Chicago Blackhawks’ Eye On The Enemy: Union And Blue (Blue Jackets)

By Colin Likas
Mar 30, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner (38) takes a shot against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes defeated the Blue Jackets 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 30, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner (38) takes a shot against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes defeated the Blue Jackets 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 2
Next

Here’s what Union and Blue’s Lansing Murphy had to say about the Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus started the season pretty slowly, but then went on a wild win streak and has stayed in contention for the President’s Trophy. How have the Blue Jackets been able to hang near the top of the league?

The Jackets have been pretty consistent after their 2-3-1 start. Columbus is the only team in the league to not lose three games in a row at any point this season. They have adopted a true day-by-day mentality that John Tortorella has been preaching since Day 1. Also, having the best goalie in the NHL doesn’t hurt.

Who do you think has been the most important Blue Jacket this season?

The obvious answer is Sergei Bobrovsky. I truly think he has a very good argument for the Hart Trophy, and his numbers are right where Carey Price‘s numbers were when he won both the Vezina and Hart in 2015.

Chicago Blackhawks

But another guy that has been incredibly vital who isn’t getting a lot of talk is Alexander Wennberg. Last season when the Jackets traded Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones, many wondered, “Who will be our No. 1 center now?” Well, Wennberg has filled that role incredibly well with 55 points thus far.

Which player(s) has/have been the most disappointing this season, despite the team’s success?

This is tough because everyone has pretty much outperformed expectations. Maybe the one guy who hasn’t had as stellar of a season as people expected is Boone Jenner. He had 30 goals last season and will be lucky to break 20 this season. He has been playing well though. He has created many scoring chances this season for himself and his teammates, the puck just hasn’t bounced his way.

Do you think the team will win the President’s Trophy? And how important is it for the Blue Jackets to do that?

I do not think they will win the President’s Trophy. It would be huge for the Jackets to win it, not only to raise the franchise’s first banner, but to have home ice for the daunting Metropolitan Division playoff series they will have to face.

The Caps are playing too well right now, and the four-point gap is big with only six games left. The Jackets likely will have to take five points in their games at Chicago, at Pittsburgh and at home against Washington as well as hold serve in the other four remaining games to win it. That’s just too much to ask from a team that won’t play Bobrovsky in every game down the stretch.

Going up against the Blackhawks, what do the Blue Jackets need to do in order to come away with a victory?

The Jackets need to get the powerplay rolling. They have been awful since January, only converting at a 14 percent rate. Chicago’s too good 5-on-5 for the Jackets to get a win without converting on the powerplay once.

Which Blackhawk(s) worries/worry you most in this game?

It might be a cop out, but the honest answer is I have nightmares involving the entire D-corps of the Blackhawks. A chill went down my spine when Chicago got Johnny Oduya back at the trade deadline. If it sent a chill down my spine, I can’t imagine what it did to Bruce Boudreau. So deep, so versatile, and they move the puck better than almost any other team.

The Blackhawks and Blue Jackets engaged in a pretty big trade in 2015. Which guy would you rather have right now: Brandon Saad or Artem Anisimov?

Bradon Saad. Period. I think the answer is the same for 99 percent of Blackhawks fans as well. The Jackets got a 22-year-old with two Cups under his belt. He immediately brought a winning attitude to a franchise that didn’t have a history of winning. He has been a invaluable to the franchise.

What’s your prediction for how this game turns out?

Bobrovsky will most likely start as Joonas Korpisalo will start at Carolina the night before (this did occur). Bob is 8-0-1 in March with a 0.99 goals-against average and .970 save percentage. Bob will close out March with another stellar performance, but it won’t be enough. Jackets will earn a road point but fall 2-1 in overtime.

Next: Blackhawks' Blue Line Must Be Used Differently

Thanks again to Union and Blue’s Lansing Murphy for his take on tonight’s game between the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets. Check back with Blackhawk Up later today for a further preview of the contest.

facebooktwitterreddit