Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Blue Jackets have stunned everyone in hockey after a 76-point season a year ago. Unlike some of the other teams that drafted high last June, the rise of Columbus hasn’t even been fuelled by a fabulous freshman. While Pierre-Luc Dubois (third overall) toils away in junior hockey, John Tortorella seems to have convinced a star-less lineup that they’re all a bunch of Gretzkys.
-Damien Cox of the Toronto Star where you can read more on surprise teams and disappointing teams too.
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
John Tortorella waited weeks for adversity to appear over the horizon. As the 16-game win streak unfurled like an open stretch of highway, the Blue Jackets’ coach kept warning folks the top-down, wind-through-the-hair joy ride could not last forever.
It ended last night at 9:35 inside a stunned Nationwide Arena. It ended with backup goalie Curtis McElhinney unable to make key saves and reliable defenseman Seth Jones turning over the puck to the fastest skater on the ice, Michael Grabner, who scored a breakaway goal with 16.5 seconds remaining.
The Blue Jackets, arguably the NHL’s best third-period team, surrendered three goals and lost 5-4 before a standing-room-only sellout crowd of 19,001 fans.Having the win string snapped in Washington with a 5-0 defeat on Thursday is one thing. Blowing a 4-1 lead in a game the Blue Jackets were dominating is quite another.
“This one stings,” captain Nick Foligno said. “The last game, you can say it was the streak and we have to put it behind us, but this one really bothers us because we had enough goals to win the game.”
Game highlights are below...
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-Rakers,
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella has addressed his team after a game only once before this season, when he earned his 500th NHL coaching win in Vancouver and the players coaxed him out to present him a keepsake puck.
On Thursday, Tortorella needed no coaxing.
The Blue Jackets lost 5-0 to the Washington Capitals before 18,506 in Verizon Center, an anticlimactic end to the Jackets’ 16-game winning streak that left them one short of the NHL record, set 24 years ago.
It was the Jackets’ first loss since Nov. 26, two days after Thanksgiving.
“All year long, I haven’t been in the (dressing room),” Tortorella said. “But I would be remiss if I didn’t tell them … that is one hell of a run by a hockey club.
“They should feel good about it. I’m proud of the team. We’re a good hockey team.”
First up is...
Columbus plays at the Washington Capitals on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CSN-DC, FS-O, NHL.TV) with a 16-game winning streak, the second-longest in NHL history and one short of the record set by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins (March 9-April 10, 1993).
more at NHL.com
The United States and Canada will play for the gold medal at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship at Bell Centre on Thursday (8 p.m. ET). Fans in the United States can watch live on NHL.com and NHL Network; Canadian-based viewers can tune in on TSN.
It will be the fourth time in the history of the tournament the countries will play against each other in the final.
continued at NHL.com
NBCSN will have live look-ins of the Columbus game.
Arash Madani of Sportsnet with the interview.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets have scored more goals, won by bigger margins, and put on better shows during this historic winning streak. But with the eyes of the sporting world on them – it’s not just the hockey world now – the Blue Jackets were tactically sound and methodical on Tuesday in a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers before 17,169 in Nationwide Arena.
The winning streak now stands at 16 games, the second-longest streak in NHL history. They’ll try to match the NHL record of 17 straight wins (Pittsburgh, 1992-93) when they play in Washington on Thursday.
“We’re rolling right now,” Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson said. “The bench is up, and between periods we’re staying positive even if we’ve had a good period or a bad period. We’re definitely having fun right now.”...
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella has tried to keep a lid on the hysteria, but good luck with that now. ESPN is doing live post-game hits with players – Foligno took the pill after last night’s game – and networks from across the globe are tracking their results. TSN is sending a reporter to Washington. The BBC has included Blue Jackets' scores in their overnight roundups.
Still, the moment has yet to look too big for the Blue Jackets, even though they’re the youngest team in the NHL.
Watch the game highlights below...
Gene Principe of Sportsnet with the feature.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
It’s OK to enjoy the streak. Please, do.
The Blue Jackets have won 15 in a row. Maybe it ends tonight, when Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers visit Nationwide Arena. Maybe it continues. Either way, it is a very cool thing, this streak.
Coach John Tortorella doesn’t have to enjoy it. I wish he would, if just a little. The Blue Jackets are being mentioned in the same breath with Scotty Bowman’s Pittsburgh Penguins, Al Arbour’s New York Islanders and Art Ross’ Boston Bruins.
As someone who loves the game and appreciates and understands its history, there some room to say, “‘Look who we are joining. It’s an honor.”
Tortorella said, “I don’t even know who we’re joining.”
It’s one game at a time, focus on business, don’t get too high or too low, and all of that. It’s about two points, and then move on to the next one. I get that. Still, having some historical perspective is not going to bring down a hex.
Tortorella doesn’t know?
“Nope. I don’t. Seriously.”
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
“We’re just rolling,” said winger Scott Hartnell after they beat the Wild, 4-2, at the Xcel Energy Center. “We’re having fun, we’re business-like, we’re focusing at the rink. It’s something I’ve never really been a part of – the focus and attitude of everyone.”
Those are the words of a 16-year veteran who’s played in a Stanley Cup final. Hartnell is describing a squad comprised mostly kids with a few vets sprinkled among them. It speaks to the maturity of the Blue Jackets and the job coach John Tortorella is doing to keep them grounded.
“It really hasn’t been in our vocabulary,” Tortorella said of the streak. “I’m not saying that to be an idiot about it. I don’t think we can think about that. It’s such a long season. I think our guys know why we have been consistent so far. We worry about each day and, I know you’re tired of hearing me say that, but that’s what it is. That’s the most important part of our team -- to worry about our work day, and we have to continue to do that.”
Catch the game highlights of the Columbus 4-2 over Minnesota below...
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 email@example.com