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Category: Columbus-Blue-Jackets

Will A Sports Psychologist Help Sergei Bobrovsky?

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

This is the week most Blue Jackets players will get started on offseason workout routines. It has been more than three weeks since they were bumped from the first round of the playoffs by the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the loins and ligaments are rested and healed.

Last summer was transformative for many players, especially goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who arrived in the fall looking less like a wrestler and more like a jockey.

Bobrovsky lost 17 pounds from his 199-pound frame, a stunning drop of body mass for a well-conditioned professional athlete. But the weight he needs to drop this summer — it’s between his ears — might prove more difficult to lose.

When the Blue Jackets went their separate ways shortly after being ousted by the Penguins, management, coaches and Bobrovsky agreed that his struggles during the playoffs were mental. In five games, he had an .882 save percentage and 3.88 goals-against average.

In his exit meetings with management, Bobrovsky was said to be receptive to the idea of working with a sports psychologist or doing other types of mental training to get over his struggles.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sergei+bobrovsky

On The Upswing In Columbus

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

As Davidson put it, after mentioning bricks: “There’s good things that are happening. We’ve talked from day 1 about the foundation. I think the foundation is stronger. We still have a ways to go, but we’re in a decent place.”

Coach John Tortorella’s debriefing, held two days earlier, had a different tone. His message: The Blue Jackets haven’t done anything yet; the next step is to become a winning playoff team (“Good is the enemy of great”). Tortorella did everything but pound his fist as he described the organization’s new standard.

JDJK struck a happier tone. They are entitled. The Blue Jackets went from the fourth-worst record to the fourth-best record in the league during the regular season. They won 50 games, racked up 108 points. Then, they were eliminated from the first round of the playoffs by the Penguins, and it took only five games....

“We may not have a Malkin or Crosby, but we have a lot of good depth and balance on our forwards side, and we have some good young players coming,” Kekalainen said. “We also have a back end we can compare to any in the National Hockey League, and a (Vezina-caliber) goaltender. (Bobrovsky) will be better. I’m convinced of it. ... I’m 100 percent confident he’ll get over that hump.”

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The Pittsburgh Penguins Handled The Physical Play By The Columbus Blue Jackets

from Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

The Penguins used a hockey version of judo to secure a 5-2 win Thursday night and oust Columbus in five games in a first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

They took the Blue Jackets' greatest strength and turned it into a weakness.

The Blue Jackets came into the series with their reputation well established. They were a big, physical team that liked to throw punishing hits, especially on the forecheck. On every line, from Brandon Dubinsky to Boone Jenner to Josh Anderson, there was a hulking forward capable of stapling opponents to the boards.

The game plan against the Penguins was simple. The Blue Jackets were going to come out of the locker room with guns blazing and hit everything that moved for as long as they could.

To an extent, it worked. They recorded 197 hits in the five-game series.

“It was physical,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “They don't pass up any opportunities to finish checks. They really tried to establish that from the first game.”

It turned out to be their downfall, too.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Bad Luck Columbus Blue Jackets Lose Their First Round Series To The Pittsburgh Penguins

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

“We played our (glutei) off,” Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “That’s not a 4-1 series.”

Jackets fans will stew over the officiating, and their beefs will not be wholly without merit. The fateful call came early in the third period. A goal by Oliver Bjorkstrand — which would have tied the score at 3 — was wiped out on a goaltender’s interference penalty on Alexander Wennberg.

When the so-called foul occurred, Fleury was outside of his crease and Wennberg was being hooked, rather blatantly, by Scott Wilson. Fleury embellished the contact with a lovely back dive and the referees either missed or ignored the hook. The Penguins went on a power play and the rest is history.

Playoff officiating can be capricious. You want to avoid complaint? Winning helps.

The Jackets ran into just enough bad luck to stunt a series of fine efforts. They had no luck in Games 1 and 2 — seriously, none at all. They lost their star rookie defenseman, Zach Werenski, who took a puck in the face in Game 3. They lost their captain, Nick Foligno, to a lower-body injury in Game 5. There was a lot that was scrambled in front of Bobrovsky, who never got comfortable.

more

Highlights and handshakes are below...

