Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: The Blue Jackets' Annus Horribilis

Even Her Majesty would agree
that 2011 stunk for the CBJ.

Annus horribilis is a Latin phrase meaning "horrible year", or alternatively, "year of horrors". It alludes to annus mirabilis meaning "year of wonders".

Although cited by the Oxford English Dictionary as being in use as early as 1985, Elizabeth II brought the phrase to prominence, in a speech to the Guildhall on 24 November 1992, marking the 40th anniversary of her Accession, in which she described the closing of the year as an "annus horribilis."
1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an Annus Horribilis.

First off, please accept my apologies.  The end of the year got away from me.  Family in town, a quick Christmas trip out of town and helping create Christmas for a two-and-a-half year old saw things just move faster than I could handle.  I've been able to write the game recaps (well, the ones that my compadres didn't write) and occasional commentary posts, but the whole strategic approach to designing an end of the year blog post or two - well, it didn't happen.  Thus, I've been working on this post - concept to execution - for only a day or so.

Having a strict deadline (like the dawn of the new year) sometime forces one to scrap a detailed commentary and focus on the crux of the issue.  It sure did in my case!  In trying to encapsulate the year, I threw everything else aside and focused on that which is most important for a professional sports team - the wins and losses.

Over the course of the 2011 calendar year (the December 31st game against the Capitals excluded, as it hasn't yet been played), the Columbus Blue Jackets have racked up the following record over 81 games:


That's 63 points.  By comparison, the Edmonton Oilers had the worst record in the league in both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons with 62 points each in their full 82-game seasons.  The 2008-09 New York Islanders plumbed the sub-basement with 61 points.  I could go on, but the point remains that the Blue Jackets, over the course of 2011, have played some of the worst hockey in the National Hockey League in recent history.

It has been an Annus Horribilis.

The end of a year provides a unique moment to reflect on the past twelve months, take stock and anticipate the upcoming year.  There certainly are causes for optimism in 2012 and beyond - the arena deal finally getting completed, the league realignment, the team perhaps developing some chemistry as the season wears on, young players finding their way, management finally coming to grips with the fact that Its Not Working, a really high draft pick in the 2012 draft if things keep up, among others - but you can't go back and rewrite the record books.  The games have been played, and the Columbus Blue Jackets did not measure up...not by any stretch of the imagination.

So Blue Jackets fans, I can only offer you this as we turn the page to start 2012: It won't be 2011 any more.  

2012 can't be any worse, right?  Right?

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