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 tUB team was all over the place with the Masterton. We had eight players receiving a vote and only two players receiving multiple votes. This speaks to a few things, chief of which is no obvious Josh Harding-like candidate (the Wild netminder battling MS). But to me, it also shows that this is a team built around guys who are very dedicated to the game of hockey, with a number of players persevering through age, injury, doubt, or just losing. This is a resilient bunch, and there were a number of very worthy candidates who didn’t even get a vote (Jack Johnson, Adrian Aucoin, and Cam Atkinson come to mind). However, we did manage to choose a victor…. Continue reading 2013 tUB Awards: The Bill Masterton 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
Is your pulse raised Columbus?
That team, that 5-12-2 mess, spiraling towards the dreaded basement in lieu of a Davidson fueled rebuild, is a figment of history. Twenty four games later, this new look, hard working, hair raising workhorse of a roster continues to get the job done, this time in the extra frame. Comparably, that makes their record 15-4-5
The victory against Colorado improves their win streak to four games, and betters their last ten result to 7-3-0. All this was done in front of a ‘claimed’ crowd of 13,694, although I think they may have been counting hot dogs sold over seats filled. Continue reading Game Recap: Columbus @ Colorado 4/15
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.
Rather than recap the awesome win against Detroit last night, I thought it would be a good time to consider the Blue Jackets over the last ten games. The new look roster, despite being injury ravaged at every point of this season, has managed to generate life on the ice, producing an enjoyable game experience for even the more casual fan. They have taken a talent scattered albatross of mediocrity (see: 2011/2012 season) and transformed into a committed, grindy, “never say die” attitude.
I want to start with their record. In their last ten games, Columbus has won six of them, lost two in overtime, and lost two in regulation. Of those games, the only time they won or lost by more than one goal was their 3-0 defeat of the Red Wings on Saturday. Looking back even further, the Blue Jackets have completed 17 of 26 games this season where the margin of victory was one goal. When was the last time we could talk about this team and consider them in 77% of their games all the way to the final buzzer?
Next, and my favourite statistic right now, is their penalty kill. Stymy in ever way, the Blue Jackets had a nine straight game without a powerplay goal against snapped during a 5 on 3 yesterday. It is hard to contain the likes of Franzen, Zetterberg, and Datsyuk. This impressive streak is something we as Blue Jackets fans are not used to, nor are we used to the 85.9% success rate of the PK which places them 5th in the NHL. It is not only a testament to the tenacity of our defensive forwards and defenseman during those stretches, it is a testament to the stability and success rate of one Sergei Bobrosvky.
Last night the Blue Jackets took down the Red Wings 3-0, clinching the season series against Detroit for the first time in franchise history. Also making history was Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 30 saves for his first career shutout. I was watching the game on the Detroit feed, and was shocked to hear how impressed the Wings announcers were with this Blue Jackets squad. It’s tough sometimes when you watch one team so much more than any other to keep perspective. The Wings announcers were very enthusiastic about Sergei Bobrovsky (calling him the best goalie in the NHL so far this month), talking about how they were the hardest working team the Wings have faced, and saying it looked like the Jackets were dominating the Wings like how the Wings have the Jackets for years. With that being said, let’s take a look at the Jackets goals from last night.