Stars of the Night & Game in One Picture: CBJ @ Florida

Well there it is, game number 82 in the books. The final score was maybe a little closer than I would have liked to see, and Bob saw a little too much rubber, but all things considered, throwing up almost 80 shots on net in (basically) meaningless games is not too shabby. With the win, a match-up in the first round with the Penguins is now set, the Jackets will have a little time to heal/rest up, and the best season in franchise history continues on.

Third Star: Mark Letestu

Not much creativity by the star pickers tonight. Letestu scored, so he gets a star. Personally, I would have gone with Boone Jenner. Tied with a game high six shots on goal (with Fedor Tyutin), and paired up with Ryan Johansen for a dominating performance by that line. James Wisniewski was also quite good tonight. And hey, both of them picked up assists.  Continue reading Stars of the Night & Game in One Picture: CBJ @ Florida

Stars of the Night & Game in One Picture: CBJ @ TBL

I’m going to make this one quick. One: I’m a little drunk. Two: I don’t have too much to say about that game. I felt the Jackets were the better team, and controlled the play. But they didn’t do a good enough job forcing things offensively, settling too often for outside shots. More importantly, they allowed too many weak goals. I really dislike “blaming” the goalie, but this is the NHL. If the puck hits you, stop it. Really, that is all it takes to not drive me crazy. All three of those pucks were stoppable.

Third Star: Ryan Callahan

No points. No shots. But hey, he blocked some shots and hit some people. Know what that tells me? It tells me the Lightning barely touched the puck while Cally was on the ice. The advanced stats back this up, as he had 83.3% offensive zone starts and only 43% corsi. Easy zone starts, negative results. Congrats. Not giving this spot to Boone Jenner was a joke. A goal, an assist, hits, shots, dominance both in play and physically. Boone deserved better. Lets hope he scores a couple tomorrow and knocks Rick Na$h off the top spot of the CBJ rookie goal scoring leaderboard.
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Announcing the Twitter #beardbrigade Challenge!

OK everyone, we’re in the playoffs. You know what that means, right? Playoff beard time! Just to make things interesting, here at the Union Blue we’re going to offer up an autographed puck to two lucky fans who participates in this time-honored playoff tradition! The rules are simple:

  • Once the regular season ends, no shaving. It’s bad luck. If you want to start from clean shaven, get that last shave in now because hopefully you won’t be using that razor and Barbasol for a while!
  • You must submit a before and an after picture. Before picture can be submitted any time before puck drop of the 1st playoff game. Copy @TheUnionBlue and apply a hashtag of #beardbrigade. After pictures can be submitted within one day of our elimination or hoisting the cup.
  • I understand that some of the members of the community may have challenges in growing a playoff beard for reasons of gender or age. Don’t worry, you’re not left out! Submit a before and after as well and get creative with what you make your beard out of! Cotton balls? Sharpies? $1 cotton candy? Anything goes!
  • Winners will be chosen by resident Union Blue beard experts based upon sheer beard volume, beard styling, originality with bonus points going to those who show the most pride in their work in progress!

Also, let’s see progress pics along the way! Any time you want to show off your finely quaffed face fur, let’s see it! Best of luck everyone, can’t wait to see your submissions!

Stars of the Night & Game in One Picture: CBJ @ Dallas

Continue reading Stars of the Night & Game in One Picture: CBJ @ Dallas

Stars of the Night and Game in One Picture: Phoenix @ CBJ

HOW BOUT THEM JACKETS? What a game. Tuesday’s game marked the final regular season home game for the Jackets and let’s just be real, how good does it feel to say that and have to point out the difference. For those of us who have followed this team for many a year it’s truly a pleasure – and for fans “new” and “old” tonight was a real hum dinger. Phoenix was in town also fighting for their playoff lives and what you saw tonight was just a taste of legitimate playoff hockey can be. After a slow first period, both teams delivered a gritty play, swallowed whistles, intense crowd, atmosphere for days…and an OT winner. More than the sweet sweet emotion of the entire game for the team to come back from a late late tying goal only two games after losing a game in similar fashion shows exactly what this club is capable of. Let’s get on to look (and celebrate) the three stars per NHL.com tonight.

