Columbus might be peaking at just the right time, in just the right way, as we hit the home stretch of the 2016-17 regular season. And yes, I am aware that the Jackets gave up a 3-0 lead to Buffalo on Saturday, but still - this team is playing really good stick puck.
Since February, the Blue Jackets are 10-5-2. That includes maybe one of the best stretches we've ever seen from Sergei Bobrovsky between the pipes, Cam Atkinson joining the 30-goal club and Zach Werenski continuing to break rookie records.
The popular chant form CBJ-haters early in the year, around the winning streak, was how unsustainable the success was. And while, to an extent, the haters were correct (things such as the much debated "fancy-stats" and the 16-game win streaks have come and gone), the play of key players (i.e. the three mentioned above) has been consistent - Werenski was a key player in October and that hasn't changed. Bob looked like he could contend for another Vezina in the first couple of month and that hasn't changed.
Happy Monday, here are your Blue Jackets news and notes to begin your week.
Columbus Blue Jackets News
- Of all the acquisitions the Jackets made prior to the season, which would you say is the best one? Perhaps Sam Gagner?
- Remember earlier when I said how consistent the play of Zach Werenski had been this year? Jackets fans have been calling for him to receive Calder Trophy love since the start, and Rob Mixer continues that trend with a column at the brand-new 1st Ohio Battery. Welcome to the fold, 1OB. Grab a snack. Perhaps even a cola.
- Speaking of Werenski, how would you act if you could go back to being 19 and start setting all sorts of franchise records. You probably wouldn't handle it as well, I can assure you of that.
- It appears it's more bad news for Ryan Murray, who is out indefinitely after suffering a broken hand.
- With Murray out for, presumably, the remainder of the regular season, it looks like the time is right for Kyle Quincey to step up on the Jackets' blueline.
Cleveland Monsters News
- Our Elaine Shircliff has been doing an incredible job with her Monsters coverage lately, and she had you covered with Cleveland's win to snap Chicago's win streak on Thursday and in yesterday's loss against San Antonio.
National Hockey League News
- The Jackets aren't the only team who is having a key late-season injury - the New York Rangers will be without Henrik Lundqvist for 2-3 weeks after suffering a lower-body injury.
- Surprise surprise, the Arizona Coyotes are back in the news for all the wrong reasons. Need a primer on what the deal is? Our pal Pat Iverson has you covered.
- If you've been paying attention to American collegiate athletics this year (cough cough Baylor cough cough), you've heard a lot about negative "cultures" surrounding teams. But, *ESPN 30 for 30 voice* what if I told you *end voice* that there is a team in the NHL that has a "culture" problem? Well, don't suggest it's the Canucks.
- THIS. IS. MARCH. And, by my count, four Ohio teams are in the fold. (Five if you include Northern Kentucky, who's in the metro-Cincy area. But, I'm not an Ohioan and I don't know if that counts, honestly.) It's okay Buckeye fans, my alma mater didn't make the cut either.
- Okay, so I'm a bit of a homer but I promise there's a reason I'm including this story (other than the fact that, you know, I can) - Atlanta United obliterated Minnesota United 6-1. Yes, S I X goals were scored in a soccer game. That is a lot. There's also a lot of other cool nuggets about the game, but I won't bore you with it here. Ask me personally for them and I'll be happy to divulge.
- Team USA took Canada behind the woodshed last night to clinch their ticket to the second round of the World Baseball Classic in San Diego with an 8-0 thumping over our neighbors to the north.