Ah the Lady Byng. Every NHLer’s least favorite award. The official description reads as such: ”Outstanding sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” In general, this award tends to go to the good player with the least number of penalty minutes. Or, as many think of it, the good player who is also the biggest pansy. I object to that description, as there are a number of Jacket players who fit the bill this year, while also playing very hard shift in, and shift out, taking abuse, going to the corners, and playing a tough game in general. However, what sets those players apart from the Matt Calverts and Brandon Dubinskys is their ability to do so without putting the Jackets shorthanded very often, constantly being good sports, and playing like gentlemen. And the award goes to…… Continue reading 2013 tUB Awards: The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
Last night continued the series of “most important games” for the Blue Jackets as the boys in Union Blue fight to claw into a playoff spot. There was a lot on the line, not only two coveted points but a battle for pride as JD faced his former club and Ken Hitchcock was once again in Nationwide. The Blues came in on the second night of a back to back riding a 6 game win streak and the Jackets were bringing Brandon Dubinsky and Jared Boll back into the lineup.
Another shutout win for Sergei Bobrovsky last night, but one much different than one would have expected based on the season so far. Instead of Bob stealing the show and helping the Blue Jackets grab two points they had no business taking, he made 30 relatively easy saves. The Jackets looked like the much more dangerous team last night, and while Bob still had to make a couple of gem saves (and get bailed out by a shaky no-goal call), the majority of the play was controlled by Bob’s teammates. All four lines were firing, as eleven different Jackets picked up points, including at least one forward on each line. After a such a lackluster effort against Minnesota, it was fantastic to see the fire we all know is there come out in force. Continue reading Goal Breakdowns vs. San Jose 4/9
Tough loss for the Blue Jackets last night. Tough loss indeed. With Columbus and St. Louis both coming off hard fought victories the night before, and flying into St. Louis late Thursday, the usual excuses for a road back to back just don’t apply. Fortunately, the Blue Jackets continued their run of showing up to play. They pretty much out everything-ed the Blues, from shots on goal (27 to 19) to faceoffs (33 to 26). Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough. Jake Allen came up huge and David Backes scored a ridiculous game winning goal to get the Blues the 4 point win. It’s going to be tough sledding for the Jackets to make the playoffs (especially considering Detroit’s win later last night), but they aren’t done yet. Now onto the review of all three goals (yes, three). Continue reading Goal Breakdowns @ St. Louis 4/5
It’s that time again! Trade deadline! The Blue Jackets have provided us such a whirlwind of a March that no one seems to know for sure if Jarmo and JD shall be buyers, sellers or standard bearers at the close Wednesday’s activities. With that in mind, all of us at the Union Blue decided to have a little fun. We challenged ourselves to each come up with the top three players we would keep, and the top three players we would deal. There were a few guidelines:
1. Only players who have dressed for the Blue Jackets team this season are eligible for consideration
2. Sergei Bobrovsky is excluded from consideration (given his quality play lately, we figured we’d all pick him anyway)
3. Players who have a no-movement or no-trade clause are still eligible for our lists, but the designation should be noted with an “NMC” or “NTC”.
So welcome to a little time inside our brains. Remember, this is what we want to happen, not what we think will happen…read along, see if you agree with any of us, or sound off in the comments as to why we might just be crazy. We’ll be watching…we may have some off-side wagers involved as well!
The boys began yet another late game with the continuous roster roulette, subtracting the injured Nick Foligno and returning James Wisniewski to the defense. Sean Collins was also called upon to play forward and Coach Richards went with seven defensemen to pick up the load. Scratching John Moore and Colton Gilles. During the pregame, Dan Kamal mentioned how such a line up would force this team to make all the pieces fit and everyone would have to be solid. The implication being that this team needs to be 100% on 100% of the time. A drop in any one area would doom the game. He didn’t know how spot on he would be.
The game started off well. The line of Matt Calvert and Cam Atkinson centered by Artem Anisimov would be the most solid unit on ice all night and struck early with a goal ten seconds in from Cam. Just when I had begun to wonder if he was cooling off a bit – Cam knocks one in and ties a franchise record. I don’t think Khabibulin had even gotten set in his stance. Lest you think Cam was done, he immediately assisted on goal number two passing to Matt Calvert. Jackets were up 2-0 and things looked good. Continue reading Game Recap – Columbus @ Edmonton – 03/28
The Blue Jackets took to the ice Friday night in an attempt to extend their franchise record-breaking streak of consecutive games with a point to twelve games. It is hard to believe that this streak began nearly a month ago to the day when we were facing the tail of two incredibly tight losses to St Louis and Chicago that put the team record at 5-12-2, yet as the game began this evening, that momentum that has seemed to carry through this month was palpable.
A major contributor to their streak has been the penalty kill, slowly improving throughout and now resting in 3rd place amongst the other 30 National Hockey League teams. This penalty kill has been spotless in fourteen of their last fifteen games (including this evening), a combined total of 34 out of 35 or 97.14%. A combination of stymy defensive work along with high end goaltending have made this streak possible, and I personally believe it helps to provide this team with the confidence needed to play their game at even strength.
The Blue Jackets finished off a nailbiter last night, downing the Nashville Predators 4-3 to extend their point streak to 11 games. The Jackets, who have gone 7-0-4 over that streak, have now played in twenty-one 1 goal games. Sergei Bobrovsky was his usual excellent self, making 32 saves in the win, including 13 in the 3rd period where the Jackets were outshot 15-7 by the Preds. One more stat of note before I get to the goal breakdowns: Brandon Dubinsky won 16 of the 18 faceoffs he took last night, helping the Blue Jackets finish with 61% of the faceoff wins. Now on to the breakdowns.
In the final meeting this regular season between the Blue Jackets and the Blackhawks, fans of both teams were treated to an excellent game, loaded with shots, great saves, quality plays, and extended time. Sadly, the sea of red was quite visible in the crowd, however, the Hawks fans weren’t noticeably louder than the Blue Jackets fans until the final outcome was determined, and any pro Hawks chants were stymied by the collective.
The shootout loss tonight ends the season series at 0-2-2. While the Blackhawks achieved all eight points available, Columbus put up a substantial fight in each of the four games, losing by a goal (or less if you consider the shootout loss). And lest we forget the first meeting of the season where a terrible interference call on Foligno left Columbus one goal short. In short, Columbus put up an impressive fight against one of the best teams in the National Hockey League. Certainly an improvement from years past.
We’re officially at the halfway point, so I thought I would take a look back at my preseason individual goal predictions, the team predictions, and what to expect moving forward. First things first, lets start off with the team totals. My predictions had them finishing with a +2 goal differential over 82 games (or about +1 for 48 games), if they could raise their team save percentage from .903 to .910. Unfortunately, they are currently sitting at a -15 goal differential. The problem here hasn’t been just scoring or defense. I had them at 64 goals through 24 games and they are only 9 goals below that. On the defensive side, improvement was dependent upon raising the save percentage from .903 to .910, but it has actually dropped to .902. A jump to .910 would have reduced the first half goals against by 8. Aside from the predictions, the team has greatly improved so far this season. With league average shooting percentage and save percentage, the Jackets would be at a -6 goal differential (based on 60 goals for and 66 goals against). The Blue Jackets -60 full season goal differential from last year equates to a -17 over 24 games. For some perspective a -6 goal differential would tie them with Nashville, while a -17 would tie them with Edmonton.