OK, the Blue Jackets have won two in a row after their poor outing against Los Angeles last Tuesday. I decided not to post anything because the team has a habit of matching up well against stronger teams, like Philadelphia, and then reverting back to uninspiring play against equal or lesser teams. They give you a quick win to make you forget the recent past, but then fall again if you don’t pay attention. So after watching them beat the Flyers and remembering just how good the team can be, I held my breath until after the game last night against the Kings. What do you know, they can play consistent hockey!
I wasn’t the only person who was unhappy. Fellow blogger John at Light the Lamp wrote of his displeasure, asking if it was time for a shake-up. I agree that it is time for a shake-up, but just what kind of shake-up and how it should be executed are the big questions.
It was a nice game on Saturday against Philly in a packed house. I thought the Flyers’ fans were very well-behaved and had some nice conversations with a few of them. They liked Nationwide with its two rinks (who doesn’t?) and the Arena District. Many of them were not expecting much out of their team because of the weather-related travel difficulties that occurred. So I went home and deliberately avoided my blog, waiting until after the LA game.
Last night was certainly a dull game to watch, without much flow or excitement, but the CBJ did what they had to and walked away with a victory. It was very nice to see Steve Mason get another shutout and strengthen his case for rookie of the year.
I did attend the Town Hall meeting on Saturday and it was as quiet as I though it would be. You see, Scott Howson was facing us season ticket holders and most of us have been with the team since the first year. Sure, we’re not happy, but our payments are final and not subject to any refund policy. The questions were nearly all softballs, respectfully asked and quietly accepted.
I’ve read all the talk about Doug Weight coming here and want to state unequivocally that if the team makes any move to acquire him, I will view it as a Doug MacLean-type move and a waste of time and money. It won’t generate anything except for a few press notices. It would not be an investment in the future.
But again, what should Scott Howson do? The time is probably here for the team to start dumping the players who are not part of the future, the guys who are getting ice time because of salary and a lack of organization depth. A meeting with the coaches and scouts (and probably an outsider) is in order, to figure out where the NHL is headed, what kind of players are needed for that direction, and develop the appropriate coaching plan to compete. Over the years, it always seems like the Blue Jackets are out of step. They had small, creative players (Espen Knutson, Ray Whitney, etc.) at the wrong time, they signed big, hard hitting defensemen (Adam Foote, Darryl Sydor, etc.) when they were on the way out, were too quick with rookies (Klesla, Brule) and not able to support their goaltenders.
I probably sound like “back to the drawing board” again, but it may take another try for the team. There are ten teams in the Western Conference who are stuck in the mud just like us and nobody looks like they are going to break away from the group. Even Vancouver could fall back if Roberto Luongo doesn’t heal properly and the Matts Sundin experiment fails. Yes, the Blue Jackets are behind, it won’t take much to get ahead.