...asked about the coaching staff, and if he had considered a coaching change, and his answer was an immediate "We are not." ... "We believe that [our coach] is a good coach and needs a chance to work through this. The way [the McConnell's] run their businesses, you hire the best people and you give them a chance. I don't make excuses, but the coach needs to have some of the players we acquired in the lineup before we make a final judgement."
If you read that in the Dispatch tomorrow, you wouldn't think twice, would you?
That's not a quote from Jarmo Kekalainen or John Davidson. That was from 2011. I omitted the parts that said Scott Arniel and Scott Howson.
Amid the Blue Jackets recent 1-5-2 skid, one thing is obvious: Something isn't working. Whether it's injuries to Calvert, Jenner, and Horton, or the coaching staff, or simply Sergei Bobrovsky playing like a normal goaltender and not a Vezina winner.
I really didn't want to write this post tonight. The Blue Jackets had a solid overall effort against the Boston Bruins. The Bruins are clearly among the elite in the Eastern Conference. The Jackets fought hard and walked away with a point in OT. In a long, 82 game season, sometimes that's all you can ask for on quick two game road trip. "Let us get 2 out of 4 points to keep pace." It's not a crazy thought. And the Blue Jackets did just that, they got 2 out 4 points against the Bruins and the Capitals, two overtime losses.
Yet, the Blue Jackets still sit in last place in the Metropolitan Division. They have won just one out of the last eight games. Something isn't right. It's more than unlucky bounces. Boone Jenner and Nathan Horton didn't even play in Columbus last year, so it's hard to pin it all on their absences. For all his passion, and he's one of my favorite Jackets, Matt Calvert is still just a third line player.
So, what's wrong?
Is it the coach? That's obviously the first thought that slips into minds. "You can't fire the players," they say. Firing a coach almost always results in a little win streak, players playing for their collective butts, but it's not always a lasting effect.
There are clearly some players under-performing. R.J. Umberger spent some time on the fourth line against the Bruins. I can't say it was undeserved. His contract might truly be the worst among those handed out by Scott Howson.
At what point do you do something drastic? Bobrovsky isn't bailing Richards out any time soon. Does a veteran get benched? Or would Richards lose the room if he went too far? Will he ever name a captain? Has he already lost the room?
Ryan Johansen, Brandon Dubinsky, and Ryan Murray are really playing with fire. They've been the bright spots this year, by far. But I'd be hard pressed to name another player who has "brought it" every night. Are the coaches not motivating? Was it more than just Bobrovsky playing above his head last year? Is this the real Dalton Prout? Is Marian Gaborik past his prime?
I'm not so sure I have the answers. But, again, this is clear: Something isn't working.
What do you think?