Another week of Columbus Blue Jackets, and more names added to the injured list. Both Alexandre Texier (lumbar stress fracture) and Dean Kukan (medial meniscus tear and articular cartilage injury) are out indefinitely. The good news is that Sonny Milano and Emil Bemstrom were each activated off the injured reserve. Milano picked up where he left off in his two games since returning, while Bemstrom did not play after being activated on Saturday, but will presumably play on the upcoming road trip. That should give the offense a much-needed spark.
Now, some of the call-ups have made the most of the opportunity, and are making the case to remain on the roster when/if the roster gets healthy. Nathan Gerbe in particular has made an impression on me. It’s not just because he’s pocket-sized! I like his hustle, and he’s already developed chemistry with Milano. Let’s keep that pair together while we can.
The week that was
The week started with a couple of highly satisfying victories. First, former Jacket Sergei Bobrovsky got lit up in his return to Nationwide and Zach Werenski scored a hat trick. Then the Jackets traveled to Boston and matched them hit for hit in an overtime victory capped by a highly skilled play from Seth Jones and Pierre-Luc Dubois. Both wins featured outstanding goaltending from Elvis Merzlikins, who the team depends on now with Joonas Korpisalo on the shelf for 4-6 weeks.
The injury to Korpisalo was especially unfortunate because it came right before he was named to the Metro Division All Star Team. Seth Jones also got a nod, for his fourth straight season.
We had a lot of great content this week, so in case you missed it:
We spent a lot of time venting about the officiating blunder from last Sunday on the Cannon Cast. TORTS WAS RIGHT.
Elpalito checked in on the prospects pipeline. Since then, some prospects have continued to shine in the WJC. Canada and Russia play today for the championship, featuring three Jackets draftees. Liam Foudy has 4 points for Canada while Dmitri Voronkov has 7 points and Kirill Marchenko has 6 for Russia.
Elpalito also updated us on what the rest of the teams in the Metro have been up to.
MrSwift13 made the case for why the Blue Jackets should be Minnesota’s opponent in the 2021 Winter Classic.
This one was a lot of fun: Elaine compiled each writer’s CBJ All-Decade team.
I reviewed everything that went down last month with my December Month In Review.
Monday: at Los Angeles
Tuesday: at Anaheim
Thursday: at San Jose
Saturday: at Vegas
It’s the California trip! Fortunately for the Jackets, those first three opponents are at the bottom of the league. Unfortunately for the Jackets, they’ve already lost at home to Anaheim and San Jose, and needed OT to beat Los Angeles in a game that, frankly, the Jackets did not deserve to win. With the 12 game point streak snapped, this would be a good time to start a new streak.
Then the Monsters ended the year with a New Year’s Eve win at Toronto.
Finally, they got a home sweep this weekend in two games against a top team in the league, Milwaukee. That’s pretty impressive considering how their roster has been picked-over by the Jackets. Mike Eaves and his staff deserve a ton of credit for the job they’ve done this season.
Around the League
Montreal won the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes. Yeah, good luck with that.
Defending Big D did some research into which teams get the most or least punishment from the Department of Player Safety, in terms of suspensions and fines. Unsurprisingly: if two small market teams are playing, there is far less likely to be supplemental punishment than if it’s a nationally televised game or one featuring one of the league’s blue bloods.
The Americans may have been bounced in the quarterfinals of the WJC, but the American women won the U18 World Championship in overtime over - who else - Canada.
Ohio Sports Update
Cincy Jungle readers mostly have faith in first year head coach Zac Taylor. Meanwhile the franchise lost a former head coach with the passing of Sam “You don’t live in Cleveland” Wyche.
The Browns have parted ways with GM John Dorsey. I didn’t necessarily want to see him go, but I think he was responsible for enough major blunders that led to the team’s disappointing 2019 that I won’t mourn his departure. Unfortunately I have no faith whatsoever in the Haslams hiring the right people this time. I’ve been down this road too many times before.
Let’s check in the Caval-
Kevin Love has absolutely had it with Collin Sexton pic.twitter.com/lib6gql0mx— Everything Cleveland (@EverythingCLE_) January 5, 2020
Oh. Seems fine.
Play me out
The Jackets are headed out west, so let’s listen to music that was recorded in Nashville by an Ohioan but heavily inspired by the 1970s California rock sound: “Malibu Man” by Dan Auerbach, from his 2017 solo album Waiting on a Song.