The Union Blue http://www.theunionblue.com Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:53:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 CBJ Prospects Review (10/7-10/19) http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/20/cbj-prospects-review107-1019/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/20/cbj-prospects-review107-1019/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:53:19 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=6975 Hello all! I’m trying to get back to our normal prospect updates on Mondays schedule, so as we do, let’s  start off in Springfield (or Syracuse as it was) as the Falcons first two games were on the road against the Crunch. The Falcons had a light start to the season playing only one game […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3rd Star: Nick Foligno

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

2nd Star: Robin Lehner

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

1st Star: Mike Hoffman

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

 

Game In One Picture:

game_5

Stud: Sergei Bobrovsky

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

Dud: The Slow Start

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

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

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

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

3rd Star: Jack Skille

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

2nd Star: Mark Letestu

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

1st Star: Matt Calvert

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

Game in One Picture

game4 

Stud: The Start

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

Dud: The Finish

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

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

Carry the Flag!

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Goal Breakdown: Cam Snipes on the Sabres, Duclair Makes Amends http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/15/goal-breakdown/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/15/goal-breakdown/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 20:14:14 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=6949 Welcome to the initial Goal Breakdown for the 2014-15 Blue Jackets season. If you are here, you’ve probably seen one of these posts in the past. If you haven’t seen one before, then welcome, and enjoy. I’m going to be doing these a little different this year than in the past, with a new Goal […]

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Welcome to the initial Goal Breakdown for the 2014-15 Blue Jackets season. If you are here, you’ve probably seen one of these posts in the past. If you haven’t seen one before, then welcome, and enjoy. I’m going to be doing these a little different this year than in the past, with a new Goal Breakdown being posted every Wednesday (give or take). They won’t be game specific, but will usually feature one goal scored by the CBJ, and one scored against them. I will tend to focus on what the Blue Jackets are doing (or not doing) that led to the goal being scored, usually beyond the obvious “the goalie didn’t stop it”. I will mostly use goals from the previous week, but will look at older goals if anyone has a question about how any goal happened. If you have a request, you hit me up on Twitter @TheCoachUB. I don’t tweet much, but if you mention me I will probably see it eventually. Today’s post will feature Cam Atkinson‘s powerplay goal versus Buffalo, and Rick Nash’s goal late in the game versus the Rangers.

Cam Atkinson (on Jhonas Enroth), assisted by Ryan Johanson and Nick Foligno

First things first, there are a couple of nifty plays in the lead up to the goal. I really like this pass by Ryan Johansen. Just a heads up play (while he’s facing the opposite direction no less). The two Sabres players are expecting Johansen to either dump the puck into the corner, or chip it back to the point. Those are generally safe assumptions, but that lack of discipline opens up a giant hole in the box that Atkinson slides into.

CamBuf1

Tyler Ennis slides over to fill the space, but a lefthanded shot in Atkinson’s space could have gotten off a one-timer. Cam smartly regroups, then does another thing I really like on the powerplay. Buffalo isn’t the most disciplined team, and Atkinson really tests them on that here by attacking the center of the box. By skating right into the space, Cam is forcing the Sabres hands. They need to communicate effectively and quickly to determine how to handle Atkinson. If no one takes him, Cam gets a shot off. If Meszaros jumps out on him, he might be able to get it low to Nick Foligno. If Stafford crashes down hard, Cam could drop it through him to David Savard. If Ennis comes down through, then a lane opens up to Jack Johnson. It’s going to be a tough pass that requires a quick decision, but the wrong one, or multiple guys going at Cam can create a nice scoring chance.

CamBuf2

Meszaros comes out hard on him, and Ennis stays put in the middle of the box, which opens up a very nice passing lane to Johnson for a one-timer. Unfortunately he misses the net (although it appears that Foligno tipped it). This can be a killer on the powerplay, as the attacking players are generally overloaded on one side, so a missed net can wrap the puck around and out of the zone. In this case, Johnson was on the weakside, so Johansen and Savard will still able to be in position to keep the puck in the zone.

The missed shot has a positive side effect, in that it forces the Sabres players to move quickly from side to side. Meszaros gets on Johansen and Stafford is in position to cut off a pass up the boards to Savard. However, Benoit and Ennis are slow to move across, creating an ocean of space in the middle of the ice. Johansen gets to the puck first and cycles it back around to Atkinson. From here, it’s just speed. Not just skating speed, but speed in play recognition. Atkinson has always had number one, but he has been making much quicker reads so far this season than he has in the past. Cam immediately realizes the space he has, and attacks it.

