A Collection of Thoughts - World Juniors, Too Many D, Skyline and More
Some talking points for December, including the upcoming World Junior tourny, players close to milestones and what to do when Goloubef comes back?
A collection of December thoughts:
- There are four CBJ prospects who have a chance to take part in the upcoming 2015 World Junior Hockey Championship - Sonny Milano and Ryan Collins for the USA, Dillon Heatherington for Canada, and Oliver Bjorkstrand for Denmark. Bjorkstrand is a lock for the Danes, a year after he and Winnipeg first rounder Nikolaj Ehlers helped their home nation get to the A pool. Milano has a very good chance of making the American roster, while it will be interesting to see if defensemen Collins and Heatherington can earn a spots for their respective countries. The World Juniors are a Holiday tradition here in Canada, and the tournament is growing rapidly in popularity in the US. The Americans will be a tournament favorite this year, and with the potential for multiple prospects taking part, CBJ fans should definitely tune in!
- Did I mention that the consensus top-three prospects for this year's draft (Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin, if you're just crawling out from under a rock) will also be taking part in the World Juniors?
- Just when talk of the Jackets being in the mix for one of those three prospects peaked, the team pulled off three wins in a row. They're still a very long shot to make the playoffs, but with Sergei Bobrovsky looking like Vezina Bob lately, Brandon Dubinsky returning and Ryan Johansen scoring at about a point per game pace, there's a chance the team could go on a run. It would be the third season in a row that the team would rise from the ashes, but third time's a charm, right?
- Yup, Dubi's back!
- Holy shit, by now you've all had a chance to digest the supposed leaked All Star Game sweaters, eh? I'm all for experimenting and pushing the limits with sweaters, and what better time than a one-off event to really go nuts, but these things are just silly. I think it's important to incorporate elements of the host team's identity into the sweaters, so maybe blue instead of the bright friggin green? Or is this all Stinger's fault?
- Over the past few weeks, the Springfield Falcons have been red hot. They've rocketed up the standings and are currently the top team in the Eastern Conference, tied with Utica and Rockford for tops in the league. Austin Madaisky is still leading the team in scoring with 8-14-22 in 25 games played. This affiliation has been so successful, seemingly for both organizations. I'd love to see the Birds win the Calder Cup, not only so some of the top CBJ prospects can experience winning in the pros, but because Springfield just deserves it.
- Update on the first rounders not playing in Columbus: Dano has 3-3-6 in 13 GP with Springfield. Wennberg has played three games for the Falcons, sitting at 0-1-1. He's a +3 with five shots. We'll check back on him in January, I'm sure once the adjustment period is over he'll start putting up the points. Sonny Milano has 6-21-27 in 17 games played, which puts him second on the Plymouth Whalers in scoring.
- A sign of the team maybe turning it around? Last night's top two lines were Boone-Johansen-Skille; Calvert-Dubi-Cam. The last time those trios were together was Game 6 in the playoff series against Pittsburgh. Foligno-Arty-Comeau was the third line against the Pens, while the Jackets deployed Gibbons-Foligno-Hartnell last night. Arty instead of Gibbons would make this a lethal "third" line, and for the record the fourth line in Game 6 was DMac - Letestu - Boll, while last night the Jackets used Tropp-Chaput-Boll. We all miss DMac, but a healthy Letestu, and one of Gibbons, Tropp, Cracknell or Rychel joining them gives the Jackets a very good lineup, one that is better than the one the team finished with last season.
- There are a few Jackets approaching milestones. Bob is close to the 200 games played mark, sitting at 197 games. Dubi is one game away from 500, while he sits at 99 career goals. Thursday's game could be very important for him personally. Foligno is at 96 career goals, while Hartnell is two helpers away from 300.
- There are only two CBJ players who aren't minus players (minimum 15 games played) prior to last night's game: Gibbons at 0 and Foligno at +1. I know plus/minus is a questionable stat, but yikes.
- Cody Goloubef is close to returning to the lineup. Out of camp, he was considered to be the team's eighth defender on the depth chart after Wisniewski, Tyutin, Johnson, Murray, Savard, Prout and Erixon. Since then the team has of course added two NHL defensemen in Kevin Connauton and Jordan Leopold. Tyutin and Murray remain injured, but there are seven healthy defenders, eight with Goloubef. Does the team carry eight defensemen, or do they risk losing somebody to waivers, as was their fear earlier this season? Or perhaps a trade goes down, to relieve the logjam. Tim Erixon has been a recent healthy scratch, but still has potential and is on an expiring contract. He could be attractive to teams looking for defensive depth.
- Final thought- I've been seeing Skyline Chili ads for years. There's nothing even close to that in Nova Scotia, tell me folks, is it any good?