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We’re five games into the Columbus Blue Jackets season, and I think that’s enough time to look at which players have stood out so far in good ways or bad:
Stock Up: Joonas Korpisalo. The Jackets were counting on one of their young goalies to step up, and so far that has been Korpi. As expected, he has improved with more regular work. He has started three games in a row, earning two wins in that span and seeing his save percentage improve each time. He allowed just two goals in each leg of a back-to-back this weekend, with 21 saves on Friday in a loss and 30 saves in a big win Saturday.
Stock Down: Elvis Merzlikins. The other goalie is off to a much worse start, allowing seven goals in his one appearance. Chances are he’ll start once this week and there’s nowhere to go but up. Some help from his defense would be nice.
Stock Up: Power Play. The PP is converting at a 20% rate, good for 18th in the league. Progress! Two of those goals came quickly off a faceoff win; I’d like to see a better job of re-entering the zone when we lose a faceoff. Some of the power plays have looked like the bad ones of old.
Stock Down: Penalty Kill. The PK is averaging one goal surrendered per game. The 70.59% rate is 27th in the league. I have faith that will rebound based on past seasons, but it has been a weak spot so far.
Stock Up: Alexandre Texier. Sexi Texi has been arguably the best forward so far. He leads all CBJ skaters with a 60.8 CF% and is second (behind Markus Nutivaara) in FF% with 62.7. In other words, when he’s on the ice the team is creating shot attempts and the opponent is not.
Stock Down: I haven’t heard as much shade thrown his way, but Boone Jenner has had a forgettable season so far. He has no points and is -6 to start. He has the worst CF% (41.8) and second worst FF% (42.7, ahead of Seth Jones’ 42.2) among CBJ skaters to play all five games. Clearly losing Josh Anderson for the last three games has not helped, and his new linemates haven’t either.
Anyone else trending up or down that you want to highlight? Explain why in the comments.
The week that was
Will gave his early impressions of the team.
Elpalito launched what will be a recurring feature checking in on how the other teams in the Metro division are doing.
MrSwift13 took aim at this season’s marketing campaign.
The Cannon Cast reviewed the opening weekend for the Jackets and Monsters and previewed the Metro Division.
In the first episode of Bob McElligot’s weekly podcast with John Tortorella, Torts describes how his perfect day off included time with his rescue animals (four dogs and two horses), a couple hours watching film, then some alone time doing renovations to his barn.
Wednesday: vs. Dallas (1-4-1)
Friday: at Chicago (0-2-1)
Saturday: vs. NY Islanders (2-3-0)
Remember, each Monday we’ll have a State of the Monsters address. Here was last week’s, in case you missed it.
After sweeping their opening road series last week, the Cleveland Monsters celebrated their first series at the renovated Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse (aka “The Morgue”) by being swept themselves by the Syracuse Crunch on Friday and Saturday.
Around the League
There is bad blood new between Drew Doughty of the Kings and Matthew Tkachuk of the Flames. That’s an unlikely pairing but I’m all for it. We need as many grudges and feuds in this game as we can get.
On the Forecheck asks if the Predators should re-sign captain Roman Josi, and the article makes a good argument both for every NHL player getting as much money as they can, and for the Preds to resist paying Josi whatever he wants.
Former All Star Game MVP John Scott gives Rangers rookie Kaapo Kakko some perspective:
Yeah, 1 career goal is pretty good but call me when you have 5 https://t.co/gwaKIcHsuo— John Scott (@johnscott_32) October 12, 2019
Former EPL soccer goalkeeper Petr Cech is now trying his hand as a hockey goaltender. He earned a shootout victory in his debut for an English club team:
Ohio Sports Update
As the preseason begins, Kevin Love says he wants to stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers as they continue to rebuild.
It was a bad Sunday for Ohio football, with the Bengals losing their sixth straight game to start the season and the Browns blowing a 20-6 lead to lose in very Brownsian fashion - complete with turnovers, penalties, and baffling coaching decisions.
Play me out
Sturgill Simpson had been an artist that I knew OF but didn’t actually know any of his music. I knew that he made country music, which isn’t my thing, though apparently he is “alt country” and was very much outside of the mass-produced, pop-influenced Nashville sound of today. I knew his previous album featured some soul influence (courtesy of the Dap-Kings - I’ll certainly feature Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings in this space later this season) but never got around to listening. I decided this week to check out his new release, Sound & Fury, after a friend called it “chillwave hillbilly Queens of the Stone Age.” I still was not prepared for what I heard. It’s hard rock with twangy vocals, and so much more. Simpson’s guitar work is superb, and the rhythm section propels the music with so much force it makes me want to drive at 100 mph. It’s hard to pick just one song to feature because everything is sequenced so well that it’s an album worth listening to in its entirety. In addition, Simpson commissioned an anime film that is streaming on Netflix that serves as an extended music video. It’s trippy and wonderful.