Where do the Blue Jackets go from here?
If head coach Scott Arniel is comfortably safe with an 8-16-4 record this season (42-61-17 overall as an NHL head coach), Derick Brassard and Steve Mason playing the scapegoat and under performer roles (while having a combined cap hit of $6.1 million), and Scott Howson trying to make sense of hockey operations by hiring Craig Patrick, what is the next move?
Certainly you can't trade one of the big three - Rick Nash, Jeff Carter, or James Wisniewski - or can you? I don't think that's the answer, but where else do you go? Do you gut the group of players that Howson has put around them? If so, what does that say about Howson's ability to build a roster? If a complete rebuild is in order, ownership would need to take a good look at the man who put the players in place and handed out large contracts to Brassard, Mason, et. al. So far, he's only managed to get out from Kris Russell's. Don't forget Mike Commodore.
If you don't start moving some of the players, who else is responsible for late period and end of game collapses? Surely, while Howson did play a bit of professional hockey in his career, there's nothing he can do to stop a mess like last night's game against Nashville.
But if they haven't fired Arniel yet, why do it now? Remember at the beginning of November when there was still a chance to rebound from the poor start? Has anyone checked the standings since Ken Hitchcock took over in St. Louis?
So, if the GM, coach, and players are all staying put, what exactly do they expect to happen to turn this team around?