|Tampa Bay 4 - Columbus 2|
13-30-6, 5th in Central Division, 15th in Western Conference
1. Did I sense a little punch from the boys? - I genuinely thought that for the first part of the first period that the CBJ were pushing well into the offensive zone. This was notable for both being a rebound from last night in Nashville, where there may as well have been a literal wall of concrete at the Preds' blue line, but also for beating the vaunted Tampa 1-3-1 trap. Sure, the Bolts' blue line is almost as bad off as Columbus'...but the system still can work. So making anything happen under such circumstances is a bit of a moral victory. Which appears to be all the Blue Jackets can muster right now.
|I've warmed considerably toward Todd|
Richards but still don't see him as
more than a caretaker.
2a. We interrupt this game recap for a more expansive thought - In contrast, Claude Noel had at least as bad a roster by the time he inherited the Blue Jackets from Ken Hitchcock. He squeezed a 10-8-6 record out of them - and that includes the team that remained after the trade deadline. Noel also had a firm grasp on the locker room and ideas on how to address them, as he told the Dispatch back in November when he and his Winnipeg Jets came to town:
“I would have liked to have been given the opportunity to keep the job, because I felt like I had a leg up on that situation, Noel said, referring to the chronic losing in Columbus. “I knew the situation deeply, to its core. They felt that would be a disadvantage. It came up three or four times in my interviews, and I disagreed every time. I still disagree.
“I knew that team. They may not have liked the music I was going to play. But we were going to give them the music. It might not have been pleasant. But I feel I knew what was at the core of what it would take to get that team going in the right direction."Noel now has the Jets, which has a roster largely made up of of the woeful Atlanta Thrashers, at 22-22-6. His team isn't setting the world on fire, but they're only five points out of the eighth playoff spot.
More and more, I'm thinking that passing on Claude Noel was a huge whiff by Scott Howson. Watching Richards just reinforces that feeling.
|Brett Lebda in happier times.|
(It was this or raising the
Cup as a Red Wing...)
5. One more day until margarita time - I checked, and all but one flight left Tampa-St. Pete's airport by the time that the game was over. The one that didn't leave was delayed by four hours. That means that unless you're a CBJ'er who is lucky enough to ride Rick Nash's charter to whatever beach he chooses, you're hanging out in a hotel in Tampa tonight. Crocodile tears, I know.
NEXT UP: You can watch Ryan Johansen in the NHL Young Stars component of the All-Star weekend's skills competition on Saturday at 7PM. Otherwise, enjoy a few days off before starting another dreaded West Coast roadie on late Tuesday night in San Jose.
Oh yeah, and the 1,000th DBJ blog post tomorrow. I hope you enjoy it.