CamBuf3

The powerplay is all about narrowing down the play to a two on one. In the screenshot above, you can see this play is at a two on one right from there. Benoit has Foligno, Ennis has Johnson, and Stafford has Savard. That leaves Meszaros on Atkinson and Johansen, and he is beat as soon as that puck gets past him.

From here, it’s panic time for the Sabres. Well mostly panic time for Andre Benoit. Ennis does a nice job of getting down on Foligno, and some good communication between him and Benoit could have produced a different result. Benoit does not expect Ennis to help out down low, as he tries to take away the pass to Foligno, while also closing on Cam, to take away Cam’s shot. This is a clear miscommunication. Cam managed to beat Benoit’s slide, but even if he didn’t, he could have hit Johnson for another one-timer.

CamBuf4

Cam has some nice patience with the puck though, waits out/beats Benoit’s slide and gets about the best possible shot a player can expect to ever get out of in-zone play. He doesn’t beat Enroth cleanly, but they all look like snipes on the game sheet. I think Jack Johnson is still out there, waiting for a one-timer that will never come.

CamBuf5

Rick Nash (on Sergei Bobrovsky), assisted by Anthony Duclair

I swear I didn’t pick a Rick Nash goal to troll CBJ fans. Unfortunately, this goal just happened to have the most things I wanted to highlight (err maybe lowlight) of the three games played so far. I’m going to jump ahead a little bit in the video to show something good. The below screenshot shows some really nice positional play by the Blue Jackets players, and some pretty crappy positional play from the Rangers. The Jackets have two guys on the puck hard (Artem Anisimov and Scott Hartnell), with Jack Johnson and Alexander Wennberg in good spots to support them should the puck jump free. The Rangers have Martin St. Louis trapped behind the net, Rick Nash floating towards somewhere, and both defensemen (John Moore and Kevin Klein) sitting flat footed. The Ranger with the puck is 19 year old rookie third round draft pick, and major surprise to make the team, Anthony Duclair. That Jackets should be sitting pretty to come out of this with an odd man rush. Theoretically, Anisimov pushes Duclair up to Hartnell, who knocks the puck free, Wennberg jets out of the zone, and the Ranger defensemen have to turn around and skate forward just to not give up a breakaway.

NashNYR1

Oh look! Everything I just said could happen pretty much did (almost). Hartnell takes the puck from Duclair, and Johnson, Wennberg and Anisimov all take off. Moore is still flat-footed, while all three Jackets are already moving. This could easily be a three on one.

NashNYR2

 

Unfortunately, Hartnell makes a lazy play at the exact same moment Duclair makes a great hustle play. Hartnell tries to one-hand the pass to Johnson, while Duclair manages to recover and get his stick on it and knock it away. Now we have all three Ranger forwards in behind four of the five Jackets (only David Savard is left back). Hartnell had much better options on this play, but I am guessing he just didn’t figure Duclair would be trying that hard down three goals, late in the third period. A better move would have been a touch of patience to allow Duclair to over-recover, then hit Johnson, or just a chip up the boards to allow Anisimov to skate into the puck.

NashNYR3

I mentioned panic time in the first clip, well now it is the Jackets turn. Even with the bad turnover, this still should not have ended up as a goal. David Savard makes an absolutely fantastic play on the short ice three on one. He takes away the shot, and the pass to Nash all at once.

NashNYR4

The problems come from the non-Savard players, who do zero communicating. You’ll notice in the above shot that we now have three Rangers (Nash, Duclair, and St. Louis), and three Jackets (Savard, Hartnell, and Johnson) within a pretty small area of the ice. Logic would dictate that each Jacket should take a Ranger, and the threat would be neutralized. Well logic would be right, but there isn’t always time for that. You have to quickly read who is going where, and maybe shout out who you plan on taking.

NashNYR5

The Jackets do none of the above. They all want to get the puck. After Savard’s block, the puck bounces back to Duclair again (who really works to make up for his original turnover). Hartnell goes racing right past Nash, and crashes into the net, almost knocking it off it’s moorings, and ensuring that Sergei Bobrovsky has absolutely no chance to make a save. Meanwhile, Duclair hits a wide open Rick Nash for one of the easiest goals of his career.

NashNYR6

So there you have it. The lessons from today are as follows: attack space on the powerplay, force the penalty killers to make decisions and move around, and make quick decisions with the puck when the opportunity presents itself. Don’t be lazy with the puck in the defensive zone, when you do turn the puck over, don’t panic, and make sure you take a man. That is it for this week, check back in Wednesday next week for the second installment of Goal Breakdown.

