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Cannon Blasts: A frustrating season continues

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That and more of this week’s links

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

On last week’s Cannon Cast, I called the Columbus Blue Jackets a “Jekyll and Hyde” team. From night to night, it’s impossible to know which Columbus team we’ll see. Will it be a dominant win over a good team, like they had on Monday in Washington? Or a complete no-show like on Thursday in Pittsburgh? There are games like Saturday afternoon’s in Ottawa, where they look like two different teams in one single game.

The most frustrating thing, for me, is that I know this isn’t a bad team. It’s not lack of talent holding them back (although having just one elite offensive playmaker would make things better). It’s that there are talented players who can’t consistently play to their potential, or who are performing well below their career average, like Cam Atkinson and Josh Anderson.

The funny thing is, they lowered my expectations so much that they actually exceeded them on this road trip. As I mentioned on the podcast, a friend asked me after the Rangers game if they could earn more than three points on the four game road trip. I thought three sounded right. On the podcast, recorded after the loss to Florida, we all thought it was impossible. Nevertheless, the Jackets ended up with four points for the trip, winning the hardest game on the trip and salvaging points somehow in the last two. A point per game on the road is fine, though that pace is not enough to stay in the playoff race in such a competitive division.

The weeks that were

Game 27: ARI 4 CBJ 2
Game 28: NYR 3 CBJ 2
Game 29: FLA 4 CBJ 1
Game 30: CBJ 5 WSH 2
Game 31: PIT 1 CBJ 0 (OT)
Game 32: OTT 4 CBJ 3 (OT)

If the talented players underperforming brings to mind the start of the 2015-16 season, then this month is giving us a reprise of the 2014-15 season when the team was ravaged by injuries. Sonny Milano, Josh Anderson, and Ryan Murray all left Saturday’s game, joining the already injured Zach Werenski, Markus Nutivaara, Emil Bemstrom, and Kole Sherwood. Fun!

It’s not all bad, however. We’ve recently profiled a few players that have started to play better: Sonny Milano, Cam Atkinson, and Alexandre Texier.

On deck

Monday: vs. Washington
Tuesday: at Detroit
Thursday: vs. Los Angeles
Saturday: vs. Devils

The week starts with a rematch against a Capitals squad that will surely be eager for revenge. Following that are three highlyl winnable games. Are they up to the task?

Monsters Mash

Joining the injury list was our Cleveland Monsters reporter, as Elaine was day-to-day with the flu. Fortunately she’s back, but I don’t know what the Monsters’ excuse is for their current losing skid. They may lose more in the coming weeks if the parent club needs to poach their roster for reinforcements.

November Month in Review
December 11: 2-3 shootout loss to Laval
December 13: 4-0 win vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
December 14: 1-3 loss vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Play me out

I love the Christmas season and I use Christmas music to help me get into the mood. Now, I do have to confess that some of it is pretty bad. This week I’ve been listening to the “Holly” channel on SiriusXM during my commute and I’ve learned that a) more artists than I would have guessed have recorded Christmas albums, and b) most of their renditions of the classics are really bad.

For me, one pop act’s Christmas material stands out above the rest. It’s music that I grew up listening to and it still brings back memories of the Christmases of my childhood. I don’t care much for their non-Christmas stuff, but Karen Carpenter’s voice and her brother Richard’s arrangements were a perfect fit for Christmas music.