Kukla's Korner Hockey
COLUMBUS, OHIO -- Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nathan Horton underwent surgery this morning to repair an abdominal injury, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. He is expected to be sidelined for approximately six weeks.
Horton, 28, has scored five goals and dished out 14 assists for 19 points in 36 games played this season, his first with the Blue Jackets. The 6-2, 229-pound forward has tallied 203-218-421 and a +54 plus/minus rating in 627 career NHL games with Columbus, Boston and Florida. He was the Panthers’ first pick, third overall, at the 2003 NHL Draft.
The 2013-14 NHL Regular Season wraps up this Sunday.
Remaining games left for teams in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race...
Detroit- at Buffalo on Tuesday, at Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Carolina at Detroit on Friday and at St. Louis on Sunday.
Columbus- Phoenix at Columbus on Tuesday, at Dallas on Wednesday, at Tampa Bay on Friday and at Florida on Saturday.
New Jersey- Calgary at New Jersey tonight, at Ottawa on Thursday, NYI at New Jersey on Friday and Boston at New Jersey on Sunday.
Toronto- at Tampa Bay on Tuesday, at Florida on Thursday and at Ottawa on Saturday.
Washington- at St. Louis on Tuesday, at Carolina on Thursday, Chicago at Washington on Friday and Tampa Bay at Washington on Sunday.
At this point int time, do you care to make a prediction? What teams take the two wild card spots and in what order?
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Columbus Blue Jackets dispatched the New York Islanders 4-0 Sunday, easing the pain of Friday night's painful loss to Chicago in which the Blackhawks scored with 3.9 seconds left to win the game in regulation. Thankfully for the Jackets, the Toronto Maple Leafs were unable to take advantage of that gift, dropping a 4-2 decision at home to the woeful Winnipeg Jets.
Sunday's win puts the Jackets three points ahead of both New Jersey and Toronto and pretty much in control of the second Eastern Conference wild card berth as the final week of the regular season beckons.
Columbus hosts Phoenix on Tuesday night before finishing the regular season on the road with games Wednesday at Dallas (where they will start with a 1-0 lead in the resumption of the game postponed by Rich Peverly's cardiac incident on the bench), then Friday at Tampa Bay and Saturday at Florida.
The Devils host Calgary on Monday night, followed by games Thursday at Ottawa and then home dates Friday versus the Isles and Sunday afternoon against Boston.
The Leafs are on the road to finish off their miserable stretch, at Tampa on Tuesday in Florida on Thursday and at rival Ottawa to wrap things up Saturday night.
I don't see the Jackets opening a window for either team, meaning we should see Columbus in the playoffs for only the second time in team history.
read on for Burnside on the Pacific Divisioon and Custance on the Dallas Stars...
from Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets have no captain and no superstar. Not a single player on the roster has played in an NHL All-Star Game. Rick Nash, the former captain, All-Star and Olympian whose name was synonymous with the team for nearly a decade, has been gone for almost two years.
So which face goes on the billboard, in the promotional email, or in the newspaper ad?
These days, as one of the youngest teams in the NHL awaits for its stars to emerge, almost all of them do.
The Jackets have used the likeness of nearly every player in some form of advertising. But none of them is the best embodiment of the Blue Jackets.
from Rob Oiler at the Columbus Dispatch,
For the bulk of their existence, the angle on the Blue Jackets has been their ability to bend the rules of geometry. The CBJ are always turning the corner, even as they keep running in circles.
The Jackets seemingly make strides in their quest toward something resembling consistent success, then something like last night happens.
How to describe it? The hurt of a hand slammed in a car door, perhaps? The score was tied at 3 and the seconds were ticking down ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... One huge point sat there on the doorstep. Then, a scrum, a poke of a stick against a wandering puck and, well, Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout didn’t need to see what happened to know what happened.
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-Rakers,
With 3.9 seconds remaining, Chicago’s Ben Smith scored through a pile of humanity in front of Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, the winning goal in a 4-3 Chicago victory before 18,695 in Nationwide Arena.
