Posts Tagged ‘Blue Jackets’

Oh how quickly things can change for a team when their mindset goes in the right direction. For The Columbus Blue Jackets, this change seemed to come when 32 year old goaltender Curtis Sanford took the reigns from Steve Mason 3 games ago, and going 2-0-1 with a dazzling 1.46 goals against average and .943 save percentage. I just wanted to take a deeper look at this change, so here we go:

For Steve Mason, the team in front of him has been playing at half speed, the defense, hasn’t done work, and has made bad choices in front of the net. Mason, while his defense hasn’t helped him, he hasn’t helped himself, often looking rattled, letting in a few weak goals that seemed to shatter his, and his team’s confidence. Mason has looked absolutely spectacular at times this season, but more often, we have seen the puck wind up in the net. This break in which Sanford is playing, means a lot for Mason (besides healing his new injury), he can work on his game, and hopefully, get back to the form we all saw a few years ago, building back trust with his defense, and teammates, so both can play at the top of their game. When Sanford falters, Mason will get his turn inbetween the pipes again, and can try to prove that he’s our guy.

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-Never touched on my thoughts about the Flyers/Lightning 1-3-1 debate.  Neither team broke any rules, and it was a one game issue.  It was a boring game but I don’t think any rules need to be added or changed in response to one occasion.

-Reports are floating around that Jeff Carter wants out of Columbus.  Carter’s agent shot down those rumors, but the internet can’t help but wonder if he’ll be dealt anyway.  Carter played on the 2006-07 disastrous Flyers team, but even with that experience, going from a Stanley Cup contender to the worst team in hockey is still a shock.  It’s been a bad six weeks for the Jackets, especially for Carter who has missed 10 games with an injury and still doesn’t have a goal.  He does have a no-trade clause starting in the summer, but Carter just  needs to focus on hockey, winning games and perhaps better play will help turn Columbus around a bit.  Even if he were traded, Columbus wouldn’t get the return they traded to get him (Jakub Voracek, 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick). (more…)

Puck Rewind: 11/15 Vs. Minnesota

Posted: November 16, 2011 by cujorulesdtown9 in Columbus Blue Jackets
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Just some random thoughts/opinion about the Blue Jackets after the game last night vs. Minnesota:

– Has Matt Calvert’s magic finally run out? In 12 games played, he has registered 3 assists, and only 4 total shots on goal. Last night, he was practically invisible on the ice, zeros all across the board, 10 PIM’s and a measly 5:40 spent on the ice.

– Is Jared Boll expendable? in 4:44 on the ice, he accomplished short of nothing other than 1 shot, 1 block, and 10 PIMs. With Derek Dorsett on the team (taking care of the big hits and fighting), you have to wonder if it is worth it having both on the same team.

– Congrats to Antoine Vermette, you scored a goal, and it only took you 17 games to do it! While it was a show of hard work and never giving up on the play, it’s a shame we haven’t seen more of this out of him this year, and hopefully we do!

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A Time For Demolition

Posted: November 6, 2011 by cujorulesdtown9 in Columbus Blue Jackets
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Not THAT Demolition!

“Be patient.” “We can’t be this bad.” 3-5 games ago, I would have believed it, that this was just a rough start out of the gate. The Columbus Blue Jackets,  now sitting dead last in The Central Division, and in The NHL at 2-11-1, are just that bad. While if this team was a bunch of cheaply paid scrubs, I could at least semi understand it. But when you are paying $58,113,000 for a team that is 2-11-1, enough is enough, time for the hard hats, bring on the demolition.

The first thing we have to look at is the organization up top, above general manager and head coach,  because when you want to turn things around, you gotta start at the top. Team President Mike Priest should be considered as one of the first to go. I realize that he is very close to the  McConnell family as President of JMAC,Inc. But we really need to think about getting a hockey guy with a true hockey background in that position. Priest could still oversee finances, which he does a fine job at, but leave him out of the hockey operations.  As hard as it would be for JPM to cut him loose, he should realize,  Hitchcock hockey, is no longer Blue Jackets hockey.

Next to be put under the microscope, General Manager. Scott Howson helped build the team to the successful 2008-2009 campaign, this cannot be denied. However, since then, progress has been at a standstill. Draft picks are developing, many it is hard to tell if they were good or bad at this point (Johansen,Moore,Savard). The one big bust, Nikita Filatov, was at the time a good choice, but turned out to be a huge mistake, later traded for a 3rd round pick. With a few good moves through free agency and trade, Howson has also made his fair share of mistakes.  Trading Rostislav Klesla, a decent defender with a small price tag despite his injury issues, for essentially nothing (Upshall and Lepisto, who both left through free agency). Allowing Manny Malhotra and Jan Hejda to walk, as well as claiming Ethan Moreau and Craig Rivet, both who proved to be useless to the team.

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Reacting To 0-5-1

Posted: October 19, 2011 by cujorulesdtown9 in Columbus Blue Jackets, NHL, Offseason, Playoffs
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Small note before reading: I wrote this for fun, don’t take it too seriously.

Well here we are, 6 games into this season, and The Columbus Blue Jackets are 0-5-1, officially the worst team in The NHL, the only team to have not won a game thus far. From what I’ve seen online through twitter, facebook, and multiple hockey forums and websites, there seem to be a common 5 reactions to this start among fans:

1. Shock/Confusion:

“Speechless” “What is going on with this team!?” Seem to be the top comments in this area. It is hard to fathom this start, even without James Wisniewski. Surely all of our players would be scoring, and our defense would be good at…well..defense! It is quite a shock to see such a slow start, but when you look at the past three season, it shouldn’t be, in October over the past three years we went 7-3-1, 4-6-0, and 6-5-1.

