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
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!
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 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.
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.
The saying goes that hockey is a game of inches. This season has been about the Blue Jackets seemingly always coming up a few inches short. Including in two previous match ups against Colorado. Thankfully, tonight the team reversed the trend.
A 3 PM puck drop certainly changed up fans’ scheduled and it seemed that it may have been affecting the team. The game’s slow development was reflected in the crowd and at one point, my seat mate commented on how quiet it was in Nationwide Arena (and he’s a Blue Jackets fan). The first period also certainly gave us a lot to look at – this marked the first full game with the current iteration of the Jackets’ roster now including Cody Goloubef and Dalton Prout and I’ll admit to having to clarify Nick Drazenovic‘s jersey number once while he was on the ice. Continue reading Colorado @ Columbus: 03/03
The Blue Jackets were downed 5-4 in overtime last night by the Dallas Stars in a game featuring a lot of goals, but not a whole lot of highlight reel offensive plays. Sergei Bobrovsky let in a number of goals he’d like to have back, including the Stars late 3rd go-ahead goal, and the overtime game winner. Heading into the game I had planned on breaking down all of the goals scored, and through most of the 1st period I was worried I’d have nothing to write about. Instead, I’m left with a mess of garbage goals and sloppy play. So with that in mind, I’m going to quickly run through two goals for each team, as there really isn’t much to say about a well played rush that ends in a bank off a leg, or a long floater squeaking in. Continue reading Goal Breakdowns vs. Dallas – 2/26
Unlike most Goal Breakdown posts, this one is about something beyond the play of the Blue Jackets players on a specific goal. This post is about everyone’s favorite grinder, Derek Dorsett (it is amusing to me that Jared Boll versus Dorsett used to be a semi-legitimate argument). Dorsett potted a very respectable 12 goals last season, mostly the product of his no frills, pucks-on-goal, crash-the-net style of hockey. However, I have noticed a marked difference in his game in the offensive zone this season. He has been trying to dangle defensemen, has passed up solid shot opportunities to make a fancy pass, and has tried to stickhandle around guys instead of bulling through them. This is a problem. Derek Dorsett has been a top six player this season in terms of ice time and linemates, and he is playing like he thinks he is a “top six player”. The issue is that for him to be successful in a top six role, he needs to keep playing like the grinder he is. A lot of NHLers have had very successful careers playing top six roles while playing the way Dorsett is suited to. Think about David Clarkson in New Jersey currently, with Tomas Holmstrom as the all-time example. Those guys rarely, if ever, try to dangle anyone.
Continue reading Goal Breakdown – Know Your Role