At the halfway point of the season I wrote about the second half expectations for the Blue Jackets. I looked at my preseason goal predictions for each player, then predicted how I thought they would perform over the second half of the season. Before I got to that point, I briefly discussed the team results. At the outset of the season, I had predicted a total of 128 goals scored on the season. I was off by a bit here, as they came in at only 120. However, I was off by the same amount in their goals against, as I had predicted they would come in at 127 goals allowed over the full 48 game season. Instead, they finished with 119 goals against. Excuse me for a second while I pat myself on the bat for exactly nailing their goal differential. In my preseason predictions, I hit another point that I think probably raised some eyebrows at the time: that the Jackets offense would actually improve with Rick Nash off in New York. And believe it or not it did (barely). The Jackets scored 120 goals this season, or the equivalent pace of 205 goals over 82 games. Not a great number, but better than the 202 goals the Jackets scored in 2011-12. Continue reading Looking Back to Look Back: Reviewing Preseason and Second Half Predictions
Here it is folks, the day you’ve all been waiting for. I bet every single one of you has been waiting on pins and needles to find out who wins the Clancy. It is awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community. Generally, this one goes to players who do extremely awesome philanthropy. As we aren’t exactly privy to that information it took on a little different flavor. And your winner is….. Continue reading 2013 tUB Awards: King Clancy Memorial Trophy
The James Norris Memorial Trophy, given to the best defenseman, is one of the awards that I was really looking forward to. I thought there was a clear winner and a clear top three, but I had assumed it wouldn’t be as clear once the rest of the tUB team weighed in. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you like in-fighting and drama), we had a consensus winner, with only three other players recieving votes. I think this really highlights the strength of the Jackets now, as they have three players who could play on most teams top pairs, a couple solid rookies, and stud prospect Ryan Murray on the way. Should be very exciting moving foward. Without further ado, the winner of the Norris is….. Continue reading 2013 tUB Awards: The James Norris Memorial Trophy
A huge hard fought win for the Blue Jackets finally brings them into sole possession of a playoff birth. A great road game from the Jackets paid off huge, even though it looked like it might slip away from them in the 3rd period. Sergei Bobrovsky was his usual stellar self, only really getting beat on one goal. I’m not going to break down that ridiculous Dave Steckel goal (which even Puck Daddy thought was very strange), other than to say that it could have broken the team. Goals like that are the ultimate deflators. It could have ended the Jackets in this game, which probably would have ended their season. Instead, they didn’t miss a beat, tied it up a few minutes later, and pulled it off in overtime (again). You can’t praise the heart of this team enough. Let’s take a closer look at the goals: Continue reading Goal Breakdowns @ Anaheim 4/17
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
With their 2-1 victory over the Pacific Division leading Anaheim Ducks tonight, the Columbus Blue Jackets finally clawed their way into sole possession of a playoff spot. The Jackets managed to survive a horrendous 3rd period, where they were outshot 17-1, to force overtime. It was there that Mark Letestu capped off a two point night with the game winner. After a slow first two periods, the Ducks turned on the jets in the 3rd, keeping the Blue Jackets on their heels, with only Sergei Bobrovsky carrying his weight. With 29 saves last night, Bobrovsky finished March with incredible numbers: 9-2-3 record, .950 save percentage, 1.49 goals against average, and three shutouts.
The Blue Jackets wrapped up a Canadian tour last night in Calgary and both fan bases were curious to see what team would show up for their side. Columbus was looking to finally get a regulation win on the road with back-up Steve Mason in net, and Flames faithful were curious to see how their team would respond in their first outing since Jerome Iginla was traded.
Right off the bat, my new favorite line of 11-42-13 was buzzing – creating some opportunities and providing some sustained pressure in the offensive zone. Cam Atkinson had a beautiful opportunity off a pass from Matt Calvert that he just couldn’t convert. But this energy set the tone for the arrival of the other lines on ice. While on the PK, Mark Letestu buried a short-handed goal to put the Jackets up 1-0. Shortly after, Dalton Prout and Tim Jackman engaged in a bout at middle ice that Prout won soundly and certainly brought many cheers from the group of friends I was with game-watching. Prouter certainly seems to be impressing in his time up with the big club and the long term defensive picture got a little more cloudy for all the right reasons as another quality candidate is showing us he’s here to play.
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
Last night brought the Phoenix Coyotes to town and also marked the 2nd “Hockey and Heels” event put on by the Columbus Blue Jackets. I was very excited to go to since last year’s quickly became my favorite hockey event of the season. I think getting more women involved with – and loving – hockey is something to be supported. There are a lot of very smart female hockey fans and we are constantly fighting to get the hockey world to realize that women who follow the great game aren’t just puck bunnies, or people looking for distraction “while the men watch” (ahem). So kudos to the Blue Jackets for giving women a night to hang out, talk hockey, and enjoy some girl time.
The Jackets continue to uphold their reputation for doing things for their fans in high style. Hockey and Heels was held in the Founder’s Club and was set up with a bar at the ready (complete with a ‘signature drink’) and a full spread of goodies to snack on. Every attendee received a $50 gift certificate from Meyer’s Jewelers, a raffle ticket for event giveaways and, upon leaving, a Blue Jackets wine glass. It was great to see a lot of familiar faces but also a lot of new ones. Everyone was pretty excited and grabbed seats, packing the room full and it was time for the event to get underway.