 5-4 win. In the WJC Division 1 Group A Markus and Norway will play Austria, Belarus, Latvia, Italy and Slovenia.

Olivier LeBlanc-Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Season Stats 28GP3-15-18 +20 49PIM
First we open with a team award as Olivier was named the Sea Dogs Ryobi Hardest Working Defenceman for the Month of November. As for the games, it was a back and forth week as the Sea Dogs had a home game on Friday, and then loaded up the bus for a four and a half hour drive to Halifax before another home game on Sunday. Olivier was held without a point on Friday and Saturday before snapping his four game pointless streak.

In another Teddy Bear Toss game against Val d’Or, Olivier’s first assist came on Adam Bateman’s second period goal that gave the Dogs a 3-1 lead. After almost letting it slip away, (the team allowed three third period goals including one with only six seconds remaining),  the game would end in a tie for regulation and bonus hockey was underway. In overtime LeBlanc helped top 2015 draft prospect Jakub Zboril score the game winner (going off the Dog’s recap LeBlanc set up his one timer).  The win on Sunday also allowed the Sea Dogs to equal last year’s win total.

Peter Quenneville-Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Season Stats 31GP 7-23-30 +2 8PIM

Peter and the Kings opened last week with a home and home against the Regina Pats. First on Wednesday Peter was all of the Wheat Kings offense as he had two goals to snap a seven game goalless streak. In the second period after a board battle, the Kings rushed up the ice with Reid Duke passing to Peter who snapped a shot just over the Pats’ goalie shoulder. Midway through the third, Peter struck again – this time scoring on a one timer. Unfortunately, the Wheat Kings fell 4-2.

In the rematch, Peter picked up an assist when he got the puck out to the point where Qunintin Lisoway’s point shot was deflected to tie it at two in a 3-2 loss.

To close out the week it was off to Swift Current for a game against the Broncos. In the 6-4 win Peter picked up assists number 22 and 23 to give him 30 points so far this season.

Oliver Bjorkstrand-Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Season Stats 28GP 21-19-40 +15 23PIM
Oliver opened up the week by being named the WHL Denny’s Player of the Week for his six point week last week. As for the games, this week the Hawks began by loading the bus up on the boat and heading off to Victoria. In the 6-4 game, the Royals kept the Great Dane quiet until the Hawks last two goals. In the third, Oliver made some personal history when a Royals Dman sent the puck up ice, and, after it took an odd bounce off the wall Oliver skated in and snapped a shot to make it 5-4. The historical part is that this was Oliver’s 100th career goal. Late in the game, Oliver worked a two on one with Nic Petan to score an empty net goal to seal the Hawks 6-4 win.

Next it was off to Vancouver where the Giants honored the late Pat Quinn (he was a co-owner). In the 3-2 loss Oliver had his 10 game point streak snapped. During the streak, Oliver collected nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points.

To close out the week it was time for another Teddy Bear Toss game. Oliver picked up an assist on Paul Bittner’s second (his first unleashed the bears) when he kept the puck in and skated in to find Bittner in front to make it 2-1. Oliver again scored late in the game to make it 5-3.

To close out the weekend it was another historical night for Oliver, even if it made Hawks fans cringe a little. Early in the second period, after being sucker punched by a Tigers player, Oliver dropped the gloves and earned his first WHL fight/win. 31 seconds after he got out of the box, Oliver picked up an assist on Paul Bittner’s 12th of the season. Late in the game, with the Hawks leading 3-1 and on the penalty kill, a Tigers Dman couldn’t handle the rebound and Oliver was off to the races. Even with another Dman all over him, Oliver scored his 21st goal. And, even with getting a shove after he scored, he still got the celebration in.

Up next for Oliver it sounds like he will be joining Team Denmark which is using the World Junior A Challenge as a pre-World Junior Championship tune-up. Friend of the blog Scott Sepich reported that Oliver will be unavailable to the team next week as he’s heading to WJC camp but wasn’t sure if CHL player would play in the WJAC.

Quickly Team Cananda named it’s selection camp roster this week and Jackets prospect Dillon Heatherington was named to the roster as one of seven WHL defenseman among the 10 chosen. Also in fun stuff, whenever Swifty has a special jersey it’s Dillon that gets to model it first before the team auctions them off before the game. Here’s Dillon in the Bronco’s Christmas jersey design for their Teddy Bear Toss game.