3rd Star: Boone Jenner. Yep. 19:35 on ice, 53.8% Corsi and one very big goal to start the scoring. Ryan Johansen is in the spotlight but don’t sleep on the young Jenner who is bringing a man’s game in a first year NHL player’s body. Perhaps most impressive to me was when Boone’s composure cracked for just a bit after Doan went after him. Boone leads the team in drawn penalties – his composure is unreal. When Doan came after him, and Johansen had to hold the Coyote back, you saw Jenner respond. It was a flash of emotion from a very controlled player. He got himself back in check quickly but this guy gets it and he cares quite a bit about making this team a winner. After losing his opposite winger when Horton went off with an injury, Jenner steadied the Johansen line and was a big body and a big presence all night. Continue reading Stars of the Night and Game in One Picture: Phoenix @ CBJ

Stars of the Night and Game in One Picture: CBJ vs. Islanders

The Jackets took down the Isles in a slightly early evening affair (not many 6pm starts). It was something if a strange game, very un-Jacket-y, with the majority of the teams four goals coming on the powerplay. The shots, shot attempts, and pretty much every stat were pretty close. This confuses some people, but we’ll get to that. Faceoffs were the one big difference, as the Jackets finished with 65% of the draws in their favor. Oh yeah, the score was also pretty different.

Third Star: Mark Letestu

Letestu was solid tonight, finishing with an assist on Boone Jenner’s game opening marker, and a goal capping off a fantastic passing play. Oddly, I didn’t feel like there were many standouts tonight (other than the guy I’ll talk about next). I just felt like most of the team was solid. I did like seeing Letestu being engaged physically, especially the nice hit he laid on Cal Clutterbuck (just before John Persson took out Derek MacKenzie for no reason, then slashed him while he was on the ice).

Continue reading Stars of the Night and Game in One Picture: CBJ vs. Islanders

Three Stars and Game in One Picture: Chicago @ CBJ

Gut punch. No other way to describe it. With three seconds to go the Blackhawks scored the winning goal after a mess in front of the Blue Jackets net. Blame officiating, blame a missed call, blame the wrong line up, blame confusion on the bench to avoid a too many men call – the score stands. No crying over spilt milk. The reality is a team that was this close to finally getting at least one point against Chicago did not. This game hurt. It hurt a lot – more than just in the standings. Let’s look at the three stars:

3rd Star: Ryan Johansen:  First goal of the second period and a way to set the tone for what would be a back and forth game. As of this writing, Extra Skater is still stuck at 9 minutes to go in the game but at that point, Ryan had the best Corsi of the night for the Blue Jackets so let’s live in that world shall we and factor in the one Blue Jacket that got a star.

Continue reading Three Stars and Game in One Picture: Chicago @ CBJ

Three Stars and Game in One Picture: CBJ @ Philadelphia

Before tonight’s game there were seven games left. Every one a piece of what equates to a playoff series. The Jackets needed a win in their next to last matchup against a Metro division opponent and they got one tonight. A huge 2-0 victory – the first on Philly ice and the first against former Blue Jacket Steve Mason. The Jackets also played to WIN and never sat back on their laurels – a response to a lead the CBJ faithful have been wanting to see. Six more games lie in wait – including another big match up tomorrow so let’s take the little time we have to revel in this win and celebrate the three stars according to the NHL. (Sidebar – if you watched the Fox Sports Ohio broadcast, get ready for a different lineup here)

3rd Star – Steve Mason: Ok I’m sorry but I’m gonna chalk this up to hometown writers. Mase had 25 stops on 27 shots and was admirable, but the second goal went in standard five hole, and Mason was the losing goalie on ten fewer shots than the winning goalie. Just doesn’t fly based on the game I watched. Would have preferred to see Brandon Dubinsky or even Matt Calvert here.