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: DAL @ CBJ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/14/three-stars-game-one-picture-dal-cbj-2/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/14/three-stars-game-one-picture-dal-cbj-2/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 03:35:26 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=6950 There’s always an end to the honeymoon. For the Jackets, that night was tonight. Coming off a franchise best 2-0-0 start to the season, with the much ballyhooed Stars coming in with no wins and no goals for Benn nor Seguin. So, now ask yourself if your as surprised by what happened. The Stars came […]

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There’s always an end to the honeymoon. For the Jackets, that night was tonight. Coming off a franchise best 2-0-0 start to the season, with the much ballyhooed Stars coming in with no wins and no goals for Benn nor Seguin. So, now ask yourself if your as surprised by what happened. The Stars came in H-O-T and for one period dominated (end of first period had the Stars with an even strength 64.29% FF vs a measly 35.71% for the CBJ). That one period was enough of an edge that the Jackets just couldn’t crawl back, even after a fairly even outing by both teams for the balance of the game.

So let’s look at who the NHL named the three stars of the night. And see if we agree.

3rd Star: Jamie Benn. 1 goal, 3 assists, +4 on the night. +10 Corsi. And that one goal was unassisted. Pretty good performance. He was dominant in the game and even went up against Nick Foligno…wait what…in a little spar to end the second period. But anyway, yes, I think Jamie deserved a star. In fact, my only issue with this naming is that Benn was the better player on the ice than those named higher than him. In my book, Benn was #1.

2nd Star: Ryan Johansen. Who does this guy think he is? He can skip training camp and then come in to the regular season and expect to make a difference? Oh right. He’s Ryan Johansen. So he’s good enough to do exactly that. Johansen also had no points through two games and was sitting on 99 career points…until…with a lackluster first period over and the Jackets lagging in the second, Joey had had enough. Jack Johnson passed to Cam who placed the puck perfectly for Johansen. The shot from 19 came from the right circle, hit the net and ignited both the team and the crowd (of 15,000+). Point #100. Johansen would also score what was then the tying goal off the power play. The boy can play. Good on him. Give him a star.

1st Star: Tyler Seguin. Halfway through the first period I said to the person next to me, “how many times do you think Boston kicks themselves for that trade?” I mean goodness. A hattrick on the night and +4 in the game. He was tied with Benn on Corsi for with +10 (second on the team overall for the game). Seguin is part of the makeup of what makes the Stars so potentially dangerous and he was really good tonight. I will not deny the man his three goals, but, right or wrong, an empty netter usually doesn’t carry as much weight, and, as mentioned above, I think Benn was just better overall. So swap the two Dallas players here and I’m happy.

Game in One Picture

game3

Stud. The Crowd. Call me nervous, but for a community still looking to cement it’s status, a Tuesday game against a western conference opponent had me worried about the turn out. But, as mentioned above, the announced attendance exceeded 15,000 and even when the team wasn’t driving energy with their play, the crowd kept trying to will them into playing to win. Chants were consistent throughout the night and when the team woke up after Johansen’s first goal..that was all the folks in seats needed to cheer on their boys. Good showing tonight, and a good sign that if this team stays consistent, they’ve got the supporters ready to cheer them on.

Dud. Game Ready at Game Time. Coach Richards talked about being game ready, being able to prepare yourself, managing success. Post-game players said they just weren’t dialed in when that bell rang. That first period was a mess. Even with five power plays for the Jackets in the first two periods, the Jackets just couldn’t find that higher gear tonight. Flashes of frustration showed. It’s early, and the game wasn’t entirely lopsided. In fact, when the Jackets got to playing their game, the match looked fairly even. So I’m not hitting any panic buttons or leaping from the rafters, but let’s work on getting the kids ready to go when it’s “just another game” not the ‘season opener’ and not the ‘home opener’ because we’ve got a lot more of the former than the latter.

Friday night, former Jacket Kris Russell and the Calgary Flames come to town. It’s the last chance to see the Jackets in person for a while as the Jackets head on a four game road swing that won’t have them back on Nationwide ice until the 28th. So head on down, it’s also Hockey Fights Cancer night, always a memorable event.

Carry the Flag!

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CBJ European Prospect Season(so far) Recap http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/13/cbj-european-prospect-seasonso-far-recap/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/13/cbj-european-prospect-seasonso-far-recap/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:50:03 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=6938 Still playing a bit of catch up folks so today we’ll be seeing how the Jackets three prospects playing across the pond are doing. Daniel Zaar-Lulea Hockey (SHL) CHL Stats 6GP 3-5-8 +4 0PIM SHL Stats 10GP 3-5-8 +3 0PIM Daniel has been the busiest of all the prospects. He’s been playing games since late […]

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Still playing a bit of catch up folks so today we’ll be seeing how the Jackets three prospects playing across the pond are doing.