Mike Reilly, Seth Ambroz-Minnesota Golden Gophers (Big 10)
Season Stats MR:14GP 3-14-17 +7 35PIM SA:14GP 1-3-4 +1 12PIM

The Gophers were off to East Lansing for a series against the Michigan State Spartans. Friday night was all Gophers with Minnesota picking up a 5-0 win. Mike had the first three point game of his career with a goal and two assists. Seth Ambroz and Ryan Collins were held pointless in the win.

In the rematch on Saturday, Collins would sit for the first time in nine games. After the Spartans opened the scoring, Ambroz got a loose puck along the boards and found Connor Reilly in his office (according to the play by play men) to make it 1-1. Later in the first, Mike picked up an assist on Kyle Rau’s goal when he passed to brother Connor whose point shot was deflected by Rau to make it 2-1. Early in the third period, Mike passed to Justin Kloos who found Connor in pretty much the same spot so he could fire a blast to tie the game at three. Unfortunately, the Gophers ultimately lost in a shootout (going as a tie nationally). Mike’s five points tied for the national lead and led the Big Ten on points earned over the weekend.

Joonas Korpisalo-Ilves (Liiga-Finland)
Season Stats 14GP 8-5 1.69GAA .935Sv%

The Lynxes had two games last week and Joonas played in both. First in a 2-1 shootout win, Joonas stopped 30 of 31 shots in regulation and overtime and he also stopped two in the shootout. To close out the week against Lukko, Joonas saved 20 of 22 shots against in a 2-1 loss.

There you have it folks – another week in the world of Blue Jackets prospects. As for next we’ll have the beginnings of World Junior season as camps, the WJAC and World Junior Divison 1 Group A get underway.

 

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ TPA http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/07/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-tpa/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/07/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-tpa/#comments Sun, 07 Dec 2014 04:25:54 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7170 I’m at a bit of a loss to comment on tonight’s game. The Jackets were a mere 73 seconds away from a shutout after weathering an early storm and clamping down to allow lower quality shots and Bobrovsky standing on his head for the 2nd half of the game. The CBJ played a physical game while […]

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I’m at a bit of a loss to comment on tonight’s game. The Jackets were a mere 73 seconds away from a shutout after weathering an early storm and clamping down to allow lower quality shots and Bobrovsky standing on his head for the 2nd half of the game. The CBJ played a physical game while being able to maintain their discipline and limit penalties, both we’ll put in the “good” column in any away game. The “bad” column is a familiar story: getting outshot 34-20 by a dynamic, young team that is captained by one of the league’s elite scorers in Stamkos. While I’m always grateful for a Jackets win, the kind of play we’ve seen on this road trip simply won’t lead to sustained wins. On to tonight’s stars as seen on NHL.com:

 

3rd Star: Matt Calvert

Matt Calvert showed up tonight and played the Matt Calvert brand of hockey. Most nights that’s enough to earn him a star in my book. While not officially logging any shots on goal, his relentless pursuit of the puck and a great hands play to keep the puck in the offensive zone created opportunities and earned him an A on the Jenner goal. I love watching this guy play.

2nd Star: Boone Jenner

Speaking of good hands, get this guy an All-State sponsorship. He swats down a flying puck from mid-air onto the ice before settling it and firing it on net. His stick handling sure may be the result of years of practice but Jenner makes it look not just instinctual but effortless. Boone also created a good deal of havoc pursuing pucks and beating Bishop to the puck behind his net this evening. It would seem that Coach Richards was pleased with his performance tonight because his 21:12 led all forwards in ice time.

1st Star: Sergei Bobrovsky

Once again, Bob helps the team through a turbulent start and provides a calming presence in net and the Jackets get a win. As mentioned earlier, he held off all 34 shots until the game was effectively over. If you had to pick a story of this road trip, it’s been Bobrovsky’s resurgence in net. That’s a good thing because if the Jackets want to maintain any hope of turning this thing around, he’ll need to play at 100% every single night.

