It was the last word recreation of who was proper and who was unsuitable.
On one facet, you may have the Columbus Blue Jackets. Regardless of shedding all that expertise to unrestricted free company within the offseason, GM Jarmo Kekalainen and crew maintained that not solely would the crew be okay, they’d be a playoff crew. They have been defiant within the face of scrutiny.
On the opposite facet, you may have the doubters. These are the parents that noticed what the Blue Jackets misplaced and couldn’t see a state of affairs the place they’d make the playoffs. An elite winger, a Vezina-winning goalie and a top-six middle was simply an excessive amount of to beat.
The Blue Jackets will play their 30th recreation of the season Monday night time at Capital One Enviornment in opposition to the Metropolitan-leading Washington Capitals. With a report of 11-14-Four on the season, the doubters are profitable the battle so far. The Blue Jackets are in 27th place general 11 factors out of a playoff spot.
And let’s not deliver the St. Louis Blues argument into this. That was a extra veteran crew who vastly underperformed that acquired an enormous jolt from a younger goaltender. The Blue Jackets are nowhere close to that state of affairs.
Let’s simply name it like we see it. This isn’t a playoff crew. Not even shut.
And whereas we have to acknowledge that there are some good issues occurring in spots, there are approach too many points all through the crew which can be in unison holding them again from the place they need to be. For the Blue Jackets to make the playoffs, they wanted a number of issues to go proper. It hasn’t. Their report is deserved.
So what’s unsuitable? The most important factor is end. They’re getting photographs at a tempo the place they’re within the top-10 in photographs on aim. However they’ve the third worst capturing proportion within the NHL.
Take a look at their outcomes throughout the present four-game shedding streak.
Scoring 5 whole objectives in these 4 video games is solely not ok. Even when their goaltending, which has been first rate of late, performs nicely, it’s nonetheless arduous for them to win as a result of there isn’t sufficient offensive assist.
The Blue Jackets should begin discovering options to the issues which have plagued them. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Cam Atkinson isn’t scoring at his regular tempo. Josh Anderson has struggled all season and can’t purchase a aim. Alexander Wennberg is nowhere to be discovered. He discovered a seat within the press field Saturday night time in Florida. These are gamers that must be your greatest gamers.
Now couple that with the rookies enjoying massive minutes in vital spots. The tip result’s a crew looking for themselves.
Somebody to Lean On?
This results in the largest subject of all plaguing this crew. When a giant momentum-swinging second is required, the Blue Jackets haven’t been capable of create these moments to swing the momentum of their favor.
When a defining second was wanted final season, Artemi Panarin supplied it on offense. Sergei Bobrovsky supplied game-defining saves. There have been blemishes however these superstars have been ok to masks lots of these points.
Properly as you already know, they’re not there anymore. Who can the Blue Jackets lean on in determined instances? There in lies the issue. Nobody has stepped up. It’s truthful to surprise if this crew has anybody who can do this.
The goalies Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins are every studying their place. They’re not Bobrovsky. Seth Jones is elite and might take over video games at will. However it hasn’t occurred this season to a degree many would count on. And we all know the problems on offense. When you may have this setup, that is the end result you get.
Joonas Korpisalo has been fantastic however is just not the game-changer Sergei Bobrovsky was. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
The place’s the Swagger?
I actually don’t know what administration was pondering after they have been defiant about how good they could possibly be. They have been sick and uninterested in the doubters and it upset them. However they haven’t carried out something to silence these doubters.
There in lies one other subject. The gamers have been wanting to show that they could possibly be a superb crew this season. There was emotion. There was power. They have been able to play in opposition to the world.
Now although? I see a crew having bother discovering options to their scoring woes. I hear the identical factor time and again from gamers and the coach. “We’ll see the place it goes.” I don’t see the identical power and defiance that was demonstrated within the preseason. I’m additionally not listening to a plan of assault to rectify the scoring.
And now the Blue Jackets must attempt to discover their approach with out certainly one of their greatest defensemen in Zach Werenski for a number of weeks. They could must play with out Emil Bemstrom as nicely. It was arduous to attain objectives with them within the lineup. It solely will get tougher with out them.
Jarmo Kekalainen was defiant within the preseason. However the doubters are profitable to date. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Gary Wiepert)
I Guess I’m a Doubter
The answer needs to be someplace in that locker room. As of late there was no proof of a breakthrough. Whereas the underlying numbers recommend some enchancment could possibly be coming, if they will’t end, there received’t be a breakthrough. Additionally if the back-breaking errors preserve taking place, there received’t be any breakthrough.
If there’s no breakthrough, then the doubters have been proper all alongside. On the 30-game mark, there isn’t a query the doubters have been proper. If that is going to vary, the gamers have to play like they’ve one thing to show. I’m simply undecided this group has it in them.
I suppose that makes me a doubter. If the actual Columbus Blue Jackets present up, the one which their stars play to their functionality, then I’m open to vary. At this level although, they’ve to point out me I’m unsuitable.
Doubters 1. Blue Jackets zero.