Daniel Zaar-Lulea Hockey (SHL)
CHL Stats 6GP 3-5-8 +4 0PIM
SHL Stats 10GP 3-5-8 +3 0PIM

Daniel has been the busiest of all the prospects. He’s been playing games since late August due to playing in the Champions Hockey League. The CHL is kind of like a World Cup of European hockey champions. It starts off with a round robin in which you play the members of your group twice. Lulea, Zaar’s group, is pretty easy – they play Germany’s Hamburg Freezers (featuring 3 ex CBJ players), England’s Nottingham Panthers, and Finland’s Lukko Rauma.

Lulea got off to a hot start feasting on Hamburg and Nottingham in blowouts before getting a challenge in the Fins. Starting off against Hamburg, Daniel had a big game where he collected three assists on the team’s four goals (all in the first period). Early in the first, Daniel skated down the wing and sent a centering pass to Lucas Wallmark to make it 1-0 Bears (Wolves? I’m not very sure). Four minutes later, Daniel passed from the corner to Chris Abbott who passed to Per Ledin making it 2-0. Late in the first, up 3-0 with Lulea on a five on three with all five players touching the puck, Daniel found Abbott in front who then passed to Ledin to make it 4-0.

Up next against the Panthers, Daniel was held pointless in a 10-1 win (have I noted when prospects go without a point in games like this it drive me crazy?).

In the rematch with the Freezers, late in the game with Lulea leading 5-0, on the power play Lucas Wallmark passed it to Ledin in the slot who would backhand a pass to Daniel who fired into a pretty much wide open net to make it 6-0.

Their rematch with Nottingham would be just as bad as their first game with Lulea winning 9-1 but this time Daniel would contribute in a big way. Midway through the first, Daniel scored a normal Daniel Zaar goal when he took a crossrink pass from Kristian Nakyva and fired a rocket to make it 2-0. Daniel picked up an assist on the 5-0 goal when he took a shot that started a scramble in front with Per Ledin finishing it. Daniel also scored on a breakaway making it 7-0 in a 9-1 win.

In the game against Lukko Rauma, Daniel picked up an assist when he passed to Chris Abbott below the goal line. He found Lucas Wallmark would made it 1-0. Lulea would go on to win the game 3-1, Daniel and all of Lulea would be held scoreless in a 2-0 loss to Lukko Rauma somehow clinching Lukko first place in Group K.

Up next in the CHL for Daniel is a quarterfinal game against Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg who went 5-1 in Group I outscoring opponents 23-8. As for SHL play (which started while CHL play was going on) Daniel was the hero of Lulea’s season opener when he scored the game winner in the shootout of a 3-2 win with a nifty backhand (which count towards season totals in Sweden).

Up next in a game against Farjestad BK (featuring the Norwegian Nightmare Ole-Kristian Tollefsen) Daniel laid a big hit early in the game before picking up two assists. Late in the first, it’s hard to tell from the highlight but it appears Daniel may have gotten a piece of a pass going to Lucas Wallmark who made it 1-1. In the third, with the game tied at two, Daniel was part of a scrum in front with the puck trickling past the goalpost with Per Ledin gathering the puck and knocking it in to clinch a 3-2 victory.

Daniel continued his strong start by adding an assist against Orebro Hockey. In the third Daniel cycled the puck to Wallmark who found Kristian Nakyva who whiffed on his first attempt but got the  puck in on his second shot bouncing off an Orebroian’s(?) foot past their goalie to make it 2-1 in a 3-1 win. The next game was another match up with another assist on the game winner for Daniel. With the game tied at one in the third Daniel would fire a shot with Per Ledin gathering the rebound getting it out to Kristain Nakyva who’d fire a shot to make it 2-1.

Daniel would be a star in a blowout win over Leksands. He collected three points including his first two goal game. In the third with Lulea leading 3-0, Daniel skated in, fired a shot and Markus Oskarsson picked up the rebound to make it 4-0. With the Bears (let’s go with Bears) leading 5-0, Daniel took a cross-rink pass from Per Ledin and fired a shot that would be tipped by a Leksands player to make it 6-0. Late in the third, Daniel showed off that lethal shot of his (with the net being the only thing keeping it from ending it up in the third row probably) making it 8-0. Daniel has been held pointless in Lulea’s last five games but is still tied for fifth in SHL scoring.

Joonas Korpisalo-Ilves (Liiga-Finland)
Season Stats 3GP 2-1 1.35GAA .952Sv%

Joonas started the Lynxes first three games going 2-1 and allowing only four goals in the three games. First up against Tappara, Joonas made 21 saves in a 2-1 loss. Up next against HPK, Joonas had 31 saves in a 5-1 victory for his first win of the season. Finally, Joonas lined up in a game against the…Squirrels, Mongooses lets move on. In the 3-1 win Joonas made 28 saves for his second win of the season. Joonas did suffer an injury and has missed the Lynxes last seven games, I was told by Miika Arponen that its a groin issue but the coach expects him back this week.

