It’s been a tough road critiquing the Blue Jackets over the last ten games. Should I be acknowledging their convincing wins as playing to their potential, or are they showing up against opponents hitting the snooze button? Many in the Toronto realm seem to think that convincing loss was one of the worst performances by Toronto in recent history. Despite all the sharp edges around recent tweeting, I’m actually pretty optimistic about the team when they are off the ice, leading me to believe that none of their wins were flukes.
As of December 1st, Columbus is 6th of 30 NHL teams in man games lost (101). Somewhat dated on account of the game played last night, but it does show that while Columbus is averaging around 3.75 players out per game, and considering the caliber of players who have missed time (Horton, Gaborik, Dubinsky, Jenner, Calvert, Foligno etc), it’s no surprise that the idea of man games lost as a crutch for mediocrity would be used.
Continue reading Full Recap: Columbus vs Tampa Bay 12/3
A hard fought, but possibly costly win came tonight versus the Tampa Bay Lightning. An ugly first period led way to a very good second period and a mish mash of a third. But more importantly, the Jackets finally do NOT crap the bed on a night when I do the three stars! Whoopee! All is well in Jackets-land, minus all the injuries and inconsistency and all the other things wrong. Anyway, ignore that for now and revel in a shutout victory.
3rd Star: Sergei Bobrovsky
He was good. Very good at times. Let’s be honest, that one save is where this is going. It was a good save. It was also the classic Patrick Roy move where the big arm/wrist movement post save makes it look MUCH better than it actually was. Watching it live, it looked spectacular. On replay, it was clear that Brown did not get the puck up very much and it was a fairly routine glove save. Then there is the bad part of that save. Let’s keep our fingers crossed this is nothing serious, as relying on Curtis McElhinney for more than a dozen games in an entire season is a losing proposition. Continue reading Stars of the Night: CBJ vs. Tampa Bay
Hockey Canada announced its 25 man roster for it evaluation camp that begins December 12th and Jackets prospects Josh Anderson and Kerby Rychel were invited. Kerby took part in the summer evaluation camp while Josh has somewhat come out of nowhere to make the camp roster. One Jackets prospect that went to the summer camp but was not invited was defenseman Dillon Heatherington but multiple people I asked believe Dillon will have a better chance at next year’s team.
Back to Kerby and Josh. Kerby earned praise from Team Canada coach Brent Sutter “He brings elements to the game we really like” including his “Junkyard Dog Mentality” Also adding “He’s a hardworking guy, finishes checks and has decent skills. One thing I like is he can finish.” As for Josh he’s pretty unique. He lacks the high draft pick pedigree of the rest of Canada’s forwards – he’s one of only four players drafted outside the first three rounds. Josh was undrafted in the OHL and walked on with the Knights the season he was drafted by Columbus and is now one of the Knights top forwards. Josh appeared on Hockey Canada’s radar for his strong play in the SUBWAY Super Series with the team’s staff saying that Josh and d-man Chris Bigras “can help our team” and that’s what got them to camp.
Regarding where each of them may fit in, here’s a video with Bob McKenzie talking about Josh at the Super Series and what his role would be with Team Canada. Kerby’s role on Team Canada is hard to judge – he could fit anywhere on the squad scoring/setting up goals on the top six or being physical and grinding it out in the bottom six, where as Josh will be a bottom six/physical presence.
Other Jacket prospects that could be taking part in the World Junior Championships are Alexander Wennberg, Oscar Dansk and Daniel Zaar on Sweden (Wennberg and Oscar I believe are locks while Daniel will have to impress Sweden’s brass). Marko Dano for Slovakia, and folks, I’ll tell you if you wanna see why the Jackets drafted Dano 27th overall watch/DVR a Slovakia game. Dano is a fourth liner who could be the focal point for the Slovak’s offense after leading the team in scoring in last year’s tournament. Markus Soberg will play for Norway’s entry this season more than likely being a top line forward because well… its Norway. Also, Oliver Bjorkstrand will take part in the U20 World Junior Championships Division 1 Group A that starts December 12th playing with Denmark. I expect Oliver to be a top player for Denmark if not the top player in the tournament. This tournament is to decide who will move up to play in next year’s tournament – thus being the punching bag. The other countries in this tournament are Austria, Belarus, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia (regular murderer’s row huh).
Time to review the three stars of the night after a disappointing loss in Boston.
Third Star: DENNIS SEIDENBERG
This is the one star I have the most issue with tonight. Seidenberg logged 20 minutes of ice time and found a way to target Foligno’s head without the refs noticing and even parlayed it into a 2 minute minor and 10 minute misconduct for the guy you hit. Now that I type that out, that’s actually pretty impressive.
Continue reading Stars of the Night: CBJ @ Boston
Well we couldn’t let a group of guys going after revenge get it without causing some nervous moments, but luckily the boys in Union Blue were up to the task tonight and beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 in Columbus. It’s a crucial two points, and yet another “up” in the constant yo-yo’ing this team is doing so we’ll see what happens tomorrow in Boston but for now, let’s look at tonight’s three stars (These are a lot more fun when we get to talk about Jackets)
Third Star: Sergei Bobrovsky
Can’t argue here. Bob faced 28 shots, and gave up two goals. He showed fairly solid play and was supported by a defense that seemed much more interested in helping him out tonight – well except for the third period when 8 minutes of penalty killing took it’s toll and resulted in one power play goal and one goal immediately after the power play expired. The first Bryz vs. Bob matchup showed Bob as the winner.
