Thursday, December 8, 2016

Columbus Blue Jackets: A Long December

The Columbus Blue Jackets are enjoying the best start in franchise history, and it has made Jackets fans everywhere optimistic. We put together a little parody of Counting Crow's Long December for your enjoyment! Hope you like it. If you forget how the original song goes, we have linked up the video at the bottom of the page!

Great Band! Great Team! Let's Go Jackets!

The Columbus Blue Jackets: A Long December

A long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember the last time that the Jackets were leadin'
Now the wins come by so fast

And it's one more day up in the weight room
And it's one more night in Nationwide
If you think the losses could be forgiven I wish you would

The sound of a cannon in winter
And the feeling that it's all a lot of seasons, but no cups
All at once you look across a crowded arena
To see the way red light attaches to a goal

And it's one more day up in the weight room
And it's one more night in Nationwide
If you think you might come to see the Jackets I think you should

Turned on 97.1 sometime after two a.m.
And they talked a little while about the year
I guess the past makes you trust a little slower,
Makes you talk a little lower about the progress the Jackets have shown ya

And it's a long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

And it's one more day up in the weight room
And it's one more night in Nationwide
It's been so long since I've seen the playoffs, I wish they would

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Credit: A Long December by Counting Crows

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Vegas Golden Knights: Logo Breakdown

The NHL has added their 31st team and last night they unveiled their mascot, the Golden Knights. I hope that they do well in Vegas. I am kind of nervous to see what teams I cheer for will have to give up for the expansion draft. At the end of the day, I think you have to be excited for the hockey fans that live in Vegas, and the ones that need an excuse to go to Vegas.

The NHL succeeded in the expansion effort to Vegas where other sports have failed. You talk about the NFL and their plans to go to Vegas but nothing has really materialized. The NFL has talked about the Raiders moving there but it seems like the Raiders just moved back to Oakland.

UCF's new logo
The Golden Knights will give Vegas back the hockey that it lost at the end of the Wranglers existence. The Wranglers were an ECHL team, that played in the Orleans Arena. Started in 2003, the Wranglers played until 2014. Outside of UNLV's club hockey team, it's safe to say that hockey is back in Vegas.

Let's dive into some analysis of the logo and the mascot name. When you think of the name Golden Knights, there's really not that many that come to mind, which is a good thing. The University of Central Florida is the Golden Knights, and they have a similar color scheme to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Florida Panthers

Another college that uses the Golden Knights as a mascot is Clarkson University. To my knowledge, best know for hockey, Clarkson uses more of a green and yellow color scheme. So, a little different than the black and gold but the same mascot name.

The shield behind the helmet is like the Florida Panthers logo, which the Panther head is placed in front of a shield. It's a nice look, makes people think of soccer logos but I like it. Maybe this a trend, is the NHL trying to move to logos in front of shields? The Florida Panthers debuted their new logo at the start of last season.

The helmet itself is similar to the one worn by the Senator in the Ottawa logo. Its a very similar style in helmet. Looking something straight out of a Roman legion. Maybe a little inspiration or influence came from that historical period.
Ottawa Senators

Overall, I like logo, it's definitely "Bold in Gold." Very professional looking, it will be interesting to see how it looks on the jerseys.

The secondary logo is a star in front of crossing swords. This would work well as a shoulder patch. I am not sure that you could use it for an alternate jersey.

Like I said, the Golden Knights puts the NHL at 31 teams, you have to think that they would not want to keep an odd number of teams. The question is, who's next?
Golden Knights Secondary Logo

More information on the Golden Knights:

Vegas Golden Knights' Website

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Columbus Blue Jackets Hot Start

The Columbus Blue Jackets, who are notorious for bad starts are off to the hottest start in franchise history. The team is currently riding a four game win streak, and an eight game home win streak. Leaving many people in the NHL saying, "Who would have thought?"

The season started a little bit rough, they had a good thing opening night against Boston. They were up 3-1 in the second period, and the Nationwide faithful were ready to start the season right. The Bruins exploded for five straight goals and won 6-3.

Two nights later, it was more of the same, the Blue Jackets found themselves down 2-0 until Zach Werenski scored a power play goal in the 3rd period. The Sharks quickly answered and it was 3-1. A late goal from another Lake Erie Monster, Josh Anderson, made it 3-2. Another game, another loss at home and it looked like it was going to be another long October.

The Blue Jackets had almost a week off before they played the Chicago Blackhawks. Something, clicked for the Blue Jackets during that time. Werenski opened the scoring for the Jackets. The Blackhawks answered for a tie in the second period, but the Blue Jackets had other ideas. The Jackets two goals in the second period would be enough, as the Blackhawks could only muster one goal in the third. The first win for the Blue Jackets on the season, and they started home streakin'!
Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

The Western Conference road trip we all feared, started with a bang. The Blue Jackets easily handled the Dallas Stars, 3-0. It was the first shutout for the Blue Jackets on the season.