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Have No Fear, The Pittsburgh Penguins Will Be Better On Thursday

from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

The Penguins are going to be fine even if their 5-4 loss to Columbus in Game 4 Tuesday night qualified for that worst-performance category.

It would have been nice if the Penguins had wrapped up the first-round series with a sweep if only because it would have meant more time to rest and heal before the next round against Washington or Toronto. But it was unrealistic to expect four consecutive wins. Columbus is a proud team, a 108-point team in the regular season. It wasn’t going to go quietly into the off-season even if it had to play without its best player, defenseman Zach Werenski, who was lost for the rest of the playoffs after a gruesome facial injury in Game 3.

The Penguins didn’t match the Blue Jackets’ intensity and desperation, didn’t come close, actually. They were horrible again in the first period. Marc-Andre Fleury wasn’t at his best. His teammates gave him very little help, allowing 34 shots on goal, many of them high-quality. Sidney Crosby and linemates Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary —the best line in hockey through the early portion of these playoffs — were a combined minus-7 and finished with just one point, Guentzel’s cosmetic goal with 27.6 seconds left.

But it’s just one loss.

It was a delay of the inevitable, not a denial.

more

Watch the highlights from the Penguins 5-4 loss to the Blue Jackets below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Win Needed By The Columbus Blue Jackets

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

At this point, just win a game. Make a save. Score one more goal than the other team. Sheesh.

Those are among the thoughts cycling through the minds of Blue Jackets fans. Those are the thoughts in the sunnier regions of their brains. If you want it darker, then purchase Leonard Cohen’s last album and plummet, gloriously, into the abyss. Get a jump-start on offseason catharsis.

The Blue Jackets won 50 games and amassed 108 points during the regular season. Now, the regular season is supposed to mean little when the playoff season arrives. But come on. This team that won 50 games in 27 weeks can’t win one in the span of seven days?

The Jackets are down three games to none to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who can complete a sweep with a victory in Game 4 tonight at Nationwide Arena. It’s just nigh embarrassing.

The Jackets were swept from the first round by the Detroit Red Wings in 2009 and it wasn’t a shock. Game 4 was a thrill, and it was supposed to portend to good things. It didn’t. The Jackets pushed the Penguins to six games in 2014, which was nice. It was supposed to be a bridge to a new era. How long is this bridge?

Yes, the Penguins are, at present, the defending Stanley Cup champions. But, invincible? They are starting their backup goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury, because Matt Murray is injured. Important pieces of their team — Evgeni Malkin, Trevor Daley, Olli Maatta — shook off injuries to suit up for Game 1 (and Games 2 and 3 and, presumably, 4).

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Zach Werenski Done For The Year With A Facial Fracture

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zach+werenski

The Pittsburgh Penguins Are A Tough First Round Matchup For Sergei Bobrovsky

from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,

Sidney Crosby went back and forth behind the net in overtime Sunday night like he was skating some kind of cone drill. Instead of pylons, the Penguins center used Blue Jackets’ defenders.

After about five seconds of playing keep-away, Crosby centered the puck to young Jake Guentzel, whose shot leaked through Sergei Bobrovsky to cap a 5-4 Penguins’ win and put the Jackets’ on the brink of elimination.

It ended another tough night for Bobrovsky, whose goals against average (3.49) and save percentage (.897) are among the worst in the playoffs’ opening round. The best goaltender in the regular season, Bobrovsky has been ordinary at best in the first three games of a series against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

There are plenty of Blue Jackets who have failed to elevate their games, but they are not relied upon as much as Bobrovsky. He’s about to collect his second Vezina Trophy. And, unless the Jackets rally for four consecutive wins, Bobrovsky is about suffer his second first-round playoff exit at the hands of Crosby and Penguins.

Game 4 is Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena.

Bobrovsky sports a 2-7 post-season record against Pittsburgh. He probably would welcome a first-round matchup next year against anyone other than the Penguins and Crosby, the best player of his generation.

continued

Game highlights are below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Jake Guentzel Scores His Third Goal Of The Game For The OT Winner

Penguins lead the series 3-0.

 

 

Watch all three goals below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jake+guentzel

Video- CBJ Get A Break On Game-Tying Goal

Crosby clear hit the inside of the open door at the bench, whistle should have been blown.

OT happening soon.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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