Continue reading Stars of the Night: Edmonton @ CBJ
U-G-L-Y. Ugly. Ug ug uuuuuuuuuuuuuugly. With that said, I’m going to keep this one short and sour.
Third Star: Marek Mazanec
Wait, his name is Mazanec? And he’s started eight straight games for the Predators? I had NO idea. Wait, I was only told that at least a dozen times over the course of the game. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a goalie’s name more during a broadcast while doing so little. Rimer sounded like a little kid learning a new word for the first time and just saying it over and over until it lost all meaning. Mazanec. As for his actual play, well the Jackets never really tested him, so good for the kid in grabbing the easy shutout.
Continue reading Stars of the Night: CBJ vs. Nashville
After the hole Columbus dug themselves during losses to Edmonton and Vancouver, I was ready to see another convincing loss against Toronto and a major shakeup. It’s not that pessimism has taken over my mentality for the team, in fact, I still believe on paper they are about as capable as any other team in their division to compete for a playoff spot. Rather, it just seemed like par for the course, after the way they’ve played, and the injuries they’ve suffered.
Instead, my smile increased throughout the game. The matchup brought shocked satisfaction as Columbus controlled the puck, limited mistakes, and caused turnovers which lead to odd man rushes for the first real time this season. It was exciting, and even caused me to watch the late night replay so I could take in the quality effort again. They deserved to win the game, and they did the right things. With the exception of Toronto basically sitting back and letting them win, I could not be more impressed by their efforts.
Continue reading Full Recap: Columbus @ Toronto 11-25
3rd Star: Ryan Murray
Murray, Murray, Murray. What more can I say about arguably this team’s most complete defenseman? I have no problem awarding him a star of the game based on having a two point night with 1G and 1A. He tallied 3 blocked shots on the evening to help make Bob’s efforts towards a shutout easier. It’s clear that Coach Richards trusts this kid with him logging another 20 minutes tonight, 4 of which came on special teams.
2nd Star: Sergei Bobrovsky
I know there’s an unwritten rule that if a goalie gets a shutout, writers are obligated to award him a star of the game. Makes enough sense as it takes a Herculean effort to land one, right? While Bob had a solid game, he really wasn’t challenged much this evening. It’s a credit to the skaters in front of him blocking an impressive 20 shots and spending so much time in the Toronto zone. The shots he did face, he had a clear view of them and was square quickly. I’d love to make room in the three stars for Jack Skille or Boone Jenner but I suppose I’ll allow the #1 cop on the force to enjoy his #2 star.
1st Star: Ryan Johanson
It’s hard not to be pleased with Ryan Johanson’s play tonight and as of late. He had an impressive 3 points coming in the form of 2 goals and an assist two of which points came on the power play. He was big, he was physical, he was in the right places at the right time and most importantly he capitalized on his opportunities. In an evening where the roster was seemingly composed of any body that could skate and saw defenseman Dalton Prout lined up as a forward due to injury, he and the rest of the team were completely unfazed and took care of business. This kind of game builds confidence in continuing to put him on the ice for important power plays or draws on the penalty kill.
Jack Skille. Holy cow, this guy played tonight like he never wants to lace up an AHL jersey ever again. Immediately after driving to the net to score his first goal of the game he creates another great scoring chance and was denied. His legs were moving all night long and was causing Toronto skaters fits. It’s always great to get scoring from a call up and if he continues to play this well, we can rest easy knowing there’s no need to rush back any of our injured forwards until they’re completely healthy.
Um. Injuries? Nikita Nikitin took a blast off of the inside of his skate boot and was clearly in pain. We didn’t see him on the ice after that. Artem Anisimov took a monster hit in open ice from Dion Phaneuf that was mistakenly called as a hit to the head at the time. I’m sure the league will give the hit their requisite once-over and promptly realize it was clean. Clean doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. Anisimov left the ice clearing in pain and clutching at his shoulder. In his post-game presser Coach Richards indicated that he doesn’t think Artem will miss any time which is a relief but it was a scary moment at the time.
All-in-all, tonight was a great game by the Jackets and they got contributions from everyone. If they can sustain this recipe and energy level they’re sure to gather more points.
I’m back again with the week in review this time featuring some international competition. Let’s get right to it!
Starting off in Springfield the Falcons would go 3-0 last week. Starting off on Friday against Albany the Falcons picked up a 5-3 victory with Jonathan Marchessault scoring his first two goals since October 12 – a span of 12 games. Two minutes into the game Blake Parlett found Captain Ryan Craig in Gretzky’s office; he got the puck to Marchessault in the slot who promptly fired a shot to make it 1-0. Later in the first when the Devils goalie would try to play the puck, Alex Aleardi stole the puck and found tough guy Dalton Smith who shot into the empty net for his first of the year. 17 seconds into the second period, Jake Hansen found Craig in the slot for his second of the season – pushing him into fifth all time in Falcons goal scoring. The Devils scored two second period goals to make it 3-2; but 5:46 into the third, Marchessault struck again after taking a cross-rink pass from Blake Parlett for his second of the night. After another Devils goal, Frederic St. Denis shot from just over the blueline to make it 5-3 Falcons. Jeremy Smith made 19 saves to earn the win.
Continue reading November 18-24 CBJ Prospect Week in Review