A small hiccup in the trip was an OT loss to the LA Kings and another loss to the San Jose Sharks. It's a good thing the Blue Jackets do not have to play the Sharks anymore this year.

Things got back on track with a 4-0 win against the Not So Mighty Ducks! ;) It was the second shutout of the trip. The Blue Jackets finished the road trip with 5 points in 4 games, which in my opinion was better than expected. Especially, the way that the team rebounded in the final game against the Ducks.

Enter November, the Blue Jackets welcomed the Dallas Stars to Nationwide Arena. It was the first home game since the win against the Blackhawks. It look a late power play goal from Sam Gagner to force OT with the game knotted at 2. Seth Jones had the game winner in OT.
Hey Habs, scoreboard!

Next, came the Canadiens to Nationwide Arena. The Canadiens up to that point had not lost a game in regulation thru ten games. The Blue Jackets took no mercy that the Canadiens started the back up goal, as they pounded the Habs 10-0. The league took notice as one of the best teams had no answers for the Blue Jackets offense.

The next day was a quick trip for the Blue Jackets to St. Louis. The Blue Jackets lost in OT, not much to talk about when your team loses to the Blues. Facepalm.

The Blue Jackets returned home with a OT winner against the Ducks by the score of 3-2. The Blue Jackets finish the season with two wins against the Ducks, not too shabby.

Another home/away back to back found the Blue Jackets in Boston. The Bruins had the Blue Jackets number again. The Bruins had a huge first period and the Jackets just never got back into the game. The final score was 5-2. The Blue Jackets have one win and two losses in home/away back to back so far this season.

The bounce back came against the Blues, and it was beautiful. It was almost like the game against the Canadiens, the Blue Jackets could not miss the goal. The Jackets got the win 8-4, and a bit of sweet revenge against the Blues after the OT loss a week before.
A hug after a win is nice!

The Blue Jackets finished out the home stand with an OT win over the Capitals and a 4-2 win over the Rangers. The win against the Rangers was the 8th win in a row at Nationwide.

To bring you fully up to date, yesterday, the Blue Jackets beat the Capitals 3-2 in Washington, D.C. It was another one of those games where the Blue Jackets found themselves down early but did not give up. Two goals in the third period completed the rally for the win. It was the Blue Jackets second win against the Capitals in six days.

  1. The Blue Jackets are bouncing back when they are down. They used to fold and just take the "L" that is not happening. Whether it be during a game or during a road trip, this team is showing resolve early in the season. It is very refreshing to see.
  2. The Rookies are showing up. Lake Erie Monsters like, Anderson, Sedlak and Werenski are having great starts to the season. They are out playing some of the regulars and it is challenging the team to play better. They know how to win, they won the Calder Cup last year.
  3. Bob, the goalie, is giving the team a chance to win every night. The reason they are able to come back in many of these games is because they are only down a goal or two. Bob is playing great between the pipes and it is giving the team confidence they need to win

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Loss to the Blue Jackets Sparks Blackhawks' 8 Game Point Streak

Since losing to the Blue Jackets three weeks ago the Chicago Blackhawks have been getting much better results, and winning more games after a rough start to the season.

The worst part of the start for the Blackhawks had been the power play. They were giving up a power play goal 50% of the time. The normal percentage of penalty kill is usually in the high 80s or low 90s, to give you an idea of how bad the Blackhawks' penalty kill had been.

Since the loss, the Blackhawks have won seven of eight games. The only loss came in a shoot out against Calgary. They are currently riding a six game win streak.

The Blackhawks' point streak started with a comeback win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The game ended in a shootout win for the Blackhawks.

Following the loss to Calgary, the Blackhawks came back with other OT win, this time against the New Jersey Devils. It was another comeback win. Hossa's goal at the 17:49 mark in the third period tied the game. Anisimov scored the game winner in OT.

The Blackhawks came back to the United Center to face off with the Kings. It was the Blackhawks best effort of the season to that point. They won the game 3-0 and it was Crawford's first shutout on the season.

Next, the Blackhawks welcome the Flames to the United Center. They got a bit of revenge on the Flames with a dominating 5-1 win.

The Blackhawks closed out the home stand with another dominating effort against the Avalanche. The final was 4-0 and it was Crawford's second shutout in the last three games.

The Blackhawks flew to Dallas for the start of a home and home with the Stars. The Hawks were down 2-1 after the first; goals from Hartman and Kane in the second period sealed the victory.
Darling kick save

The second game against the Stars started in a similar way. After one period, they were down 1-0. Kane's goal in the second period made it 2-1 Stars.