Elvis Merzlikins-HC Lugano (National League A-Switzerland)
5GP 3-1-1 2.55GAA .914Sv
%
It appears Panthers coach Patrick Fischer is alternating between his two goalies with Daniel Manzato being the only one to start back to back games. In his season debut against Genève-Servette HC, Elvis stopped 29 of 32 in regulation and then four of five in a shootout, also picking up two penalty minutes (we’ll be hearing this a lot…or at least a lot more than normal with goalies). After Manzato made his two straight starts, Elvis got back in the net against one of the top teams in the league HC Davos. Elvis had 32 saves in the 2-1 loss. After a night off, Elvis went back in against EHC Biel. In the 7-4 win, Elvis would make 22 saves and picked up an assist on Sebastien Reuille’s first period goal, along with picking up another penalty. An assist, a penalty and a win…the Elvis Merzlikins hat trick ladies and gentleman. In an overtime loss to EV Zug, Elvis stopped 28 of 31 in a 3-2 overtime loss. To close out, Elvis and the Panthers welcomed the ZSC Lions – the top team in National League. In the 2-1 win, Elvis made 27 saves.

There you have it folks, our first update on our European prospects. I’ll try and get back to my normal schedule starting next week with our full update on everybody.

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: NYR @ CBJ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/11/three-stars-game-one-picture-nyr-cbj-2/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/11/three-stars-game-one-picture-nyr-cbj-2/#comments Sun, 12 Oct 2014 03:49:19 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=6935 OK, is there a better team to host for the home opener than the New York Rangers? These games are becoming absolute gems where both teams play hard, things often get a bit nasty and you know that anyone could be the hero of the night. Fans who packed the Arena District this Saturday night […]

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OK, is there a better team to host for the home opener than the New York Rangers? These games are becoming absolute gems where both teams play hard, things often get a bit nasty and you know that anyone could be the hero of the night. Fans who packed the Arena District this Saturday night were rewarded with not only a CBJ win over a division rival but an absolute heckuva game. Let’s get into who the NHL picked as the 3 stars and who could be perceived as the studs and duds.

 

3rd Star: Cam Atkinson

I like this pick for 3rd star. Without possessing the size and strength of the CBJ’s de facto biggest names such as Johansen or Wisniewski, Cam may be making a run at becoming this year’s leading scorer. He’s tiny, fast, sneaky and tenacious. Cam netted two goals tonight including the all-important “breathing room” goal and as I like to call it  and an empty netter. Both of these goals follow a great effort in Buffalo. With only a 2 game sample size to draw from, it’s easy to get excited about Cam’s nose for the net and potential offensive contributions this season.

2nd Star: Marko Dano

I’m very pleased to see Dano get recognized for his great game tonight with the 2nd star. Dano lit up the score sheet tonight in his NHL debut at Nationwide Arena and fans certainly took notice. The youngster’s assist on Anisimov’s goal shows that he’s got what it takes to play the Blue Jacket way for years to come. He makes a great feed to the open player knowing full well that he’s about to get pasted to the boards. This kind of gritty, aggressive play is going to endear him to fans and teammates alike.

What’s been most impressive about Dano and his fellow draftee Wennberg is how cool, collected and defensively responsible they’re playing on all 200 feet of the ice. As a long time CBJ fan, it’s easy to be overly cautious about rushing young talent and seeing them get in over their head. So far, that does not seem to be the case for Dano.

1st Star: Nick Foligno

I’m not sure I can understand someone who doesn’t enjoy Foligno’s play. He has no problems going to the tough areas and if there’s anything more blue collar than burying your own rebound from your belly while sliding into the opposing net minder, I’m not sure I’ve seen it. This is the kind of guy I want our young players to be exposed to. Tonight’s game was a great example of why.

Game in One Pic
Courtesy of RockmanHalo

game2

Studs: The fans

OK, I know it’s kind of a cop out but how incredible was the crowd tonight? The game had a near playoff-like atmosphere due to a full, loud crowd that was able to kick off the 2014-2015 season in style. The Rangers fans I did bump into were duly impressed with what they saw and had nothing but good things to say about the in-arena experience and fans. I know home openers traditionally have great attendance/energy but let’s make this the new normal, everyone. With an experience like tonight, who would not want to come back for more?

Dud: Chris Kreider

Not only did he put his team at a disadvantage for drawing the instigator penalty in his fight with Jack Skille but he could potentially face supplemental discipline on what could be deemed a questionable line change in order to start a fight as pointed out by TheCoach:

It will be interesting to see if there’s any follow up or if the NHL will be satisfied with the 17 PIMs doled out by the on-ice officials tonight.

