Thursday, November 28, 2013

So DBJ hijacked the recap for CBJ Game 25 to talk about matters

Nashville 4 - Columbus 0
The Columbus Blue Jackets lost on home ice to the Nashville Predators, 4-0.  The Preds scored at 9:58 of the 1st period and - in classic Nashville style - ran the clock out on the CBJ for the balance of the game.

Bless your heart, Barry Trotz.  Only you could sit on a lead for 50 minutes of game play and get away with it.

Here's the game haiku:

Trotz' Rule to Live By
CBJ can't score a goal
All Preds need is one

OK, that's out of the way.  Now let's talk about things of substance.

Here's Todd Richards' latest postgame presser:

I meant what I said.  I honestly believe that Todd Richards is not to blame for this team's performance.  Richards might be a contributing factor, but he's by no stretch of the imagination the causal factor for what we're seeing.
Yes, Cristobal.  This is very, very sad.  I liked Hitch as a coach.  I like Richards as a coach.  I don't want to see this team run decent (or, in Hitch's case, great) coaches out of town.  It's bad for the team, which is bad for the community and the fans of the team.

On the flip side, I was all but dancing in the streets when Scott Arniel got the ziggy.  Now, he was a coach who needed to be fired.  But I digress.

If the team was consistently mediocre-to-bad, I'd say fire Richards and don't look back.  Thing is, they can drop a half-dozen on Toronto on Monday and then lay this monster egg tonight.  With essentially the same roster and a day off in between.  It makes no sense.  I appreciate that Nashville is an OK team, and that Toronto is an OK team, but to blow one out and then get the same treatment less than a week later?  What is it with this team?

As I implied, I think the writing is on the wall for Todd Richards if he doesn't pull a rabbit out of his hat.

Don't get me wrong.  I'd love to explore which pieces of this roster aren't going to help make a Stanley Cup happen in Columbus and move then out ASAP for players who will.  I'd like to fire a huge portion of this roster.  I just know it's impossible...and so someone has to take the fall for this lousy season thus far.  (And no, Nathan Horton won't magically make things right all by himself when he returns from his long-term injury.  He might be a contributor to an improved team, but he's not The Answer.)

No, this is sad.  If something actually happens on Nationwide Boulevard - and both John Davidson and Jarmo Kekalainen have given no indication that anything is looming - it's more than likely going to be the coach shuffled out the side door.

This must stop, and soon.  The Columbus Blue Jackets have to start playing every night like they want to win.


  1. DBJ:

    Thanks for your blog post. On this special day of Thanksgiving, I want to be sure to be thankful to the coach for the amazing job toward the end of last season. He is a genuinely nice guy who deserves a better fate out if this team now dubbed as the Columbus Blue Jekyll n' Hydes.

    One also has to be cognizant of the fact that we have significant injuries and several top players are out. In fact, we have yet to see Nathan Horton in action and Gaborik is playing far below his potential. And, there in lies the biggest issue that makes me nervous for the coach. The whole team with the exception of an AHLer here or there, is playing significantly below their potential in every other game. I am obviously over-generalizing but why is this team playing without any guts and pride on so many nights on a consistent basis?

    Accountability comes to mind for the situation that has us stymied. It begins with holding every player accountable. It then transcends to the next level which would be the captain but the team doesnt have one. Continuing up tthe ladder, the buck then stops with the coaching staff including the head coach. You then climb up the ladder and the buck would stop with the GM, etc.

    I believe that the buck has to stop with our beloved coach as of this juncture. Is it not his responsibility to get the team READY to play? I understand the coach doesnt put on the skates and play the game but is it not his job to get them moticated and fired up for every game? Yes, I understand that professional athletes should be self-motivated but that is a problem unto itself. Trading the non-performers is more easily said than done. Much easier to replace a coach and his assistants than it is a plethora of players in a short period of time.

    Based on the presser and my novice observation, I hate to say this but the coach seems to have run out of ideas to solve the massive problem in front of him. I am not suggesting that he be given the ol' heave ho however I believe that there could be another position within the organization that might be a perfect fit for the coach. We know that we need more hockey-minds in the front-office, dont we?

