Cannon Blasts: What do you want out of the final stretch of the season?
That and more of the week’s links
Just a dozen games remain in the Columbus Blue Jackets season, so I wanted to check on the mindset of the fanbase after an exciting but exhausting season to date. The Jackets are in the thick of a playoff race, but with the injuries and the schedule it’s not clear if they can hold on. Given the odds, what is it that you are most looking forward to happening in the final weeks?
This is the obvious one. We all want to see this team succeed. Reaching the playoffs for the fourth straight year would be a great accomplishment for the franchise, and especially given the adversity faced this season. That being said, would the season be a disappointment if they fell short? Or, is the end result not as important as just seeing the team play a certain way?
No more injuries
The hardest part of the season, for me personally, has been getting the news of each additional injury. My heart breaks for the players whose seasons were ended prematurely. I’m sure it has taken an emotional toll in the locker room, as the remaining players see their friends get hurt and miss their presence on the ice. Could a stretch with a consistent lineup make you feel better?
Get guys back healthy
Obviously there are many players who are done for the season, or at least for the regular season. Still, there are a few guys who could return, including Nathan Gerbe and Cam Atkinson. How cool would it be for each to reinforce the lineup and end the season on a positive note?
For the first time all season, we may have a true goalie tandem. With both Korpisalo and Merzlikins healthy, active, and playing well, will they alternate starts? Two on, two off? Or will Torts return to the pre-injury status quo and stick with Korpisalo as the #1 goalie? With both goalies reaching RFA status this summer, it would be nice to get some clarity as to which one is better, or if both could succeed in a 1a/1b tandem next season.
Young players make a mark
It’s been a big year for Jackets rookies, including last night when Emil Bemstrom and Eric Robinson provided the only goals. Will those guys continue to show improvement and solidify their place on the roster? What about Andrew Peeke or Kevin Stenlund?
Would you be happy to see certain players reach individual milestones? Dubois and Nyquist could each top 20 goals (two and five goals away, respectively). Dubois has 30 assists and has an outside shot at 40 if his line gets red hot. He’s just two points shy of 50, and Nyquist and Werenski are eight and nine points away. Werenski still leads all NHL defenders in goals, with a four goal lead over Roman Josi. Can he hold on to this lead? If so, would that merit Norris Trophy consideration?
I’ve seen the sentiment from some that, since the playoff odds aren’t good, the Jackets would be better off long term if they lost as much as possible in the remaining games so they could improve their odds of winning a lottery pick. The fear is the Jackets could fall short of the playoffs and only get a mid-first round pick for their troubles. I don’t accept this, but I understand the logic.
What do you most want to see out of the final 12 games of the CBJ season?
|Playoffs. Just win, baby!||173|
|For the love of God, please no one else get hurt||38|
|Come back, Cam and Gerbe||4|
|Even split of Korpi and Elvis||12|
|More points for PLD, Z, Gus||5|
|Drive that tank||8|
The week that was
Game #68: CGY 3 CBJ 2 (OT)
Game #69: EDM 4 CBJ 1
Game #70: CBJ 2 VAN 1
Another roller coaster stretch of games for the Blue Jackets. Against Calgary they scored early but fell apart at the end. Against Edmonton they played well for the first 50 minutes, but couldn’t find the back of the net and blew it late, again. Against Vancouver they kept the pressure up like against Edmonton and this time managed to hold on to the lead in the end.
Last week’s Cannon Cast previewed the road trip, and talked about the impact of some players returning from health.
elpalito checked in what the Jackets prospects have been up to. I’m most pleased with the successful seasons from the Russian forwards Marchenko and Voronkov.
Rachel compiled another collection of her favorite pictures. The one with Elvis and Dave Maetzold always makes me laugh.
Last Sunday was a busy day for Columbus sports, with the Crew, OSU men’s basketball, and the Blue Jackets all hosting - and winning - games. MrSwift13 was lucky enough to attend all three, and he wrote about the experience here.
Thursday vs. Pittsburgh
Saturday vs. Nashville
The boys get a well-earned three days off before a critical home game against the Penguins. They’re just 2-8 in their last 10 (Columbus is 3-4-3), so they’re catchable, in theory.
We’ll have a weekend recap up later today, but in the meantime listen to Elaine’s appearance yesterday on a highly entertaining episode of the Artillery Podcast:
Ohio Sports Update
Lots of amateur hockey news in the state this weekend. First, New Albany won the Columbus regional of the high school championship, and will compete in the semifinals on Saturday at 9 a.m. against Toledo St. Francis DeSales. The other semi follows at noon, featuring Gates Mills Gilmour Academy and Cleveland St. Ignatius. The final is Sunday at noon and all games are on the main ice at Nationwide Arena.
The Ohio State women’s team celebrated International Women’s Day by upsetting #2 Wisconsin in the WCHA championship. Check out this OT winner by Tatum Skaggs:
BUCKEYES WIN!!!!!! WCHA CHAMPIONS!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/8yZM86Qwli— Ohio State Women's Hockey (@OhioStateWHKY) March 8, 2020
It was a bad weekend for the Badgers (more like BADgers am i rite) as the OSU men swept them at home in the first round of the Big Ten championship. Friday’s game was a 9-1 rout, featuring four goals and one assist from CBJ prospect and Central Ohio native Carson Meyer.
We're not even halfway through the 2nd and Carson Meyer has the 🎩-trick.@OhioStateMHKY pic.twitter.com/doslHeHScQ— Ohio State on BTN (@OhioStateOnBTN) March 7, 2020
And then ... goal number FOUR for Carson Meyer. An unassisted power play tally.#GoBucks pic.twitter.com/AQt8Foxkbi— Ohio State Men's Hockey (@OhioStateMHKY) March 7, 2020
Play me out
The Jackets are coming home, so let’s listen to “Comin’ Home” by Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. This is an act that doesn’t get remembered as much as their contemporaries, but they wrote and recorded a lot of great music and played with a lot of very gifted musicians. In this live clip, their backing band consists of many who would tour with Joe Cocker for Mad Dogs & Englishmen. The rhythm section would be part of Derek & the Dominos. The horn section played on several Rolling Stones albums including Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street. Oh yeah, and the guest guitarists in this clip are George Harrison and Eric Clapton. Go listen to their album On Tour with Eric Clapton, you won’t regret it.