I have been repeatedly advised that swearing 150 times is not an acceptable minimum length column, but if there was ever a game for it, it would be this one.
After a dominant first period we were painfully reminded that hockey games are 60 minutes long. Not 20, not 40, not even 58, but a full 60 minutes...and the Blue Jackets simply do not know how to play a 60 minute game this season.
Despite claims that it is "not a coaching issue", I strongly beg to differ.
Coaches are supposed to recognize that if your goaltender (who has a history of back issues, and just missed playing in the previous game because of back spams) spends a bunch of time after a collision clutching his back and struggling to get up after saves, it's time to pull him and put in your backup.
Coaches are supposed to make it clear to the team that just because you have a three goal lead doesn't mean you stop forechecking, stop shooting, or stop skating after pucks.
Coaches are supposed to make intelligent lineup decisions instead of putting the forwards into a blender midway through the game and constantly shuffling the units going out on ice.
Coaches are supposed to recognize that if your rookie player suddenly explodes for two goals tonight, maybe he deserves more than 9 minutes of ice time, particularly when you're looking for an insurance goal late in the third period.
Coaches are supposed to make sure the defense understands that covering their assignments is not optional.
I feel for Jeff Carter. I feel for Ryan Johansen. I feel for Curtis Sanford. I feel for Vinny Prospal. I even feel for poor Jared Boll, who had his head turned into a paint mixer, again, without even a point in the standings to show for it.
The entire team is in the barrel, with a few standard bearers poking themselves a bit higher out of the muck...but not too far. (Jeff Carter had the fastest three goals in Franchise History...but he was still on the ice for three Nashville goals.)
John P. McConnell is a classy man, and he leads some very classy organizations. Because of that, I expect he's going to let players, coaches, and his front office have a peaceful Christmas with their families. But at this point, changes are inevitable. The only question is where and when the reaper's scythe will fall.