Digging a Hole
Can things get much worse? Probably not. Should that be considered a good thing? Not yet...
Jeff Carter will miss at least one game with a foot injury. Curtis Sanford has an undisclosed injury and Mathieu Corbeil will serve as emergency backup to Steve Mason. Matt Calvert is the second promising young player to become a casualty to the Blue Jackets
poor awful start and has been sent to Springfield.
The bigger issue we have at hand is this team digging themselves a hole too big to get out of later in the season. It's still early. But if we're saying "it's still early" in November, we're kidding ourselves. If the Jackets were playing well, or showing positive signs, and still losing, it would be one thing.
Coach Arniel put it best in his post-game interview following the 4-2 loss against the Dallas Stars. Q: "Any positives you can take out of tonight's game?" A: "Nope." That says it all. The next morning featured a bag skate that pushed everyone to compete harder.
The top line has looked decent, Carter starting to mesh with Rick Nash and Vinny Prospal. But no one else can score. The team is struggling to play defense. And they can't keep the puck out of the net.
The Jackets have given up more goals than all but 4 teams, and the most out of any team in the West. Only 5 teams have scored fewer goals than the Jackets. The power play is coming in at a screaming 4%. Let that sink in for a minute. The penalty kill, 73.7%.
For a team that needed a good start more than anyone, things couldn't have started worse.
You might argue that things take time for teams to gel, especially when there have been big changes in key positions. In some ways, that's a valid argument. In many ways, it's a lame excuse.
How about the 3-0-1 Philadelphia Flyers, tied for 3rd in the East? Or the 3-1-0 Florida Panthers tied for 5th? In the West, you've got Colorado at 5-1-0 for 1st place, Dallas sitting at 4-1-0, Phoenix and Los Angeles at a healthy 2-1-1. All of these teams faced some level of change or uncertainty heading into the season. Will the Avalanche finish the season in first place? Absolutely not. But those are the kinds of "positive signs" I want to see from my young team facing adversity (read: everyone thought they would suck). Instead, the Jackets barely put up a fight when their captain was double teamed by two Dallas players after the play was blown dead in the Saturday night loss.
What is wrong with this team? The road doesn't get any easier. Here comes Dallas, Detroit, Buffalo, Chicago, Anaheim, Toronto, and Philadelphia. Someone needs to figure it out, or at least start answering questions.