Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I'm measuring my words here

OK, this whole 2011-2012 thing isn't going so well.
Random thoughts, questions, observations as we sort through the carnage of an 0-5-1 start:
  • The folks at XM Home Ice suggest that, with one standings point accumulated in six games, the Columbus Blue Jackets are out of mulligans and now have to play hockey at a 104-point pace to get to the 98 points projected for the 8th place seed in the Western Conference.  Yeah, a 104-point pace.  In the Western Conference.  With this team.  Gulp.
  • In light of the above, is it possible to continue to preach patience with this squad if you predicted the Blue Jackets would make the playoffs?
  • Didn't you used to be R.J. Umberger?
  • With a goal and a terrific defensive protection of the empty net in the last 3 minutes of last night's game, Kris Russell seemed to shake out of a two-plus year slumber.  Wonder if the new Russell will stick around.
  • Is James Wisniewski supposed to be platooning with Jesus "Our Lord and Savior" Christ once he returns from suspension on October 25?  This whole notion of "Once Wiz returns, all will be well on defense" rings hollow.  One man does not a blue line make.  The other guys need to step it up, and they might as well do it now.
  • Is there ever a situation where a head coach can exchange "pleasantries" with a paying customer in the heat of the moment and the coach comes out looking good?  
  • Team president Mike Priest and former-yet-still-on-the-payroll coach Ken Hitchcock have been seen at practices together in the last week.  Granted, this was before the loss last night at Dallas.  I'm not sure if they took in practice today.  Still, draw your own conclusions.
  • The XM Home Ice guys also are suggesting that the Blue Jackets already are taking phone calls regarding possible trades.  Who would you trade?  The underachievers for whom a trade likely would not yield a desirable result?  The (over-)achievers who have been helping the Blue Jackets get their two goals a game?  Do you dump promising forwards (from an offense that can't score enough as is) to bolster the blue line or goal?  Do you dump a defenseman (from a defense that's giving up at least three goals a game) for offensive help?  Can you convince anyone to take one of Columbus' goalies?
  • Didn't you used to be Antoine Vermette?
  • With an overhauled team, second-year coach Scott Arniel has lost to two brand-new coaches of overhauled teams: Dallas' Glenn Gullickson (twice) and Minnesota's Mike Yeo.  He's also lost to Colorado's Joe Sacco, who went through an excruciatingly bad season last year.  These are not Mike Babcock types, long-time coaches with established traditions of winning.  These are rebuilding coaches, some earlier on the curve than Arniel is at in Columbus.  With that in mind, at what point do we say that Arniel simply has been getting outcoached?
  • One win in regulation in the last 28 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets.  One regulation win.  28 games.  
  • Now-CBJ assistant coach Todd Richards bag-skated his Minnesota Wild at an almost identical point in the season last year.  How did that work out?  And did Arniel think doing the same thing would yield a different result?
  • How much leeway do you give this team considering the suspension of Wisniewski and injuries to Carter, Huselius, Boll, Dekanich, etc.?  Is a potential 1-10-1 October (I'm looking at YOU, Ottawa, for those 2 points!) acceptable considering the fact that this roster is so far away from what was envisioned?
  • I know I've taken them to the woodshed, but I honestly feel really bad for the Columbus Blue Jackets ticket office staff right now.  
  • I also feel really bad for Vinny Prospal.  
  • Keeping with the periodic Dark Blue Toddler theme in this blog, I hereby dub this Saturday's game against the Ottawa Senators "The Sippy Cup."  It surely is Columbus' best shot at a win in October, perhaps the only realistic shot.  
  • I can't think of a single soul who thought that the season would start out this terribly.  At the same time, reality not meeting expectation is no excuse to bury one's head in the sand.  
What do you think?  Are there other thoughts on your mind as our favorite team trudges through The Suck?

UPDATE: I don't want to let this piece go yet don't want to give it a post of its own, so here you go...SportsNet's Mark Spector wrote a telling piece on the state of the Blue Jackets with plenty of quotes from Scott Howson.  You can love Howson or hate him, but you'd be wise as a Blue Jackets fan to understand him.


  1. CBJ brings in PP guru Todd Richards. PP becomes black hole of suck.

    CBJ fires 40 shots on goal, gets only 2 goals.

    What the heck is going on!? Why does this overhauled team yield suspiciously similar results to the one that ended last year?

  2. How many others out there mentally start a 90 second clock on those few occasions the CBJ score, to see if they can somehow not give up an answering goal?

    I also wonder what the latest (in a VERY long line) excuse will be once this team doesn't make the playoffs yet again? (Yes consider me pessimistic that they can play at a 104 point pace from this point forward)

  3. That about sums it up DBJ. I said earlier that they were only 4 points out of the playoffs, but that could change quick. They need to win some games, and not just one.

    One thing that the addition of Wiz does is that it puts pressure on the defensive pairings from the top. Martinek slides back to a 3-4 pairing, where he belongs, Clitsome slides back, so there is a trickle down effect that is felt when Wiz comes back.

    So while one guy doesn't make a defense, Wiz does have a disproportionate effect on the defense. That in itself does not mean that effect is sufficient to fix our defensive woes.

    I came out of last night's game thinking Arniel wasn't getting it done, and the winningest coach in CBJ history was on the payroll. However, your comments about offensive flow in your previous post were right on the money, and I concluded that Hitch was not necessarily the remedy to that problem. The only remedy to that problem is playing hockey games, and getting experience with your new mates. The tricky part is surviving that period, and so far not so good.

    Here's hoping they can relax on the road, and not squeeze the stick so hard. I think we got lucky when we signed Vinny Prospal.


  4. Ditto on Gallos comment and great reflection DBJ. Arneil and Hitchcock coach the Canadian team together so I am expecting that they are working together now.

    Where do we start, where will this team go in the next couple of months... When you are at the bottom there is only direction and it is up... In points hopefully!

    The fans deserve better play from the team as a whole b/c no one player can do it all. I do however expect better leadership from our captain especially now! We all know what a phenomial player he is but at some point he needs to bring 110% to every game and practice. I hope I do not need to yell "get stronger Nash" from row H again on tuesday night to get to produce on a power play. But if speaking your mind at the games is need due to total frustration than so be it!

    I love going to games, wearing my blue jacket gear even on non game days and will travel to see this team anywhere even in Vancouver. So do you think we will go to the Eastern conference next year b/c I'm praying for it!

    LeHeathers on twitter :)


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