The Blue Jackets wrapped up their five game road trip in Madison Square Garden tonight. After the first period, I doubt you could have found many who would have believed the game would end in a shootout, but the boys in union blue managed to find a way to crawl back, get one point, and challenge for the winner point as well. The team won a total of 5 of 10 possible points on the trip. Let’s take a look at the three stars of the game as defined by NHL.com:
This is the kind of game that reminds you exactly why we love the sport so much. While this game lacked some of the snarl of last year’s Philly-Columbus matchups, it had a few storylines with both teams trying to see if they can claw back up the rankings at all for the playoffs as well as the celebration of former Flyer Scott Hartnell’s 1,000th game. It had drama – as there were some interesting non-calls and the culmination of the Jackets storming back from a 3-1 deficit to ultimately win 4-3 in overtime.
It was a fun night and a great way to send off the home team before they hit the road for their next 5 games. Let’s take a look at the three stars as named by NHL.com:
Ahhhh the soothing feeling of watching an actual NHL hockey team play. I missed last nights win over Philly, so I can’t comment on it but this was the first game in a while that featured an actual NHL cast of characters wearing CBJ uniforms. This led to a strong effort, one of the more complete games the team has put together all season, against a pretty good San Jose Sharks team. Antti Niemi was solid in the loss for the Sharks, but the Jackets were able to beat him twice, and grind out a much needed back-to-back win. Those two points are huge, as they bring the Jackets only five points back of the Devils for third in the division (with a game in hand). That is probably their only road to the playoffs (the last wild card spot currently is seven points out of reach). I know it seems early to be looking that far ahead, but these wins really help in terms of digging out of the hole from the last month. On to the stars!
3rd Star: David Savard
With Fedor Tyutin on injured reserve, the Jackets leaned heavily on Savard on the penalty kill, as he led the Jackets defense with 3:10 shorthanded time on ice, as the CBJ blanked the Sharks potent powerplay. Of course, the reason he received a star was his goal in the opening frame, as he finished off some nice puck movement from Artem Anisimov‘s line, burying on the screened Niemi. The early goal gave the Jackets a lead they would never relinquish.
Well that game was basically a moral victory. The Jackets lost 3-2, and took zero points home, but they played hard, never gave up, and were in it right up until the last seconds. The Jackets ended up outshooting the Devils 34-29, and the possession stats can go either way, as the Devils had a slight edge in Corsi, while the Jackets had a slight edge in Fenwick (thanks to the CBJ blocking 15 Devil’s shots). Anton Forsberg was very solid in his first start, with two goals coming on screened shots, and one coming on a goal-mouth scramble. He gave them a chance to win, which is really all you can ask for from a rookie minor leaguer. In addition to Forsberg, I’d count another eight Jackets who could arguably be out of the lineup were the Jackets to actually be completely healthy. With all that considered, I’m pretty pleased with the effort the Jackets put forward tonight, the way they played the game (conservative, limit their own mistakes), and actually having a chance to win. Until they start getting some bodies back, I’m not expecting them to beat any decent team (and Jersey is decent), but would just like to see them make the games competitive..
3rd Star: Nick Foligno
What more can be said about Nick Foligno. I hate using words like manly and ballsy, as they are subtly ridiculously sexist. I’m having trouble coming up with a better way to describe Foligno’s performance tonight though. I was really not expecting him to play this game, and he took a shot off the head as well, and no one would have blamed him for not coming back. Instead, he not only barely missed any time, he played 18:17 of solid hockey (fourth among CBJ forwards). I thought the Ryan Johansen, Cam Atkinson, Scott Hartnell line was fantastic tonight (combined 15 shots on goal), but Foligno was easily the best player other than them. Continue reading…
Welcome to this week’s installment of Goal Breakdowns where I go over a couple of goals for and against from the last week of action for the Columfied Blue Falcons. Errrr Columbus Blue Jackets. Sorry, with all those Springfield Falcons in the lineup, I get confused sometimes. As it stands right now, the Jackets are looking to be without their starting goalie, their top scoring defenseman, and seven of their top ten forwards. The likely second line for next game is Marko Dano, Alexander Wennberg, and Jack Skille. That would probably be the Falcons top line should everyone somehow manage to get healthy. Let’s all hope guys start getting better, and that Scott Hartnell, Ryan Johansen, and Cam Atkinson (who could very easily have stayed out of the lineup after skatefacegate) keep up their torrid starts. This week I’m going to cover a few goals very quickly, both for and against, and go a little deeper into two others. Let’s get to it.