The Jackets are off until Tuesday evening when they’ll face the potent Dallas Stars at home. Until then, thanks for dropping by The Union Blue!

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CBJ CHL Prospect Season (so far) Recap http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/10/cbj-prospect-seasonso-far-recap/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/10/cbj-prospect-seasonso-far-recap/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 19:39:37 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=6920 Greetings all – with the NHL getting going and most prospects (the healthy ones at least) having played a few games, I thought it was time to get going. First in Springfield, the Falcons played their three preseason games but due to the AHL not keeping track/someone asleep at the switch in Springfield, I can […]

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Greetings all – with the NHL getting going and most prospects (the healthy ones at least) having played a few games, I thought it was time to get going. First in Springfield, the Falcons played their three preseason games but due to the AHL not keeping track/someone asleep at the switch in Springfield, I can barely tell you who played, let alone scored. The team went 1-2 with the win coming in a shootout.

Let’s look at the rest of the boys playing in the CHL:

Blake Siebenaler-Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Season Stats 3GP 1-1-2 +2 0PIM

Its been a rough start for the IceDogs. They’ve gone 0-3 as the team starts the year on a long road trip due to a new arena opening soon. Blake went pointless in the teams first two games – losses to Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie. Finally, in a game against Mississauga, Blake earn his first points of the season. In the third with the Dogs trailing 3-1, a trailing Blake fired a shot and picked up his own rebound to fire again with Blake’s D partner Vince Dunn picking up the rebound. Late, (ok very late) in the third, Blake scored his first of the season when he kept the puck in, and snapped a shot to make it 4-3 with only five seconds remaining.

Nick Moutrey-Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Season Stats 3GP 0-2-2 E 6PIM

When he was returned to Saginaw, Nick had an A waiting for his jersey as the Spirit are following the CBJ lead of going with four As for now until someone earns it. In his season debut, Nick picked up an assist on the game winner. Nick collected a rebound and got the puck to the point where Marcus Crawford fired a shot. Mitchell Stephens picked up the rebound to win the game 4-3. Nick would be held pointless in a 6-4 loss to Sault Ste Marie. Nick did pick up another point in one of the first prospect matchups of the year against Windsor. In the second, Nick got the puck out of a board battle and found Dylan Sadoway in the slot who finished for his second of the game in a 4-1 win.

Markus Soberg-Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Season Stats 4GP 0-1-1 -3 6PIM

Markus was the first CHL prospect sent back to his junior club that was invited to Columbus and like Nick would be asked to take on a leadership role. In probably what is a rare a occurrence, a rookie European was given an A to wear while earning high praise from Head Coach Bob Boughner ““Soberg’s been a pleasant surprise on and off the ice,” Boughner said “He’s been vocal and takes his game and being a pro very serious. Guys gravitate to him.” Like the Spirit, the Spits are going with four As while they assess the roster further. In his North American debut, with Windsor leading 1-0, Markus gathered a loose puck, skated down the wing and placed a saucer pass to Chris Marchese who tapped the puck past the Otters goalie. The Otters would score the next five goals in a 5-2 win. Markus has been held pointless in the Spitfires next three games.

Julien Pelletier-Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)
Season Stats 8GP 4-7-11 +2 2PIM
Julien was one of the few draft picks on the Traverse City roster not to make it to Columbus for Training Camp. In his season debut Julien would pick up a goal and a assist in a 5-4 loss to Charlottetown. The next night in the rematch Julien would pick up two more assists in a 7-1 win. Up next against Gatineau Julien would pick up an assist on what they thought would be the game winner but the Olympiques would tie it later scoring the game winner 33 seconds into overtime. Julien would score two goals in a 7-5 loss in which the Eagles trailed 5-1 at one point. In a 5-4 overtime win Julien would score his fourth goal of the season. At the end of September the Eagles would announce their captains with Julien being named an alternate(noticing a pattern folks). In a back to back against Saint John and fellow CBJ prospect Olivier LeBlanc in a split Julien would pick up three assists with Julien picking up two in the Eagles 5-4 loss on Friday.