The building erupted when Smith scored, because the building was at least half filled (60 percent? 70 percent?) by Blackhawks fans. The Blue Jackets are 1-11-1 the last 13 times Nationwide has been sold out, including 0-6 this season. They're 1-4-2 in their last seven home games overall.
But this one ...
“Sadly, we’ve had a few of these (kind of losses),” Blue Jackets center Mark Letestu said. “We’ll bounce back. This is going to sting for a couple hours, but we have to get ready for the (New York) Islanders (on Sunday). There’s a big picture at stake here, and this one loss isn’t going to derail it.”
watch the winning goal below...
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Don't you love those games where history takes a front-row seat? Like in Philadelphia on Thursday night when former Flyers netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, cast off by the Flyers only to win a Vezina Trophy last season in Columbus, blanked his old team with a 37-save effort in the Blue Jackets' 2-0 win.
Bobrovsky was especially strong in the second period, when he faced 17 Flyers shots.
The victory kept the Blue Jackets one point ahead of Toronto for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference and also moved Columbus to within two points of the Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Both teams have six games remaining and there is significant incentive for Columbus, Philadelphia and Detroit to avoid being the second wild card and drawing the Bruins -- the best team in the East by a country mile -- in the first round of the playoffs.
read on for Custance on Drew Doughty and the Kings, LeBrun on Chara and Strang on Patrick Roy...
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
They still control their playoff destiny and still are in a favorable position, but their offense has disappeared, and they have lost five of their last six games (1-3-2), including Thursday’s 2-0 defeat to tight-checking Columbus at the Wells Fargo Center....
The Flyers had 37 shots, but most were from the perimeter. They outplayed Columbus in just one period _ the second _ but couldn’t connect on any of their 17 shots, and they allowed a power-play goal late in the period.
“We just didn’t play sixty minutes,” said captain Claude Giroux, who had his third straight point-less game _ his longest stretch since he was blanked in the season’s first five games. ‘I think the second period we did a lot of good things, we played the way we wanted to, and they got a goal… and we got away from that.”
Ex-Flyer Bobrovsky outplayed his counterpart, former Blue Jacket Steve Mason.
“He challenged the puck a lot,” said Giroux, referring to Bobrovsky. “He comes out of his net and takes the angles off. He’s so quick that it’s tough to beat him.”
from Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets, with 10 games remaining, were one of the two Eastern Conference teams in wild-card positions yesterday and one of four that began the day with 80 points. It doesn’t get much tighter.
The sky will fall with every loss, but only if the Blue Jackets let it, said Upper Arlington-based psychologist Jim Reardon, who works with the team.
Despite being inexperienced in the ways of the playoff push, “The players probably handle it better than everyone else,” Reardon said.
“The ups and downs are probably not as high and low as they are for people on the outside.”
Defenseman Fedor Tyutin said nobody was as glum as the players appeared to be after the loss to the Islanders.
“It’s not good to look back, because everybody realizes the importance of the next game,” Tyutin said. “That’s what we live for.”
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
After his two-goal game Tuesday against Detroit in a crucial wild-card battle, Johansen leapt into a tie with household names Patrick Kane and Martin St. Louis for 14th overall in NHL goals. But there are some striking differences between the 21-year-old Johansen and the elite few above him in the Rocket Richard Trophy race.
No player who has scored more than the Port Moody, B.C., native’s 29 goals is younger than him. Everyone ahead of the third-year centre averages at least 46 seconds more ice time per game and has been nationally televised in 2013-14 more than Johansen’s twice. And no one ahead of Johansen was such a non-factor last season.
Johansen is in the midst of his first double-digit-goal season after scoring just 14 goals and 19 assists total in his first 107 career contests as a freshman and sophomore. Which is a mathematical way of saying he’s in the throes of one hell of a breakout year — and has probably made one guy in your fantasy pool look very prescient.
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.
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