Stud: David Savard

Of course I’m thrilled to see Savard on the score sheet but tonight was yet another great game for the once-questionable defenseman. He logged over 23 minutes tonight, was a shot-blocking/goal-saving machine, looked great on special teams and helped contribute on offense. I’m really not sure what more you can ask of a defenseman. What’s best is that this performance from him has practically become the norm this season. I’d be hard pressed to pick any other member of our defensive corps as a more consistent player.

Dud: Slow starts

Sorry to beat this dead horse but it’s true. Slow starts, especially on the road, will kill a team early. The Jackets simply have to come out and win the possession and scoring chances battles early in the game.

We can call this short trip to Florida a success in terms of points earned and tonight absolutely represented a better effort than the game against the Panthers. Let’s hope the team will carry this momentum into Tuesday night’s game in Nationwide Arena against Philly. Until then, carry the flag!!

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ FLA http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/05/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-fla/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/05/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-fla/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 04:25:42 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7160 Worst. Game. Ever.  I will get to this in the Stud/Dud section a little more, but I really hated this game. A 4-3 shootout win, after blowing a 3-0 lead. Ugly to watch in every way, the Jackets were outshot by about a million, outshot attempted by about a billion, and just generally outplayed by […]

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Worst. Game. Ever.  I will get to this in the Stud/Dud section a little more, but I really hated this game. A 4-3 shootout win, after blowing a 3-0 lead. Ugly to watch in every way, the Jackets were outshot by about a million, outshot attempted by about a billion, and just generally outplayed by about a trillion. Actually, just 55 to 20 in shots, and 99 to 35 in shot attempts (I stand by my outplayed by a trillion statement). Yet they somehow came out of the game with two points. Two points that probably do more harm than good, with the Jackets needing to play at “Best team in Hockey” pace to even sniff the playoffs.

Third Star: Sergei Bobrovsky

Bob was the sole reason the Jackets were in this game. He deserved a better effort from the team in front of him. On the bright side, he managed to notch a spot in the Jackets record books with a franchise record 52 save performance. He was the first star of this game, I don’t care what anyone else says.

Second Star: Ryan Johansen?

Uhhhhh what? Johansen was damn near invisible, and barely look to be trying all game. It wasn’t unnoticed, as Todd Richards played Johansan only 16:45 (one of his lowest totals of the season), didn’t put him on the ice in overtime, and didn’t let him shoot until the fourth round. His stat line was pretty much all zero’s, save for two shots on goal, and 33% on faceoffs. This may have been his worst performance of the year. BUT HE SCORED THE SHOOTOUT WINNER SO HE GETS A STAR. I hate that.

First Star: Nick Bjugstad

Bob should clearly have been the first star, but if anyone in this game was going to knock him out of that spot, it was Bjugstad. Can’t blame the hometown media from rewarding a dominating performance from the young, massive center considering the level at which the Panthers dominated the Jackets. Two goals, an assist, four shots on goal; only thing he could have done more was score on his shootout attempt.

Game in One Picture

This week’s game in one picture comes courtesy of Mark aka @RedditCBJ

stopthetank

Stud and Dud: Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is the “psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously“. This describes watching the Blue Jackets right now perfectly. I want them to do well. I like a lot of the players on this team. I think there are a lot of players who could play the roles they are currently playing on a team that does damage in the playoffs. But they are in too big of a hole right now. They need to probably get to the mid-90’s in points to make the playoffs, and to get there, they need to play at a pace in the mid-hundred and teens. That would be a President’s Trophy caliber pace. This team is not quite that good when healthy, and they aren’t even that yet. Adding to the cognitive dissonance: Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. They are unbelievable. This isn’t like the last season the Jackets were bad, when it was “fail for Nail”. These two guys are franchise changing players. This is the Ovechkin-Malkin 1-2 draft punch. Adding one of those guys to the core the Jackets have assembled, and the bright futures for Alexander WennbergKerby Rychel, and Marko Dano, and you have a team competing for multiple Stanley Cup championships. So right now, I want this team to lose, and lose a lot. Even though I also want them to succeed. It makes watching games terrible, as I have two different split-second reactions to every single play. A good thing happens, I start to cheer and then stop myself. Or a bad thing happens, and I do the same thing. Or the reverse. Or I do the reverse on a good play. Basically, it’s a mess. So tonight’s game was the worst. It was a terribly played game by the Blue Jackets, and yet they still won.

So that is it for tonight. The Jackets take the ice Saturday in Tampa to take on the Lightning.

