Friday, October 31, 2014

The Puck Drops Here 10.31: Blue Jackets Month In Review #CBJ

Blue Jackets Month In Review
By @CLulovics

After the first month of NHL action, the Columbus Blue Jackets have come out of camp starting the season showing fans that they are the same bunch of scrappy never give up team that they were a year ago. After the game on Tuesday October 28 they are currently 4-5 8 points and sitting 12th in the Eastern Conference only 2 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot though early in the season.

Nathan Horton who the Jackets signed last year hasn't played a game all year and unfortunately doesn't look like he will at all this year. Horton who signed a 7 year $37.1 million dollar contract has been diagnosed with degeneration of the entire lumbar region of his spine. At only the age of 29 his career is in serious jeopardy and could be forced into early retirement. Horton was expected to help the young Blue Jacket team with his veteran presence and scoring ability will be missed but with the depth the team has it shouldn't be a huge problem.

Ryan Johansen who held out of all of training camp along with the entire preseason hasnt missed a beat at all. He currently has a point in every game this season with 5 goals and 7 assists for 12 points. The line of Johansen, Hartnell, and Foligno has developed chemistry from the drop of the puck in the first game. Foligno also has a point in every game that he has played in this season before getting hurt. Johansen has a new record for the Blue Jackets by having a point in 9 straight games and 15 dating back to last season.

The hockey Gods have not been kind to the Jackets early in the season as the injury bug hit the Blue Jackets hard the last week of October. Starting goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is on the IR after suffering a fractured finger in practice and is expected to be out a couple of weeks. Backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney came off IR after being run into on a block attempt by a teammate in a game against Ottawa. Matt Calvert is out on the IR for about a week with an upper body injury and lost a couple front teeth in a comeback win against the San Jose Sharks. Cam Atkinson took a skate to the face against the Anaheim Ducks but only missed one game against the L.A. Kings and was back in action Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators. Nick Foligno was taken off the ice on a stretcher in a game against the L.A. Kings after having his head and neck smashed into the referee along the boards and temporarily losing feeling down one side of his body. All tests on Foligno have come back negative and is day to day. There is some good news to come out of the injury front though as second year defense-man Ryan Murray rejoined the team and made his season debut against the L.A. Kings. Boone Jenner (who has resumed practicing with the team and is close to returning to game action) and Brandon Dubinsky is close to returning as well. The Blue Jackets recalled Alexander Wennberg to help out on the offense front. To help out with the goaltending the Jackets recalled Anton Forsberg from AHL affiliate Springfield.  The game on Tuesday October 28 against the Ottawa Senators was not a good one as the Jackets lost three players with an injury. James Wisniewski broke his finger and will be out of action for 1 or 2 weeks. Mark Letestu has been diagnosed with a groin injury and will be out of action as well for 2-4 weeks. Artem Anisimov was checked in the head and has been diagnosed with a concussion. He will be out of action until the concussion symptoms subside.

The top 5 leading point scorers for the Blue Jackets are Johansen with 5 goals 6 assists for 11 points. Hartnell 1 goal 9 assists for 10 points. Foligno 3 goals 6 assists for 9 points. Cam Atkinson 4 goals 2 assists for 6 points. Mark Letestu 3 goals 2 assists for 5 points. Sergei Bobrovsky is 4-4 with a 2.81 Goals Against Average and a .908 Save Percentage while making 207 saves out of 228 shot attempts.

Guys are going to have to step up with the rash of injuries and this is the time for younger players or players who don't get much ice time to provide a spark this team needs. Still early in the season and a lot of people would rather have the injuries happen now rather than later in the year closer to the playoff push but they still have to find a way to win games against both good teams and teams lower than them. They can't play down to the other teams level or they will find themselves losing games that they should win and can put a damper on everyone from fans, players, and everyone throughout the originization. As always Carry The Flag and Battle On!

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