Olivier LeBlanc-Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Season Stats 7GP 2-4-6 +9 23PIM(leads team)

Like Julien, Olivier was not invited to Columbus but instead was sent back in time for the Sea Dogs home opener. When he arrived, Oliver had a C put on his jersey presented by ex-Sea Dogs captains including one time Jacket (Traverse City but who’s counting) Mike Thomas (wish I had video of him handing it over). As for the game, Olivier opened the scoring when he took a pass, skated in and fired a shot through a screen. Olivier was named first star. In the 5-1 win, Olivier picked up nine penalty minutes including a second period fight. In back to back wins over Halifax, Olivier earned two assists along with eight penalty minutes including six in one game. In a game against Charlottetown, Olivier picked up a goal and an assist. The assist came first when Olivier passed the puck to Thomas Chabot whose shot rebounded to Mathieu Joseph to make it 3-2. Later in the game, just two minutes after the Isles took the lead, Olivier tied the game with a shot off a face-off. The Sea Dogs won the game 5-4 in a shootout. Olivier was named second star in the win. In a 5-4 win over Cape Breton, Olivier picked up an assist before going pointless in the rematch.

Peter Quenneville-Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Season Stats 6GP 0-2-2 +1 0PIM
Peter was the only other prospect to not make the trip to Columbus as he was sent back for his team’s home opener but he went pointless in a 4-2 loss to Regina. Up next in a rematch against the Pats, Peter picked up his only points of the season. In the 6-1 win Peter earned assists on the Kings first two goals (sorry highlights are bad, can’t tell much, plus…the music). Peter has been wearing an A all season and probably will continue to wear one when a captain is chosen as he is one of the team’s three 20 year olds.

Oliver Bjorkstrand-Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Season Stats 3GP 2-2-4 +3 2PIM
The CHL prospect that lasted the longest in camp was a welcome site to his team as the Hawks have gotten off to a rough start under new coach Jamie Kompon. In his debut against Seattle, Oliver would do what Oliver does best; and shorthanded I might add. In other words, I’m not going to waste my time describing – just WATCH THIS. Ok you’re back? Pick your jaws up. In their next game Oliver picked up an assist when he sent a pass to Layne Viveiros whose shot was tipped by Chase De Leo to make it 1-0 for the Winterhawks first win of the season. Up next, Portland loaded up the bus on the ferry and were off to Victoria for a game with the Royals. Oliver earned his first multi-point game of the season in a 6-2 loss. The Hawks were trailing 5-0 before they scored when Oliver struck when he skated in and snapped a shot top corner. 52 seconds later, Oliver did the dirty work when he drove down the wing, taking a hit that would knock the puck loose along with Oliver’s helmet. But Chase De Leo gathered the loose puck and got it to Anton Cederholm to make it 5-2 Royals. Like almost everyone in this post, Oliver has been wearing an A since he was sent down, Portland again going with no captain but only three As.

Dillon Heatherington-Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
Season Stats 6GP 1-1-2 -2 0PIM

Dillon, the hero of the Hurricanes at Nationwide, was held pointless in his first four games before picking up a goal and an assist against Vancouver. Dillon scored his first when he took a pass from Colby Cave who pinched in and fired the shot top corner to tie the game at two. Late in the second (19:55) off a face-off, Dillon fired a blast that was blocked by a Giant in front with Glenn Gawdin picking up the rebound to make it 4-3 Broncos in a 5-4 victory. Dillon, like most, is wearing a letter (A) but is the only one who is in his second season of wearing it (LeBlanc served as an A last season).

Quickly, the majority of the Jackets NCAA prospects played an exhibition game – the Jackets three prospects on Minnesota played a game against the NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) Ooks. In the 5-0 win, all three Jacket prospects picked up an assist with Ryan Collins and Seth Ambroz picking up assists on Travis Boyd’s goal to make it 5-0. Mike was paired with freshman Jack Glover while Ryan Collins was paired with Rangers first round pick Brady Skjei. Seth played on an all-senior line with Sam Warning and Boyd. The Gophers open the season this weekend taking part in the Ice Breaker Tournament against Minnesota-Duluth. 2014 pick Tyler Bird and the Brown Bears (Cleveland football fans may have just found their new favorite prospect just based on jerseys) haven’t even hit the ice yet due to playing in the ECAC/Ivy League.

 

There you have it folks! I’ll try to get on my normal Monday schedule soon along with a recap of what our three European Prospects are doing. I’ll also have my NCAA prospects preview soon!

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Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ BUF http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/09/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-buf/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/09/three-stars-game-one-picture-cbj-buf/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 02:09:19 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=6927 Well friends, it’s hockey season. Welcome back to the crazy 82 game ride. Luckily, the Jackets started on an up note. Buffalo, a team that finished in last place last season, wasn’t exactly an intimidating opponent and arguably a welcome first opponent for a very different looking Jackets roster than a lot of fans expected. […]

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Well friends, it’s hockey season. Welcome back to the crazy 82 game ride. Luckily, the Jackets started on an up note. Buffalo, a team that finished in last place last season, wasn’t exactly an intimidating opponent and arguably a welcome first opponent for a very different looking Jackets roster than a lot of fans expected. Nonetheless, the team suited up, with newly returned Ryan Johansen and three rookies suited up to beat the Sabres 3-1.