Well that was a game. Maybe not the prettiest win in the world, but a win is a win, and a nice way to start off a west coast road trip. The Jackets looked like they were going to get blown out, getting dominated by the Sharks in the first period, and looking like the weaker squad through the first half of the second. Strangely, once the Jackets took the lead, they also took control of the game for a while. Another slow start at the beginning of the third period setup a pretty wild final frame. Joe Pavelski tied it up, then Cody Goloubef committed one of the worst turnovers I’ve ever seen (how do you not take a look there) to Logan Couture who buried the go ahead goal. The Sharks seemed to take control of the game for the next few minutes until the Jackets managed to get some sustained pressure, drew a penalty, and then tied it up on the powerplay. Then the final minute and a half happened. Ryan Johansen scored a hat trick, let’s get that straight. The refs straight up blew that call. Nick Foligno was pushed into the crease, barely made contact with Niemi, then was out of the way of the goaltender when the shot was taken. Had he not been pushed in, or had he been making contact with Niemi still when the shot was fired, I’d have no issue with that call. But it was Joe Thornton interfering with Niemi, not Foligno. Fortunately, Mark Letestu let the refs off the hook a minute later with the game winner.
3rd Star: Mark Letestu
Two goals, including the game winner, 54% on faceoffs, a game high +10 corsi, and some damn fine penalty killing. That’s more than enough for the third star. Let’s backtrack to his first goal though. Holy what a pass by Artem Anisimov. Just a beautiful saucer pass right where it needed to be. Letestu had a nice finish on that one as well.
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.
Happy Wednesday! I am now fully moved, back up, and operational. Which means I’ve had time to complete the latest edition of The Salary Project. For those who missed the earlier editions, Part One can be found here, while Part Two is here.
The Salary Project is a look at the entire CBJ roster, using an arbitration-style analysis to figure out who their closest comparable players are around the league, how much those players make, and how much to expect on a player’s next contract and/or if they are providing good value on their current contract. This is done through using filters on the entire NHL. We are looking at forwards again this week, so we eliminate all defensemen, all players more than two years apart in age (with an exception this week), then break down goals, assists, and special teams time on ice by a percentage filter. Generally, it’s players within 15% of the goals and assists, and 25% of time on ice stats, however there are occasionally exceptions, which are noted, and only when there are not enough players in the standard filter to get a good idea of value. Part 1 covered Cam Atkinson, Matt Calvert, and Brandon Dubinsky; Part 2 hit Nick Foligno, Scott Hartnell, and Ryan Johansen. Part 3 covers Artem Anisimov, Nathan Horton, and Boone Jenner. Let’s do this. Continue reading…
Ahhhhh the doldrums of the offseason. With one major exception, everything in CBJ-Land is settled for the coming year. Even considering Ryan Johansen‘s lack of a contract, we still have a very good idea of what the Blue Jackets roster will look like for the coming year. The exact lines and defense pairings are still up in the air, but we can deal with that closer to when we actually get to see them. Right now there is one thing (almost) going on in the NHL: arbitration hearings. I say almost, as hearings basically NEVER happen anymore, with all the scheduled hearings getting canceled so far after the players and teams have come to agreements. However, I know a thing or two about arbitration in the NHL, having penned this article at the Score, this MUCH longer in-depth paper, as well as first hand experience working on NHL arbitration cases. I figured I’d take the arbitration approach to the current Blue Jackets roster. By looking at what players around the league would be comparable to the current CBJ roster based on their current seasons, we can see if their salaries (and by salaries I mean cap hits) are commensurate with what they contributed last season.
So how did I do this? Well I used a 15% filter (with exceptions noted) for goals and assists, a 25% filter for time on ice, a plus/minus two years in age filter, and of course a positional filter (although all forwards are lumped together). Those sets were used for every player, with a 25% filter for special teams play for players that warranted it. This was done over the last two seasons to find a group of five to ten players who best matched the CBJ player in question. Players on entry-level deals weren’t considered, as their contracts are not merit based (at least not NHL merit). I then looked over the resulting list and figured out where the CBJ player fit. That gives us a nice little range for what each player should be paid based on their market value (from last season), how they compare to players of similar ilk, and what kind of contract to expect for each player moving forward. For today’s post I’ll be taking a look at Cam Atkinson, Matt Calvert, and Brandon Dubinsky. Why didn’t I start with Ryan Johansen? Well the outrage from some mainstream media folks over the Dubinsky project is what initially led me to this idea, I wanted to do them by lines (more or less), and I can only do so much in one post (these are VERY research intensive). Don’t worry, Johansen will be in part two. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
The Selke goes out to the top defensive forward in the NHL. Usually this also carries with it the burden of being somewhat of an offensive player as well. Last year’s winner was Brandon Dubinsky with others up and down the line up receiving votes. Can 17 repeat? Read on to see who this year’s Union Blue Selke winner is…