2. Lets Riot: Yes, ala Vancouver after The Stanley Cup Finals last year, blow stuff up, break things, just all out anarchy in the streets of Ohio. Well with the weakened economy rioting is a bad idea, not to mention you could get arrested (unless you don’t care about that, go for it.) And in the current times, I’d worry more about the loose bears,lions, wolves, and monkeys roaming around doing all the damage for you.

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A classic line from the 1959 song “Charlie Brown” by The Coasters. And if there is someone who that line could describe, it’s Steve Mason. With an 0-3 start, the one who’s head is gonna be called for, it’s the goaltender. Before we all grab our pitch forks and torches in a rage to find somebody to tear apart, lets look at a couple things:

The first thing to look at is the defense, and right now, with the exceptions of maybe 1 or 2 players, has been downright awful. Turnovers, bad passes, many missed assignments, and just being out of place is killing this team. Against The Canucks, The Blue Jackets allowed them to crash the crease, no resistance whatsoever, allowing them to bang in any rebounds after Mason would make the first save. Normally, a team would be able to clear the crease in that situation. Also allowing teams to use their sticks to deflect pucks in without any resistance, they have to do a better job of battling, because they are losing on all fronts right now.

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Based on what I’ve seen in the preseason, here are some key thoughts for the team heading into the NHL regular season.

5. Keep That Puck Out! : Steve Mason has looked like the Mason of old this preseason, making many key saves, not looking uncomfortable or rattled at all. It should be interesting to see how he does with the retooled team in front of him, when it starts to count.  Curtis Sanford is in the backup role for a undetermined amount of time with Mark Dekanich’s preseason injury.  After 2 full seasons in the AHL, has it affected his NHL abilities at all? Im doubtful that it has, but the question has crossed my mind. He should prove a good backup until Dekanich can get back to game form, whenever that is.

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Last season, we saw a great crop of rookies.  This year should be no different as plenty of guys are primed to make an impact on the NHL.

Jonathan Blum (Nashville)
In 23 games last season, Blum impressed the Predators enough to trade Cody Franson to Toronto, giving Blum a full time position. The 22 year old is a good decision maker who should fit right into Barry Trotz’ system.

Erik Gudbranson (Florida)
With Florida’s roster in flux, look for Gudbranson to get a shot to play some minutes with the big club. The team is hoping his offensive game continues to develop (12 goals in the OHL last season), but is still a defensive force.

Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida)
Like with Gudbranson, Huberdeau should get a chance with the Panthers. Florida’s brass loves his unselfish play and his hustle. The Panthers don’t want to rush him, but if he’s ready, no point in holding him down.

Ryan Johansen (Columbus)
After torching the WHL for 40 goals, 92 points last season, Johansen appears ready to join the big club in Columbus. With the recent additions by Columbus, it might keep Johansen down on the team’s depth chart. Despite that, he should still produce and work his way up.

Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado)
Landeskog was the most NHL ready of any player in the 2011 draft. He’ll be penciled in on the Avs’ top 6 and should be in the Calder conversation all season.

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In this roundtable, Realdeal, Cujo and Joey discuss many topics on the NHL’s offseason.

RD: So who did the best this offseason?

Cujo: I would say the CBJ but that would be very homerish of me.

Joey: I like what CBJ did, Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski fit two points of weakness.

Cujo: They got the #1 center they have always wanted, that was the biggest piece it has taken 11 years to get.

RD: They also got the top pair d-man they desperately needed.

Cujo: But you cannot rule out what LA has done this offseason.

RD: They got that #2 center that they needed, even if they gave up the best prospect in hockey.

Joey: Washington had a solid offseason. Beyond just additions but the picks they got for Seymon Varlamov were huge.

RD: I really like Washington’s moves; they got some sandpaper.

Cujo: And Tomas Vokoun cannot forget him, a solid net minder.

Joey: Yeah when I heard Vokoun signed in Washington I hung my head and said ‘oh crap’.

RD: I think people are sleeping on the effect Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer will bring.

Joey: I really think Brouwer was a good pick up, I am a little on the fence on Ward just wondering if he is riding off a playoff showing.

RD: He’s overpaid but he’ll be a solid 2nd/3rd line producer.

Joey: Speaking of overpaid is Brooks Laich worth all that money? I think time will tell on that one.

Cujo: You’ve got to pay for potential, but he nearly had his 3rd straight 50 point season. He missed it by 2 points.

RD: Is he going to get much better? I think 50-55 points is what we’re looking at.

RD: So who’s a team whose moves were puzzling or needed to do more? I’m kind of curious to see how San Jose’s plan works out.

Cujo: I think San Jose thinks they have most of the pieces they need to make a big run at the Cup.

Joey: Buffalo giving 10 years to Christian Ehrhoff, someone who has never played a game in Buffalo?

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The season ended two months ago, teams are pretty much done making their offseason moves.  There’s nothing new to talk about in the hockey world.  Everyone’s discussed what Jaromir Jagr is going to bring to the Flyers after three years in the KHL or how Brent Burns will help the Sharks powerplay.

So how do we get our hockey fix?

It’s warm during the summer and with longer daytime hours, you can play some puck outside, right?  Maybe in the northern part of the continent, but this summer (for most of us) it’s been hot, humid, and not conducive to outdoor activities.  Nobody wants to play, and those who do, skate for a few minutes and realize it’s too hot.  Goalies refuse to suit up.  When things cool off closer to September, people will come outside and hit the rinks again.  But that still doesn’t help right now.

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