Never before have the Blue Jackets opened up the checkbook like this. Problem is, never before have they opened the season 0-7-1.
This combination is lethal. To spend like drunken sailors (compared to prior seasons) yet not win a single game? To only have a single point in the standings? Pathetic is putting it nicely. We're talking disaster...CBJmageddon.
I'm not going to sugar coat the on-ice performance. And while I think that Scott Arniel still had more than enough firepower to beat the likes of Eastern Conference cellar-dweller Ottawa, I think it only fair to reframe the discussion to reflect reality.
My point is, the CBJ are paying out $65 million in salaries, but they're not icing a team worth $65 million.
Let's use that Ottawa game as our model. It's an ideal game to illustrate my point because both Radek Martinek and Marc Methot were injured in the prior game and hence added to the pileup of salary cap money that did not get on the ice. Beyond Methot and Martinek, the Blue Jackets were paying for yet unable to play Jeff Carter, Kristian Huselius, Jared Boll, James Wisniewski, Curtis Sanford and Marc Dekanich. (And don't forget that the CBJ are burning off the cap hits coming from the buyouts of Mike Commodore and Duvie Wescott. Before you blow a gasket, realize that most teams have dead cap space from buyouts.)
So that takes our incredible $65 million payroll team and turns it into...a $40 million roster. By comparison, the lowest salary cap load in the NHL is carried by the Dallas Stars with $48.5 million. (Yeah, I know. We lost to Dallas twice. Sigh.)
Again, I'm not making excuses. The CBJ should have won in Ottawa. However, calling them a $65 million team when the loss of nearly $17 million in salary money lost to injury - all but the suspended Wiz (and his $5.5 million salary) and the $2 million in buyouts was a result of injuries - is just not fair to anyone involved.
This team is snakebit right by injuries right now. That's not to say that we fans should accept an 0-for-October season, as the coaches and players surely should be able to conjure up a scheme that keeps them competitive, but facts are facts. Injuries are killing this club.
Those are my two cents on the matter. My calculations are outlined below.