    As ffor the team, bring someone in like a Tortorella whose coaching style might be just what this team needs at this point. I mean no disrespect to Richards but his coaching style isnt working here at this juncture.

  2. Now, don't get me wrong, I do have concerns about Todd Richards coaching style. Not major ones, but a few concerns. But I also look at the current roster and realize that the Jackets, this year, are a bubble team. Everything has to go right for them, and they need to catch a few breaks, for them to make the play-offs. There are simply too many average to mediocre players still on the roster for this year's Jackets to be considered a real play-off contender. I hope, and believe, that Jarmo and JD realize this and I also lay a major portion of the blame for the make up of the team on Jarmo and JD. Their entire off-season moves consisted of signing Horton, not re-signing Vinnie and the draft. Okay, yes, you have to have a willing trading partner, but I would be hard to convince that they couldn't have packaged two or three players currently on the roster for one, maybe two somewhat better players. Maybe they're waiting to make a splash with trade deadline deals. If so, we can probably write off the season, now. And, if so, they cannot blame Richards for the product on the ice.

  3. If the goal is improving the team, then getting rid of Richards probably helps. Just in the case of defensive deployment, Richards is causing the team all kinds of problems. Consider the three rules he should follow with Jack Johnson: 1. Don't use him against tough opponents, 2. Don't give him the big PK time, 3. Start him in the offensive zone as much as possible.

    For the second year in a row, Richards is completely breaking those rules, and it causes ripple effects for the whole team. With Johnson getting totally crushed, elite players are able to romp all over. Without the Hasek-lite version of Bob, this means more goals against. From there? The team is left sitting in a hole before they can even get going.

    And the problem seems even bigger when we expand our scope. By my estimation, there are five CBJ d-men worth using on an NHL team: Murray, Erixon, Wiz, Savard, and Tyutin (in most years, he's having a rough time paired with Johnson so far). When poor performers like Prout, Johnson, and (to a lesser extent) Nikitin are getting ice time over Erixon and Savard? Suddenly half the defense is awful and the coach is the main person at fault for that choice. It's hard to get traction when more than 50% of the defensive corps is underwater to start the game (that's those 3 players plus whoever is paired with Johnson).

    Curiously that observation also manages to absolve the management of some blame. JD/Jarmo have provided Richards with 5 NHL-caliber blueliners and he's only using 3-4 on any given night, and giving one of the non-NHL players huge minutes. Why trade for more good players when they're already here? Why not just correctly use the ones you already freaking have?

    Yes, it's hard for anybody to succeed when all the first line forward talent is injured (Dubi, Gaborik, Horton), but the CBJ can't even tread water with the way Richards is abusing his defense. That part needs to change, be that through the current coach changing his ways, or by getting a coach who will make intelligent decisions.

  4. Wow, DBJ, you know how to start a ruckus. This is playing out EXACTLY like Hitch's Olympic year, in 09-10 I believe. A young team that never gets to practice is inconsistent. I'm not sure these guys will quit on Richards though. I for one am appreciative of the patience Jarmo and JD are showing. What are we watching here folks? We are watching Ryan Johansen try to climb the ladder to dominant player and leader. It ain't gonna happen every night. This is the process of these young players learning what it takes to win in the NHL. They don't come with that pre-loaded in their brains.

    Same thing with Ryan Murray, and Boone Jenner. This is the first time they have ever experienced a multi-time zone 10 day road trip followed by a home game at the NHL level. So now they know. What is more important is what they ultimately do with that information.

    Johansen, Murray, Jenner are the core of this team right now. Since two of them are rookies, some inconsistency is to be expected. Ride this out folks, and see it for what it is. While Joey was pretty invisible last night for the first time in a long time, he's always been a bit player in the drama. Now he's center ice on the number 1 line, playing the lead role. It will take him time to get accustomed to it, but he is showing that he has what it takes to do that.

    Yes Virginia, it is the youth.


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