|Edmonton 6 - Columbus 3|
24-44-7, 5th in Central Division, 30th in NHL
The Blue Jackets clinched 30th place in the National Hockey League with the loss, the first time they have ever officially been the worst team in the league. They need three standings points to avoid being the worst Blue Jackets team of all time.
7 games to go.
1. NASH WAS ON THE ICE - Defying competitive logic, the CBJ chose to once again put mutinous captain Rick Nash on the active roster for the game. His presence in the locker room, combined with his 21:38 of ice time, further forestalled the inevitable rebuild that is facing the team as a result of this disastrous season.
1a. NASH DIDN'T GET HURT - As best we know, Nash's trade value to the Blue Jackets was not diminished by his play - although coach Todd Richards volunteered that Nash has the bumps and bruises indicative of most NHL players at this point of the season.
Still, it's worth noting that Nash once again was involved in a collision that caused this Blue Jackets fan's stomach to drop out - this time as he crashed the net trying to score. He was apparently OK and was awarded a penalty shot:
22 minutes and 18 seconds of game time later, his team clinched 30th place with nearly ten percent of the season left. His team. So I suppose this penalty shot was a lovely parting gift. (And considering his bone-crushing board of Edmonton's Theo Peckham, one that left Peckham concussed, could it be possible that Nash will sit for a game or two courtesy of the Shana-ban?)
1b. HIS TEAM - I caught this Tweet from one of the CBJ's media throng:
Curious? I'd say.
1c. HOWSON IS STILL EMPLOYED - For that matter, general manager Scott Howson continues to be employed by the Blue Jackets. Not sure why, but he is.
2. THREE-GOAL CHILI - I've never so hoped to see the team score that third goal. The game (and thus the season) was lost well before the final buzzer, so I suppose I wanted some tangible, positive takeaway. Something, anything. Yeah, it's gotten that bad.
3. FORTY-EIGHT POINT TWO PERCENT - That's how it goes in the NHL. If you're the top team in the standings (a spot currently occupied by former Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock and his St. Louis Blues) at the end of the regular season, you get home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. If you're the worst team in the standings, you aren't even guaranteed the ignominious "privilege" of automatically drafting first in the forthcoming draft. In fact, you aren't even odds-on favorite to draft first.
If you took "the field" against the Blue Jackets for April 10th's NHL draft lottery, you'd have a fifty-one point eight percent chance of winning. I totally understand the rationale behind this - the league wants to deter teams from intentionally tanking to get that first overall pick - but dang, it stinks when your team is the one placed in that position.
This less than 50-50 chance of winning the lottery is precisely why I won't be watching with anyone. I'll be at home, curled up on the couch in the fetal position, muttering incoherently while shaking like a leaf.
4. TEN ATROCIOUS MINUTES - Steve Mason actually had a decent first period; I distinctly recall throwing out kudos to Mason left and right over his simple, straightforward goaltending approach that was largely holding Edmonton at bay. But then it crumbled like papier-mâché in the back half of the second period. Four goals between the 11:40 point and the end of the period. Mase was done, and so was the team. And its season.
5. IS THERE A STAT FOR THAT? - The Oilers scored an empty-net shorty. As in scored from a 4-on-6. It ended up being that type of game.
Bonus number 6. HE SAID IT - Less than three hours after seeing his team clinch being the worst in the league, forward Derick Brassard tweeted this gem to his friend, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mike Commodore:
The timing was impeccable.
NEXT UP: Tomorrow, 7:30PM, against the Detroit Red Wings at The Joe.