Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Day Late and A Dollar Short

The last time I dug out the bottom feeder graphic
they went 10-1-1.  Don't think so this time.
The Blue Jackets got booed in their own arena tonight.  That's because they were being outworked by the Phoenix Arizona Coyotes for the second time this year.  The 'Yotes have embraced their role as a bottom feeder and a spoiler this year.  That awful truth and reality is just hitting home to the Jackets players, and it's fair to say they have not adjusted well to that reality.  And I'm okay with that.  Tonight the Coyotes completed the season sweep of the Jackets, and it wasn't that close.

It is easy to say that the flaws in this team are clear without Bobrovsky.  But 4 goals in 4 games has nothing to do with Bobrovsky.  A 1.0 GPG isn't going to get it done in Bantam hockey, much less the NHL.  The shocking thing was to see that late in the third period the shots were tied at something like 28.  That means the Coyote in the center of Mike Smith's chest had been hit 27 times.  Hell, I could play NHL goalie if the opposing team promised to always hit the logo on my chest.  Perhaps that is an exaggeration, but that is how it felr as a fan watching the game.

But speaking purely as a fan, not a hockey analyst by any stretch, you couldn't find a more snake bit team than the CBJ right now.  A 'Yote defenseman falls down, swings wildly at the puck.  Perfect clear.  Maybe it is their superior skill, but I doubt it.  However, it is true that the 'Yotes have owned the CBJ this year, though I am not sure why.  Something about us brings out the best in them.  Power to them.

I have an uneasy feeling about this next month.  The trade deadline is less than a month away, and I think that is suddenly being keenly felt in the CBJ locker room.  There will be changes, perhaps more drastic than you and I can foresee.  The hard part in this is estimating the pace of development of the talent in the pipeline.  Howson over estimated what he had, and it cost him his job.  Jarmo and JD have been more patient, with only Wennberg being sacrificed to the exigencies of this season.  Bjorkstrand remains in Juniors, playing for the Portland Winterhawks.  Dano, Rychal and Anderson are resolutely held in the AHL, in spite of an NHL team screaming for talent.  Jarmo may get raked over the coals for this patience, but he will be rewarded in the long run.

Keep in mind that Jarmo and JD have their sights firmly set on a serious Cup run three years from now (IMHO).  To make a serious Cup run 3 years from now, you need to make some noise 2 years from now.  That means Wennberg, Rychal, Dano and Bjorkstrand need to be impact players in 2 more years.  How best do you get there?  As you look at this 'Bobless' team, it makes it easier to see what parts are going to be necessary to make some real noise 2 years from now, and what parts aren't going to get that done.

If you think you want to do what I have described above, giving Rychal, Dano, and Anderson serious ice time down the stretch after the trade deadline seems imperative.  What veterans do you keep?  Letestu seems certain, with his cost effective contract.  Dubi, Nick, Joey and Hartsy (sorry Morgan) Dubinsky, Foligno, Johansen, and Hartnell for sure.  After that?  Jenner is out, but he'll be in, so let's add him in.  After that the only thing dictating your behavior is opportunity.  If that opportunity included a first round pick in this draft, it might be pretty tempting.  Especially since you have defensemen to sweeten the pot.  Young prospect?  Sure!  Veteran D-man for the run?  We can help you out!  How about a few forwards for the draft pick?

Interesting times for the CBJ.  A dog of a game raises the stakes for some players on this team.  Hopefully there is better hockey than tonight's game to be seen as the season winds down.


1 comment:

  1. I'll defend this team to the end if the effort is there. Last night was not one of those times. Little to no forecheck, no real hits, and for the umpteenth time, outshot by a 2 to 1 margin (until the last coupleof minutes in the opening period. I do not see this as a coaching problem, more pf a players attitude. Several posts have asked if T Richards may be the wrong coach for this team. It looks more to me as if some playersare taking for granted that SOMEONE will get everything started, flip a switch, and all will be well. It's time to see what you're made of boys. Start playing YOUR game and stop waiting on someone else to get everyone going. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem!!!


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