The Blackhawks got the first two goals of the third period. The Stars were able to tie the game late in the third period. Luckily for the Blackhawks, Darling made a huge kick save in OT. Hossa scored the game winner with 28.7 second left in the OT for the Blackhawks' sixth straight win.

Center of Attention

During the current win streak, the Blackhawks have aided greatly by the play of former Blue Jacket, Artem Anisimov.

Currently, Anisimov leads the NHL in points (17) and goals (8). It helps playing with Kane and Panarin but you still got to put the puck in the net. Anisimov is making the most of his opportunity to play with two of the best players in the NHL.
2010 Stanley Cup Champions

We've Been Here Before

Towards the end of the 2009-2010, the Blue Jackets beat the Blackhawks in two straight games 8-3 and 4-2. Over the next seven games after the two losses, the Blackhawks won 6 of 7 games. That run also included a six game win streak. That season ended in the first Stanley Cup for the Blackhawks in 49 years.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Moment in the Sun: Steve Rohlik

The Ohio State University will always be a football school but this year the men’s hockey team has started the season with a five game unbeaten streak. Much of the recent success of the hockey program can be traced to one guy, the head coach, Steve Rohlik.
Steve Rohlik has been a winner where ever he has been around hockey. Whether it be coaching or playing, success has followed him throughout his career.
Rohlik was a four year letter winner when he played at Wisconsin. Twice named the captain, he helped the Badgers win the 1990 NCAA Championship. He played 166 games during his time at Madison, compiling 34 goals and 47 assists. He was named the most competitive player on the team in 1990.
He started his coaching career at his high school alma mater, Hill-Murray High School, which is located in St. Paul, Minnesota. His coaching record was 107-2-1. In his five year with the program, the team made the Minnesota State High School Tournament twice. The tenure highlighted by a runner up finish in the 1993 Tier 1 event.
After two 1 year assistant coaching jobs at Wisconsin and Stillwater High School, Rohlik took over the upstart Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) program. He coached three seasons with the Mavericks. His time in Omaha was highlighted with the team’s first trip to the CCHA Championship Final in 2000.
From UNO, Rohlik spent the next ten seasons on the Minnesota Duluth coaching staff. A team known for its gritty and physical play, it was perfect match for Rohlik and his personality.  The Bulldogs made the tournament twice and all the way to the Frozen Four once.
In 2010, Rohlik joined the Ohio State staff. He coached under Mark Osiecki, who was a former teammate of Rohlik when he was at Wisconsin. This lasted until 2013 when Osiecki was let go and Rohlik became the head coach.
The 2013-14 season was the first for Rohlik and the first for the Big Ten Hockey conference. Ohio State’s biggest win of the season came in the Big Ten Tournament when they upset #1 seed Minnesota. The Buckeyes almost won the championship but a furious comeback by the Badgers ended the dream.
The 2014-15 campaign started with a bang as the Buckeyes upset the eventual National Champions, Providence, 5-4 in OT. The team finished strong, going 7-4-1 in the last 12 games. The Buckeyes made it to the Big Ten Conference semifinals before being bounced by the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Last year, Rohlik and the Buckeyes had a tough start to the season but they did not give up hope. The team got things on track with a trip to the Florida College Classic. The Buckeyes upset Boston College 3-2 and then destroyed Cornell 8-3 to win the tournament. They finished the year undefeated in eight of their last nine games. They also were 3-1 on the season, against a highly ranked Michigan team.

Success has continued into this season, as Rohlik and the Buckeyes have a five game unbeaten streak to start the season. They started off with a huge upset of #3 Denver, who made it to the Frozen Four last season. They have added a shootout win over Miami (OH) and a sweep of Bowling Green to the 2016-17 resume. They are on the road against Niagara this weekend.

As you can see, Steve Rohlik has been a winner wherever he has coached. I believe at some point with his coaching, Ohio State will become a top ten hockey program. Right now, the sky is the limit for the Buckeyes, and hopefully that means an NCAA tournament appearance this year!
Steve Rohlik's Offical Bio - A great resource, used in the formation of this blog post.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Widespread Panik in Chicago

Panik Scores!
While the start of the NHL season has not been all that the Chicago Blackhawks have hoped for, there has been one bright spot and that is the play of Richard Panik.

Richard Panik is currently leading the NHL with 6 goals. He has scored in 4 of 6 games, including a hat trick against Nashville on 10/15. He also has points in 6 of the 7 games.

He had another good game against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 3-2 loss for the Blackhawks. Panik scored a goal, and assisted on the other Hawks goal.

