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 last night’s game I was looking forward to writing tonight’s stars of the night and predicted we’d have some Blue Jackets to write about. Without further ado:
3rd Star: Joe Colborne
I have no issue with Colborne being considered for a star of the game. He netted Calgary’s only score and put in a good 12 minute effort.
Continue reading Stars of Night: CBJ @ Calgary
The refs and league actually nailed every aspect of the two hits from Sunday nights game. I’ll take these one by one.
Regarding Francois Beachemin’s hit on Artem Anisimov: It was a clean hit, with shoulder to shoulder being the principal point of contact, albeit with some incidental contact to the head. Arty had the puck, so no interference. As for Nick Foligno, he jumped Beachemin after and deserved his 2 minutes. The problem here is that no one seemed to have much of an issue with how this played out until the Brandon Dubinsky situation later. Continue reading Unpopular Opinions: The Refs/NHL Got It Right
The Blue Jackets had quite the weekend. Hockey Fights Cancer engulfed Nationwide Arena on Friday night, alongside a gaggle of Maple Leafs fans, and Sunday offered a great 6:00PM game against a very strong Anaheim team. It had the makings of a weekend that could really turn in Columbus’ favor, with the potential to go from 4-5 to 6-5, vaulting them into the second spot in the Metropolitan division.
Friday was amazing. Hockey Fights Cancer is such a wonderful initiative which was founded in 1998 by the NHL. I encourage you all to click on the link and read all about how many people benefit from this program, and what kind of incredible support it gets from the players of the National Hockey League. While I don’t often link to other sites, I think also important to read, is Nick Foligno’s story. The interview and story were completed by our very own Alison Lukan, who writes for Fox Sports Ohio. All the stories, all the incredible fans pushing certain purple jerseys to incredible numbers in the silent auction (you know who you are, you fantastic human), and the overall attitude that seemed to engulf Nationwide made the night, in one word, overwhelming. We are all touched by Cancer, whether it is family or friend, and I commend all who decided to be a part of this amazing night.
Continue reading Blue Jackets Weekend Recap
Before digging into the substance of the post, I must provide an apology. As many of you know, we just returned from a two-week vacation to Maine, Nova Scotia, PEI and Quebec. (Articles forthcoming during lulls in the hockey action). The down side of the vacation was that we missed the start of the season, and in our absence, the Blue Jackets posted a 2-5 record. Since our return last Saturday, they are 3 – 0. Just sayin’. Anyway, notwithstanding any dubious claims of causation, I promise to never again allow vacation to interfere with hockey. Mea culpa . . .
Let’s turn to the matters at hand. The Blue Jackets now have 10 games under their collective belts, which equals 12.19% of the season. Instead of relying on Twitter summaries or online post-mortems of the games — as we were compelled to do on the cruise — I’ve seen the live, in-person product on the ice for three games. Combined with some statistical review, I’ve got all I need to provide a first review of the good and the bad, and some indications of what might be forthcoming.
As of Sunday morning, the Blue Jackets are 5-5-0, with 10 points, but working on a three-game winning streak. The record might not be what some had hoped for, but represents a significant improvement over the 3-6-1 start last year, and light-years ahead of the 1-8-1 start in 2011-2012. More importantly, the club was able to shrug off a miserable four-game losing streak and post truly solid efforts against Vancouver, New Jersey and Toronto.
Continue reading The 12.19% Solution
Have no fear, we’re not about to start humming Nadia’s Theme here (if you don’t know what that is youngsters, Google it), but with the NHL’s first games in the books, Patrick Roy’s inaugural tirade dully documented, and Nationwide Arena gearing up for its own debut tonight, it’s time to get down to the business of hockey in earnest.
The young, of course, are the Blue Jackets players themselves, who once again will be in the running for the youngest team in the league. How young? Only five on the roster (McElhinney, Gaborik, Tyutin, MacKenzie and Umberger) have ages beginning with a “3″, and two (Murray, Jenner) entered their 20′s. Feel old yet? No? Let’s try this one — not a single Blue Jacket player was alive for the USA’s ‘Miracle on Ice’ at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. I’ll wait while you retrieve your hearing aids and shawls . . . More on this in a bit. Continue reading The Young & The Restless — Hockey Time in Columbus!
Last year I put together a series of posts centered around my expectations for the various Blue Jackets players goal totals, with one running before the season, one at midseason reviewing how I did and predicting the remainder of the season, and one after the year was over looking back at the first two pieces. I was pretty happy with how my method worked out, so I figured I’d do this for the entire league. You can find my preliminary post on it here, along with an update after the Capitals signed Grabovski. Here at the Union Blue, you’re going to get everything I’ve put together regarding the Jackets.
Unfortunately, I don’t think most of you will be happy with me. I have the Jackets finishing 15th in the NHL in goal differential. However, I also have the Metropolitan division as the league’s most difficult. If the season proceeds this way, the Jackets will finish 6th in the Metro, behind the Rangers, Devils, Penguins, Islanders, and Capitals. The Grabovski signing actually pushed the Caps above the Jackets for the final playoff spot in the East. Consolation prize: I also have the Red Wings missing the playoffs. So there’s that.
Continue reading 2013-14 Blue Jackets Goal Predictions
The signs are all there. The “back to school traffic jams” are in full flower, the pools are closed, and the hockey players are returning to Nationwide Boulevard, just as the swallows to San Juan Capistrano or the buzzards to Hinckley. The youngest among them will head north to Traverse City late this afternoon (where our own @CBJProspects is also headed), while training camp awaits in just a week’s time. Hockey is in the air, without the foul stench of a lockout, and its time to start taking a critical look at the key questions confronting the Blue Jackets as they wind down the final 30 days to the season opener, and the club’s Eastern Conference debut.
So, as the month-long countdown proceeds, I’ll be providing new installments of this Inquiring Minds series, focusing on specific questions that hold special significance for the organization as we eagerly anticipate the curtain rising on a new season. This first installment focuses on scoring — Who’s going to do it? How often does it need to happen? How likely is it to occur?
Continue reading Inquiring Minds: The Quest for Scoring
One of the comforting aspects of being an NHL fan is the almost ritualistic sequence of events that mark the progression from season to vacation, from regular season to playoffs, from “regular” years to Olympic years. Sure, labor stoppages are insinuating themselves into the regular rotation, but enough time has been spent wringing hands over those events.
With the Stanley Cup in the hands of the Blackhawks, the stars of tomorrow plucked from the draft pool, and the feeding frenzy of free agency past its peak, the off-season enters a period of relative quiescence. Sure, some deals will get done, but for the most part the Canadian hockey scribes and pundits have departed for their cottages, and their American counterparts are on the golf course. Fortunately, with 2014 being an Olympic year, there is some intrigue remaining, as the dominant hockey countries extend their invitations to Olympic Orientation Camp. By all accounts, the Blue Jackets will be more than adequately represented. Let’s take a look at those who have invitations in hand, and those likely to be joining the quest for Olympic gold in Sochi:
Continue reading Blue Jackets Prominent In Olympic Quest
Exciting news out of the Blue Jackets front office in the middle of our week as restricted free agent Artem Anisimov has signed a three year contract extension. This deal will lock him in until the end of the 2015/2016 season, at which point he will become an unrestricted free agent at the age of 28.
His most recent contract, a two year, 1.875m average cap hit, saw him play to very solid depth potential. Being utilized in a scoring role as well as a defensive role, Anisimov proved that he is a multi faceted asset worth a decent raise. He also managed to impress the fan base quickly, showing that he could be a great asset to the team both on and off the ice.
Continue reading Anisimov Re-Signed for Three Years