Game 79: Lackluster
With a chance to play for a tie in the season series and a bit of pride against the St. Louis Blues, the Blue Jackets came out and.... embarrassed themselves. There's no other word for it, and indeed, that's how R.J. Umberger, who scored the lone goal in a 6-1 loss, described the game to Aaron Portzline when he was asked about tying a franchise record for 244 straight games in a Blue Jackets' uniform.
"I really don't want to talk about any personal accomplishments after a game like this. It's embarassing. I'm not happy."
Neither were fans, who booed the team off the ice after they went down 4-1 in the second period, and again when the team finally slouched to a halt at the end of three period.
We've been told the team is going to be taking a serious look at the entire organization from the top down.
Sadly, all too many moments like tonight will be etched in their minds.
The most frustrating part was that the team simply let themselves be shut down - despite skating with the Blues for much of the first period, only down by 1 goal, and keeping a fairly even accounting of themselves in shots and hits, they decided to pack it up early into the second period after St. Louis took a lead on Andy MacDonald's power play tally, and never really turned anything around, despite hard play from Umberger, Calvert, Lepisto, and Dorsett. They mustered 7 shots on goal in the second period, despite playing most of the period at even strength or on the power play, and only managed four shots in the third period, raising the white flag despite David LeNeveau coming in to replace Mathieu Garon in goal.
Lepisto, by the way, was the ONLY defenseman to finish with a +/- rating of 0 today. Interestingly, so did Dorsett and Kristian Huselius, who had three shots in his first game back from the injury that took him out of the lineup for most of the second half of the season.
Despite his wish not to talk about his own achivements, we do congratulate Umberger for his goal, which gave him a personal best season with 56 points, and has him one goal away from beating his previous personal best.
I just wish the rest of the team had chosen to put up an equal level of effort.
The Jackets will go on the road for their final road trip of the year starting Tuesday, when they take on the Dallas Stars, then a final meeting in Nashville before returning to Columbus to bring a frustrating end to another season which began with excitement and promise.