If you’ve not been with the Union Blue for these recaps in the past, a quick primer. Every game we look at the three stars as named on NHL.com and let you know if we agree or disagree. We then name one “stud” and one “dud” from the game and wrap it all up with a glorious piece of art from the famous @RockmanHalo. So let’s get to it…

3rd Star: Sergei Bobrovsky

Bob played very well, facing 22 shots and turning away 21 of them. Granted the star pickings were perhaps thin, but honestly this choice surprised me. You need Bob to help you win but a “good” night is not a great night. I dunno, perhaps we’re just spoiled.

2nd Star: Zemgus Girgensons

Ok. Maybe someone just likes to prove they can spell this and wanted to write it down. Granted, Girgensons had the only Buffalo goal of the night and it was impressive. The goal came off a solo effort that made Hartnell and Anisimov look silly and had Jack Johnson scurrying to try to protect his goaltender but otherwise, not a lot to write home about. Honestly, if you’re only going to get one Sabre in the star listing, I would have gone with Enroth. The goalie literally single handedly kept his team in it for the first 40 and turned away 37 of 40 shots. He took a pretty much everything the Jackets threw at him and turned it away calmly and competently. Can’t believe he didn’t get a mention here.

1st Star: Cam Atkinson

Yes. Yes. and Yes. Cam was brought to Columbus for his speed and his skill. The guy has a shot. And boy did you see that tonight. Even when Enroth was still able to turn away a shot, you couldn’t deny that Atkinson was usually involved in generating the chance in the first place. When Cam finally got his goal, that would end up being the game winner, it was a true reward for effort spent. Cam was lined up with Foligno and Johansen for the majority of the game really had him comfortable in his role. We’re used to thinking of him as being with Calvert but this new look line was a fun revelation.

Game in One Picture

Game1_Sabres

Stud: The babies.

There was a lot of debate about Chaput, Wennberg and Dano making the lineup. Were they ready? Were they rushed? Would they still be here if the roster was fully healthy? Well all three looked better than good tonight. More importantly they looked comfortable. Dano led the team in Corsi at +15, Chaput played a solid 12:30 and earned his first NHL point of the season when he assisted Jack Skille’s goal, and Wennberg – well he’s just good at the hockey. Almost 18 minutes on the ice and the secondary assist on the final goal of the night. These guys fit in…and it will be fun to see how they respond as the season progresses.

Dud: Null.

Maybe it’s that anticipation for NHL hockey to begin, maybe it’s the fun of winning. But there really wasn’t much to complain about tonight. Hopefully that trend continues. I guess I could say the lighting kinda sucked at First Niagra Cenre?

Well that’s it Jackets friends. The team flies home tonight and will face the Rangers in their home opener Saturday. Should be a good time…and it’s two more days towards Jenner, Dubinsky and Murray being healthy.

Carry the Flag!

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Hockey. It is here. http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/09/hockey/ http://www.theunionblue.com/2014/10/09/hockey/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 12:59:08 +0000 http://www.theunionblue.com/?p=6921 It starts tonight.  For the Jackets  they are one of 30 teams, playing 82 games each. Fighting to play for what really matters…the Stanley Cup. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The off-season has been one big storyline of a number one center and his (lack of) contract, followed by a training camp that […]

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It starts tonight.  For the Jackets  they are one of 30 teams, playing 82 games each. Fighting to play for what really matters…the Stanley Cup. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The off-season has been one big storyline of a number one center and his (lack of) contract, followed by a training camp that was a variation of “bet you didn’t see THAT coming”. The lineup is currently one that no one could have predicted and more changes are sure to come – not only those due to players fans will love to welcome back but also due to trades, players not performing, or (gasp!) another injury. There are nerves, and there are question marks. People are already wondering when contracts will be signed for players due to be free agents after the season.

But for now – just for now – remember the anticipation.

Today, Jackets fans are filled with hope. Nothing has been lost, nothing has been gained. Today – it’s truly possible that by the end of this season anything could happen. So for now, remember how much you desperately waited for NHL hockey to return. How you clamored for updates on the team or on your favorite player…remember when the weather turned, just about a week or so ago, and that cool crisp bite re-entered the air, signaling that it’s time to return to the rink.

No one knows what this season will bring, but it’s sure to bring concern, celebration, questioning, frustration and times when you can’t believe what’s happening. So for now, as the first puck prepares to drop on the Blue Jackets season, remember right now. Because right now you know all the reasons that you love hockey so much. It’s just might take a few months and 82 (or more!) games to remind you of that again.

Carry the Flag – Go Jackets.

 

 

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