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: FLA @ CBJ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/02/three-stars-game-one-picture-fla-cbj-2/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/12/02/three-stars-game-one-picture-fla-cbj-2/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 14:55:12 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=7155 Well hey, that was fun! The Jackets broke the recent losing skid by beating the return of Derek MacKenzie’s team Florida Panthers 2-1. After the game last night, some were saying that the game wasn’t “exciting” or “good hockey” but I, for one, was very encouraged to see some spirited play from the team and a […]

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Well hey, that was fun! The Jackets broke the recent losing skid by beating the return of Derek MacKenzie’s team Florida Panthers 2-1. After the game last night, some were saying that the game wasn’t “exciting” or “good hockey” but I, for one, was very encouraged to see some spirited play from the team and a rather consistent effort, even if it didn’t always show statistically. As they say, points are points no matter how you get them. The two newest players back in the room, Kerby Rychel and Michael Chaput, showed up and did exactly what called up players are supposed to do – give the team a jump and help propel the team to a win. Possession wise, it was a weird game. At even strength the Panthers had the Corsi advantage of 57% for the game, but the Jackets won the final frame, at 53.85% Corsi for which was enough to keep the Panthers from sneaking in a tying (or heaven forbid) game winning goal. (An interesting note, is that the Jackets HANDILY won the first period Fenwick battle at 62.50% – 20 blocked shots for the CBJ on the night) Let’s take a look at the three stars as named by NHL.com.

3rd Star. Kerby Rychel. Welcome to the NHL, Kerby. In his second game, Warren’s son earned his first NHL assist on Boone Jenner’s game winning goal. Funny to see these two young guys, who knew each other from Juniors now playing together and collaborating on the game winner. Rychel had just over 11 minutes of ice time and did a very good job filling his role by playing hard and physically. He was credited with three hits, two shots and two blocked shots. He also, interestingly, was the team’s leader for the night in Corsi +/- at +5. Rychel was one of the ’13 first rounders that I thought would make it to the big club sooner rather than later. His style of play is already “Jacket-y” and given where he likely will fall in terms of role on an NHL team, I saw his leap a bit smaller than say, a Wennberg. Nice work by Rychel coming in and earning notice and making a difference.

2nd Star. Sergei Bobrovsky. Bob has seemed to struggle since coming back from the broken finger, but tonight he, too, looked like a bit of a return to form. He didn’t face a ton of shots (25 on the night, 24 saves). But the only goal came on the power play (from the young talent, Ekblad) and Bob stood tall the remainder of the night. When the team needed to count on him, they could, including a fabulous save on Nick Bjugstad. Good goalies make the saves they need to make and tonight Bob did exactly that. Also nice to see some of his usual tics coming back, the fist pound into the glove after every save, just one more tiny sign that Bob is regaining his game as well?

1st Star. Boone Jenner. Was there ever a more Blue Jacket / Boone Jenner goal than the game winner #38 earned last night? Rough scramble in front of the net, whacking away at the puck to finally notch the goal. It was only Jenner’s second goal of the season but it was a doozy. Jenner had 19:19 of ice time and played sound and hard. The guy who breaks the losing streak? give him a first star and a hearty “BOOOOOONE!”

Game in One Picture

kerby copy

Stud. The Crowd. Monday night hockey in Columbus for the 30th place team (at the time) still drew 12,300. That may sound meager to some, but when you’ve been around this team, and you’re living through the season that is currently ongoing, that’s a strong testament to the fans that are still wanting to will this team to be better. They were still able to be loud and cheered more than a bit to hopefully help the team get going. Jack Skille also gave the fans a shout out post game mentioning that the team knew how important it was to win at home for them. So to everyone who came out in that very very cold weather – good on ya!

Dud. Injuries.  no really. They suck. Now Arty is out for two-three MONTHS. This is just ridiculous and beyond normal and quite frankly annoying. And how do you tear a tricep anyway? And then this happens in pregame? Oh Chaput – please don’t ever do that again! :)

The Jackets next travel down to Florida for the rematch on Thursday night. The Panthers are turning out to be a team to be taken seriously this year, it’s likely that they will want to return the favor to the good ol’ Jackets. Let’s hope the CBJ string together a couple of wins.

Carry the Flag!

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