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CHL Playoff 1st Round Recap

Hello all! With the CHL playoffs second round getting under way this weekend it’s time to recap how our eight CHL prospects did in the first round.

Oscar Dansk-Erie Otters (OHL Western Conference)-Won Series 4-1
Series Stats 1GP 0-0 .800Sv% 6.56GAA
Oscar and the Otters opened the playoffs against the Saginaw Spirit in a 3-6 matchup. Otters coach Kris Knoblauch decided to go with backup (1B?) Devin Williams who is a native of Saginaw but you hope a coach wouldn’t start the local boy for that reason only in the playoffs. Luckily, the move worked. The Otters got off to a 2-0 lead before letting Oscar start game three. Oscar got that start and, well, it wasn’t his best night. He was pulled for the third time in four games after allowing five goals on 25 shots. Williams entered the game but unlike the other times, the Otters couldn’t come back and lost game three 7-6 in overtime. Here are coach Knoblauch’s postgame comments on Oscar along with a quick comment from Oscar on his recent struggles. The Otters won games four and five and advanced to face the West Division champs – the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. These teams have met twice in the regular season with Erie winning 3-0 with Williams in net and then getting blown out later in the season.

Kerby Rychel-Guelph Storm (OHL Western Conference)-Won Series 4-1
Series Stats 5GP 1-6-7 +3 6PIM
Kerby and the Storm faced off against the Plymouth Whalers and fellow CBJ prospect Gianluca Curcuruto in the 1-8 matchup. Kerby didn’t earn any points in the game one win but collected his first career playoff multi-point game in game two – a 3-0 victory. In the first, Kerby took a pass from Zack Mitchell to start a bang bang passing play with Matt Finn finishing the play. Kerby’s second point was an odd one as a Guelph player kept the puck in, Kerby stopped it allowing Nick Ebert to pick it up and fire a shot that went off a Whalers skate to make it 2-0. After being held scoreless in a game three loss, Kerby got back on the scoresheet in game four. In the second, Kerby  started a rush up ice getting the puck to Justin Auger with Auger finishing it in a 7-2 win. Game five was a big one for Kerby – he pretty much put the team on his back and collected four points in a 8-3 win. Kerby’s first point came late in the first. It’s hard to tell if he was trying to do the between the leg shot or a pass but whatever it was, he got the puck to Ebert who banged a shot past the Whalers goalie. Kerby’s three point third period started when after a board battle the puck went to Kerby who tapped it to Zac Leslie. Leslie passed it back to Kerby who unleashed a howitzer to make it 5-2. 1:31 later, Kerby worked a give and go with Ryan Horvat that Horvat finished. Later in the third Kerby curled to the point and made a pass to Scott Kosmachuk who seny a crosscrease pass to Nick Ebert whose slapshot made it 8-3. Up next for the Storm is a matchup with the London Knights. The teams met six times in the regular season splitting the series.

Continue reading CHL Playoff 1st Round Recap

Stars of the Night & Game in One Picture: CBJ vs. Colorado

Disappointing end to what once looked so promising. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this game, as the Jackets have traditionally struggled with the Avalanche’s speed. But minus top scorer Matt Duchene, the Avalanche were not able to pull away like they usually do. The Jackets controlled play for the first two periods, carrying a resounding two goal lead into the third period. Unfortunately, they couldn’t hang on, and a (justified) penalty on Artem Anisimov put the Avs on a 4v3 powerplay in overtime to seal the deal. On the bright side, the Jackets got a point, New Jersey only got one point, and Washington got crushed. So the CBJ stay in a playoff spot for the time being.
Continue reading Stars of the Night & Game in One Picture: CBJ vs. Colorado