The CBJ is on a 5-game high. According to Torts their play hasn't been great...but they have been winning. I like his style, coach on performance, not on results. Results are the name-of-the-game, but performance fuels those results. Torts will keep doing his thing, the results are certainly in his favor.
Cam and Bjork Return
It's hard to argue with what happened while these two were out. The call-ups from the Monsters excelled and kept the points piling up. But, each Cam and Bjork, on consecutive nights, had 2-goal games. With the AHL players skating so well neither Cam nor Bjork needed to be rushed back into the line up like we so often see in the NHL. They were given the opportunity to make a full recovery and get back into game shape and it showed.
Story of the Year?
It was posted on this website that the CBJ are the 'Story of the Year'. They are doing things that nobody, even your's truly, believed we would see them do this year. Dzingel, Duchene, Panarin and Bobrovsky all departed in the off season. They were collectively replaced by Gus, who has been a bright spot. The team's slow start fueled the narrative that this was a rebuilding season.
As we approach the All Star break the reality is that Columbus sits in 8th overall in the league, 6th in the conference, 4th in the division and in the 1st wild card spot. There are still 32 games left in the season and this could go either way.
Injuries have not slowed down the Jackets, even with top goaltender, and All Star, Korpi having knee surgery. Top scorers such as Anderson (who's not scoring this season), Cam, Bjork and Zach have also spent time on the IR. This team just keeps rolling on.
Columbus would have to finish in the top of the Metro (1st or 2nd) or make a deep playoff run for them to be considered the 'Story of the Year' in my opinion. There is work left to be done. But for now they are starting to turn heads.
It was discussed on this blog last week what the possibilities are for the Jackets at the deadline. I hold firm that they should not be targeting anyone. If something is too good to pass up, certainly make the move, but there is not a reason to go seeking out a trade at this point.
These Jackets have proven they can win. They may not make the playoffs, but have defied the odds-makers to this point. Continue putting out a competitive team and let the results fall as they may.
That said, it would be cool to see Johnny Gaudreau in the Union Blue...
All Star Weekend
I know that there are mixed feeling about the NHL All Star game/tournament. My feeling is of excitement. I personally love the new format. It brings some excitement and competition back to a formerly lack-luster event. What is your feeling? Do you want to see an expanded All Star format? Has the NHL finally got it right? Should they do away with the weekend altogether? I know there are opinions out there, let's hear them.
Elvis or Korpi
Because of Elvis' play of late, there is no reason to rush Korpi back, that much is true. But when Korpi is 100%, who takes the net? Korpi was selected to the All Star game, had put up stellar numbers just before he was injured and really took over that #1 goaltending spot.
When Elvis was the back up his numbers were awful. When he was given the net as a starter he has been outstanding. Korpi, when playing behind Bob in past seasons, had only average numbers playing sparingly.
I am one to support sticking with the hot goalie. Other teams have made a rotating goalie tandem work, but not sure it would work with these two. Having two backstops playing this well is a nice problem to have.
Quick January Recap
On Wednesday the Jackets play their final game of January and then take an NHL-mandatory week off. The unprecedented run the Jackets have been on started back on December 9. And it carried over into January with a second month of quality play and good results.
Games: 10 (so far, 11 total after Wednesday)
Record: 8-2 (16 points)
Home Record: 3-1
Road Record: 5-1
Goals For: 29 (2.9 average)
Goals Against: 15 (1.5 GAA)
Only 1 Overtime game (2-1 win @ BOS)
Three shutouts (all by Elvis), Jackets were not shutout in January
Quality Wins over BOS (twice), VGK and CAR
Last game of the month is home v. WPG
Good Luck and Go Jackets!