He had the game tying goal against his former team the Maple Leafs in the Blackhawks’ last game. The goal was huge in the comeback effort by the Hawks, which resulted in a shootout win. The goal was scored late in the third period at the 18:32 mark, just what the Hawks needed to force overtime.

Panik is playing his second season with the Chicago Blackhawks. He played in 30 games for the Blackhawks last year.  Panik was acquired in a trade by the Blackhawks for Jeremy Morin. Panik had been playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ AHL team the Toronto Marlies.

He had a breakout with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2014-2015. Panik played 76 of the 82 games, compiling 11 goals, and 6 assists. The 11 goals were a career high for the right winger with only three years of limited NHL experience under his belt.

He was expected to make the team the next season however he failed to make a roster with the Leafs. So he was sent to the Marlies. This was not the first time that Panik had been sent down to the AHL after struggling in the NHL.

Before being claimed off waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Panik had spent a couple of seasons in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. He started in 2012-13 with the Syracuse Crunch because of the NHL lockout. He finished the 2012-13 by playing 25 games with the Lightning. The next year he saw his play with the Lightning cut and he ended up back in Syracuse to finish out the season.

Panik has experienced success in the AHL, amidst being sent up and down from the AHL to the NHL in his short professional career.  He was part of the 2011-12, Norfolk Admirals that won the Calder Cup. The team also set a professional, North American record of winning 28 games in a row.

Hopefully, this success will continue for Panik. The Chicago Blackhawks need all the help they can get right now. They have had to start a bunch of rookies this season so Panik’s scoring has greatly boosted the team.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

How the Chicago Blackhawks Saved the NHL

When Sports Illustrated put on the Chicago Blackhawks on the cover, after the lock-out of 2013, claiming they brought hockey back, one had to pause on that motion. I, for one, was a little skeptical that the Blackhawks could save the NHL. Though three years after the lock-out the ratings don't lie, the Blackhawks are running the show, and Chicago is loving it.

The NHL has enjoyed higher viewership when the Chicago Blackhawks have been in the Stanley Cup finals. Five of the ten most watched Stanley Cup Finals games have featured the Blackhawks. This includes the top rated Stanley Cup Finals game, Montreal vs. Chicago, from 1971.

Outside of the Boston -Vancouver series of 2011, in game clinching Stanley Cup Finals games, the NHL has struggled to get a rating above 7. In the years, that the Chicago Blackhawks have been in the finals ('10, '13, '15), the rating in similar games has not been below 8. What this means to the bottom-line is that, on average, one million more people are watching the Blackhawks' Finals compared to the rest.
Toews vs. Crosby

Not even Sidney Crosby can pull better rating than the Blackhawks. The 2016 Stanley Cup Finals lost out to the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals in every game except one. The clinching Game 6 rating for 2015 was 8.0, and the rating for 2016 was 5.4. That means that more than 2.5 million more people watched the Blackhawks get the Cup, then the Chosen One get his second cup in 2016.

The nay-sayers will tell you that the NBA Finals brought down the Stanley Cup Finals ratings in 2016. They won't tell you that the same teams played in the NBA Finals both years (2015 and 2016). Personally, I think the hockey fans chose not to watch because they did not want to see the Penguins win the cup.
Stanley Cup Rally Chicago

It has not always been this way though. When the Chicago Blackhawks were not as good in the early 2000's, their attendance was near the bottom of the league. As the Blackhawks struggled, so did the ratings for the NHL. During the early 2000s, the Stanley Cup Finals struggled to get ratings better than 4.

Things began to turn around in 2008-2009, the Blackhawks were getting better and the league decided to push all their chips behind Crosby. The Stanley Cup clincher rating finally got 8 million viewers in 2009 with the Pens - Red Wings Final. They were topped the very next year though with 8.3 million viewers in the game clincher between the Blackhawks - Flyers. Crosby was no match for the machine that was the Chicago Blackhawks.
Taking Over Soldier Field

So why does this happen? Chicago is a sports town. The people love their teams especially the Cubs. Chicagoans show up for Cubs games even when they are terrible. Other big cities like New York and LA have their teams but the support is not always there. Example, the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals (Rangers vs. Kings) game clincher only drew six million views. This was two million less viewers than the 2015 and 2013 game clinchers. The numbers don't lie, Chicagoans show up and the rest find something else to do.

It doesn't stop there, this fall for the 2016-17 season, the Blackhawks will be featured in 21 nationally televised games which leads the league. They will play in their third Winter Classic, which also leads the league. The Chicago Blackhawks drive the ratings right now in the NHL. It is safe to say that a team led by Captain Serious and that kid from Buffalo, NY did save the NHL.

Stanley Cup Finals Ratings

2015-2016 NHL Attendance

Chicago Blackhawks Yearly Attendance