Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Puck Drops Here 1/3/17 #BlueJackets #CBJ

By Chris Lulovics, @CLulovics

Well here we are at the start of 2017 and the Columbus Blue Jackets are one of the hottest teams in the NHL.  Who would of thought that at the beginning of the season?  Head coach John Tortorella  (head coach of the USA team in the World Cup of Hockey) ran what players and analysts call a boot camp in order to get his players in top physical condition so come the 3rd period they aren't out of gas and can put away teams.  Well his plan is definitely working because the Blue Jackets play their best period in the 3rd.

On Saturday the Blue Jackets extended their franchise best winning streak to 15 games by winning 4-2 against the Minnesota Wild. The Wild were winners of 12 games in a row before Saturday. The Blue Jackets have outscored their opponents 62-26 during the streak. In fact they went a perfect 12-0 during the whole month of December. Leading the way has been goalie Sergei Bobrovski who seems to be back to his old self from a couple of years ago when the Jackets made the playoffs. Cam Atkinson is leading the way accounting for 16 points in the last 12 games. Nick Foligno has also returned to his old format after a disappointing season a year ago. Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky while not producing on the score sheet like they would like too, have been playing a huge role with tremendous play away from the puck which helps other guys on the line to produce. And last but not least rookie defenseman 19 year old Zach Werenski. Last year at this time he was playing for the university of Michigan and then turning pro and helping the Lake Erie Monsters win the Calder Cup. Not only does Werenski hold the club record for most points by a rookie defenseman  (before the first half even ends) he is also the quarterback of the leagues best power-play. For a 19 year old to have that much responsibility shows the confidence that head coach John Tortorella has in him.

The Jackets are 2 games away from tying the NHL record.  They play Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers and Thursday against the Washington Capitals. They can set a new record at home Saturday night against the New York Rangers. I can only imagine the crowd that will be at that game. So far this season has been amazing after experts predicted the Jackets wouldn't amount to anything. There is a lot of hockey left and anything can happen but with their mentality of one game at a time let's just live in the moment right now and enjoy the ride. If you're not on the bandwagon you can always jump on now.

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