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Category: Columbus-Blue-Jackets

Winning Streak Hits Ten For The Columbus Blue Jackets

from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,

The Blue Jackets have made history in back to back games as part of a remarkable start to their season.

One day a club that leads the NHL in winning percentage and tunnel vision might even get around to enjoying it.

The Blue Jackets established a new franchise record with their 10th straight victory on Tuesday night in a 3-2 shootout triumph over the Los Angeles Kings before 16,568 fans inside a raucous Nationwide Arena. Minutes after the game, alternate captain Brandon Dubinsky was asked to put 10 straight wins in context.

Without cracking a smile, he responded: “It means we are going to try hard to win 11.”

So it goes with these business-casual Blue Jackets, who improved to 21-5-4 and await a much-anticipated matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. They let others worry about the big picture and the dramatic organizational improvement while they keep the focus game to game.

continued

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The Columbus Blue Jackets Are The Real Deal

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

They now own the best winning percentage in the NHL, Tortorella is the consensus choice as coach of the year and Bobrovsky is in the Vezina conversation.

Yes, there have been some changes in their lineup. But with the exception of Sam Gagner and wonder rookie Zach Werenski, it’s the same group from last year’s dumpster fire.

So what’s the lesson here?

“I don’t know,” Davidson says. “I keep asking myself why we weren’t good last year when we should have been better. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out.

“There’s pain involved. There just is. I know. I’ve done it twice (once with the Blues a decade ago). But if you do it the right way and you have some luck, you should have a team that’s competitive for a good period of time.”

And the team from Ohio has that look about them.

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Waiting For The Ball To Drop In Columbus

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

The Montreal Canadiens of the mid-1970s — Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Ken Dryden, et al. — were good for 127-132 points per season. They put up these eye-popping numbers when the regular season was 80 games long.

The 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings racked up 131 points in 82 games, and the 2005-06 Wings racked up 124 points. Nicklas Lidstrom, among others, straddled that era. It was nigh dynastic.

The 2016-17 Blue Jackets of Alexander Wennberg, Seth Jones and Sergei Bobrovsky are on pace for 129 points. Given their history, they are unbelievable.

Rich Russo knows their history as well as anyone. He is a former season-ticket holder.

“I am happy,” Russo said. “They’re playing well. They’re winning. But I’m still waiting for the collapse. I hate to say that, I really do, but it’s so ingrained. It’s like when a nun hits you with a stick every day, at some point you know you’re going to get hit again. I’m waiting for the stick.”

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John Davidson Took A Chance When Hiring John Tortorella

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

John Tortorella is the odds-on favourite to win the NHL coach of the year honours, which may surprise some people, but not John Davidson, who never lost faith. Davidson is the Columbus Blue Jackets’ president of hockey operations and currently oversees the NHL’s most unexpected early-season success story. The Blue Jackets entered Friday’s game with the Calgary Flames with the fewest regulation losses in the league (five) and boast a winning percentage of better than .700, both at home and on the road....

Davidson eventually got into the hockey business, first with St. Louis, then with Columbus, and in both cases helped to oversee turnarounds in organizations with massive credibility issues. But Davidson tested the limits of his own credibility by going to bat for Tortorella. Davidson trusted him – and more importantly, he trusted that Tortorella would not go off the deep end the way he had in previous NHL stops with the Rangers and the Canucks, which eventually created irreconcilable differences with the management and ownership of those teams.

Davidson remembered how Tortorella led the Tampa Bay Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup championship and how he got the Rangers to block shots so consistently. And he understood why so polarizing a figure had also earned the most NHL victories of any U.S.-born coach.

“John really wanted to coach again – he wanted one more kick at it,” said Davidson. “We did extensive research and talked to the really good players and people he’d coached with – and there were zero negatives. I knew the man, which is different than the perception of him that’s out there.”

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  Tags: john+davidson, john+tortorella

Consider Zach Werenski A Top Calder Candidate

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are the National Hockey League’s marquee rookies, but the best one might be Zach Werenski.

The Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman is flying under the radar but plays on first defensive pairing minutes with the league’s most surprising team — an NHL task considerably trickier to navigate as a teenager than as a forward.

Laine scores goals and Matthews puts up points, but Werenski is playing 22 minutes a game — on the power play, killing penalties, 5-on-5. He might be the No. 1 defenceman on a team that’s lost five games in regulation. Also the NHL’s best rookie.

continued plus many other hockey points...

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  Tags: zach+werenski

Audio/Video- Reasons For Success In Columbus

John Davidson joins the guys from Sportsnet to discuss his team.

 

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  Tags: john+davidson

John Tortorella Just Letting The Boys Play

from Tim Campbell of NHL.com,

A revised version of John Tortorella is hitting all the right notes with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

More patience has been the centerpiece of the coach's updated approach.

But a kinder, gentler Tortorella?

He said that might be an overreach.

"Don't think I've just changed completely here," Tortorella said before the Blue Jackets defeated the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 on Tuesday. "I wouldn't say that at all. How can I answer that? My job is to push athletes and try to get them to a level they don't think they can get to. That's not going to change.

"I think the adjustment I have made with this team here and this year from last year, let's say, is that with some of the skill that has come in and the way the game has gone, I think you need to allow them to play."

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A Winning Feeling In Columbus

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

The music used crank in the Blue Jackets’ locker room after most victories. It cranked for years and years and years – sporadically. Victories did not come apace, and when they did come, they wanted to feel the beat. (Oh, some of the crap they played, too).

Saturday night in Nationwide Arena, the Jackets shook off a slow start and then stomped the New York Islanders 6-2 in Nationwide Arena. The Jackets scored four goals in the third period and a crowd of 16,928 stood and roared for the final minute. The people are starting to find the turnstiles.

Afterwards, the locker room was quiet. The players who were requested to meet the media met their responsibilities and slipped out the back door. There was no music cranking, not anywhere in the bowels of the building. It was just another new day on a different landscape.

“It doesn’t matter what the score is, we just feel like we’re going to win,” center Brandon Dubinsky said. “It’s a great feeling. We go into third periods – we’re down, we’re tied or we’re up – and we just find a way to lock it down.”

continued

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Winning The Faceoff Is Just Step One

from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,

Hockey is the most unscripted of major sports, but it doesn’t mean the game lacks strategy, especially on faceoffs. Blue Jackets fans might have noticed this season their players talking more before draws and occasionally huddling.

The club is making a concerted effort to create more offense from faceoffs. Assistant coach Brad Larsen leads the campaign and offers a few set-play options before every game.  Boone Jenner’s goal scored 13 seconds into Saturday night’s 3-2 shootout win over Arizona was a play Larsen presented to the squad in a pre-game meeting.

“First shift of the game we had a play we wanted to do and it worked to a T,” said Dubinsky, who won the opening faceoff to set a play in motion that caught the Coyotes napping. “It’s a rare chance to say, ‘Here’s the tendency of another team. They forecheck this way, they come out to the points that way. We’re going to try this and see if it works.’”

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The Columbus Blue Jackets Continue To Roll

from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,

In this Season of Giving, the Blue Jackets have become absolutely miserly.

The club ran its winning streak to four games by limiting the Arizona Coyotes to 18 shots in a 4-1 victory at Nationwide Arena on Monday night.

The Blue Jackets have yielded more than 28 shots on goal only once since Nov. 15. In that stretch, they have gone 8-1-2 to vault into third place in the Metropolitan Division.

“The confidence level is going up and everyone trusts each other to do their jobs,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said. “Everyone is just playing their roles and I think it helps make everyone calm on defense ... It’s day and night from (last season), you can see the shots going down.”

The Blue Jackets surrendered a first-period power-play, but gave the Coyotes few great looks on a night Columbus improved to 15-5-4.

The Blue Jackets entered play fifth in goals-against average at 2.19. In the past 11 games, they have allowed 1.91 goals per game.

continued

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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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