Friday, October 16, 2009

Thoughts on the Blue Jackets' defensive quandry

As followers of the Columbus Blue Jackets are well aware, two of last year's defensive leaders and stars are injured.  Jan Hejda has a sprained MCL from the Calgary game and will be out 4-6 weeks, meaning he is projected to return sometime between November 10-24.  Mike Commodore has been out for some time, first with the flu and now with a sore groin.  His return is expected in the next week or two if all goes well.

Rather than look to the marketplace or make a trade to fill the rather large hole left by these two defensemen's absences, it appears that the Jackets will look inside the organization for the solution.  Fortunately, there is some depth on the team - something that could have been said even a year ago.  The current starters - Tyutin, Klesla, Russell, Stralman and Methot will be rejoined by Matthew Roy, the Syracuse Cruncher who started the season in Columbus due to Mike Commodore's injury and just can't seem to play poorly enough to get kicked back to the AHL.  (Roy's actually a pretty good all-around player.)

It's not a premier defensive lineup, but it's a serviceable one.  It also is predicated on the imminent return of Commodore to the lineup.  Commodore's back on the practice ice, but he's not yet skating with the team.  Coach Ken Hitchcock says that they will put Mike through some game simulations to see how the groin responds before reactivating him.

If Commie can't come back soon, and/or - God forbid - if the Jackets sustain another key injury on the blue line, I wouldn't be surprised to see some serious trade discussion heat up.  The Blue Jackets organization is deeper than it has been, but I'm not sure that it's THAT deep.

Jackets - Kings on Saturday night.  The 4-3-0 Kings currently are tied with the CBJ with 8 points.  When are these games going to get easy again?  When's Minnesota coming back to town?

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