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Category: Columbus-Blue-Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets Know Their 13th Consecutive Win Wasn’t Pretty

from Aaron Portzline of Puck-Rakers,

As Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella stepped to the podium late Tuesday, he fired an opening salvo before the questions even started flying. “This is going to be pretty short, I’ll tell you that right now,” Tortorella said.

The Blue Jackets had just won their 13th consecutive game, blowing a 3-0 lead against Boston before rescuing it with Nick Folingo's late power play goal to win 4-3 before a standing-room-only crowd of 19,005 in Nationwide Arena.

But nobody was all that pleased.

“That wasn’t very pretty,” left wing Matt Calvert said.

“I’m sure we’re going to address some things in practice (on Wednesday),” left wing Scott Hartnell said.

“It was pretty sloppy for the most part,” defenseman Seth Jones said. “We didn’t play the best hockey game, but we found a way to win it.”

continued

Below, watch John Tortorella post-game...

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The Numbers On The Columbus Blue Jackets And Minnesota Wild

from Travis Yost of TSN,

One of the most prominent signals on either end of the spectrum is when a team sees a large divide between territorial dominance (be it by shots, scoring chances or expected goals) and shooting/save percentages. Your true playoff-calibre teams and eventual Stanley Cup winners tend to dominate the volume of chances over the duration of the regular season to sustain their winning ways. Pretenders, on the other hand, tend to ride the percentages – be it a white-hot shooting lineup or incredible goaltending. These teams are the ones that usually get themselves into trouble, and watch performance degrade as the season progresses.

The question about contender and pretender status is particularly interesting this year in light of the rise of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the East and the Minnesota Wild in the West, two teams that are obliterating the competition through the Christmas break. Columbus currently sits atop the NHL with 23 wins and a ridiculous +45 goal differential, which is also tops. Minnesota is fifth in the NHL with 21 wins and a +36 goal differential, second only to Columbus.

As you might have guessed by the lofty goal differentials, these two teams are dominating the percentages. Their PDO — the sum of a team’s shooting and save percentage — also sits at the top of the league.

more with graphs and charts...

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Wild, Blue Jackets Continue Their Winning Ways

from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,

The music was of normal volume, the pats on the back like any other postgame.

There was no raucous celebration inside Madison Square Garden’s visiting locker room Friday night after the Wild steamrolled the New York Rangers 7-4, like this was any other victory.

Winning has become that business as usual for a confident team that would gladly move on to the next challenge now rather than letting the NHL’s three-day holiday hiatus interrupt all this fun.

“We don’t want to stop there,” Charlie Coyle said of breaking the franchise record with a 10th consecutive victory. “We don’t want to just beat it. We want to crush it.”

continued

from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,

One of the better stretches of Sergei Bobrovsky’s career concluded Friday night with two of the better stretches you will see from the agile puck stopper.

The Blue Jackets’ goaltender got his weary club into the Christmas break with a 2-1 victory over the Canadiens in Nationwide Arena to run its franchise-record winning streak to 12 games. He made 36 stops and none bigger than a pair of toe saves against Brendan Gallagher and Paul Byron on which he went farther out on limbs than  Cossack dancers in his native Russia,

“Those are huge plays,” captain Nick Foligno said.  “I think (Gallagher and Byron) are frustrated because they think they have him beat and all of a sudden his leg comes flying out of nowhere. That’s what he does to us in practice all the time.”

In racing to an improbable 23-5-4 start, the Blue Jackets haven’t needed him to be special on many nights. 

continued

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The Respected Columbus Blue Jackets Win Again

from Tom Reed of Puck-Rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,

The Blue Jackets coach loves to say the organization gets and deserves “zero respect” around the NHL. For the longest time, the candid observation was refreshing and apt. Nowadays, it’s about as believable as announced attendances at Cleveland Browns’ and Florida Panthers’ games.

The team earned another heaping handful of respect with a 7-1 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins inside a soldout Nationwide Arena on Thursday night. The impressive result ran the franchise-record winning streak to 11 games and sent the Blue Jackets to the top of the Metro Division and league standings.

The squad is 22-5-4, and it hasn’t lost consecutive games in regulation since the season’s first two contests. Nobody is saying the Blue Jackets have arrived – that would be a ludicrous statement for an organization yet to win its first playoff series. There is, however, a healthy appreciation for the club Tortorella and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen are building.

“They’re a good team,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “They’re a straight-forward team. There’s no surprises. They play hard. They finish checks. They block shots. They have a balanced attack. They have a real good power play. And their goalie is making big saves for them. So it’s a pretty good formula for wins.”

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Game highlights are below...

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Morning Line- Rob Oiler On The Columbus Blue Jackets

What happens on the ice against the Penguins really matters, beyond the feel-good. Anything beyond claiming first place is a bonus, albeit a plum one, because it is one thing for the Jackets to believe in themselves but quite another for a radio station in northwest Ohio to believe in them, too.

Confidence does not occur in a vacuum. It requires participation by the public to reach its fullest measure in the men who play the game. It is easier to win one game, much less 10 straight, when fans laugh with you, not at you.

-Rob Oiler of the Columbus Disptch.  You can read more on the Blue Jackets who face the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.

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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

Watch the game highlights below...  

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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.

more

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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.”

continued

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

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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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