OK, Rick Nash sustained an injuy last night in the 3-0 loss to Detroit, but reports are calling it short term, which might mean that he injured a small body part or else his recovery time will be brief. I’m guessing the latter. But it is not time to panic and the team needs to take a deep breath and look at some options and plans.
1. Fix the Pascal Leclaire situation. The team’s number one goalie is now Steve Mason and until he screws up, he is the man. But on Saturday, the team needed to give him a rest and did not. Perhaps Leclaire was not ready to go due to his ankle injury, or he didn’t feel ready to play, or Hitchcock didn’t feel confident, but Leclaire needs to play. Asking a twenty year-old to play that many games with the back-to-backs in the schedule is not smart and it showed. If Leclaire has lost confidence, then move him somewhere else. Watching Mason against St. Louis on Saturday, I felt that last year’s Leclaire would have easily done the job. Even an average Pascal Leclaire would have kept the team in the game.
2. Ignore Doug Weight. Seriously, would Doug Weight have helped win either the St. Louis game or the Detroit game? And who should the Jackets give up to acquire a very short-term solution? I know, you can argue that if they can buy him without giving up a player, they could drop him next year with a healthy Brassard and year-older Filatov. But can you see additional victories coming with Doug Weight?
3. The Dispatch mentions Jordan Staal, to which I say, Oh really? If he can’t get along with Michel Therien, why would he like Ken Hitchcock? And even though I like Staal, you have to remember that he plays with much better players in Pittsburgh and his numbers would not be the same here in Columbus. And I also again ask, who would I give up for Jordan Staal? Pittsburgh will want young players with an upside so they can save money for Crosby and Malkin. I would call Ray Shero and ask if we could rent Jordan Staal.
4. Antoine Vermette, Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina. Any of them would help stabilize the Blue Jackets because these guys have endured trying conditions in Toronto and Ottawa. But other than Christian Backman, which defenseman do you want to give up? I could live without Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, Marc Methot, or even Rusty Klesla if that is what it takes to improve the team. But you know they want Kris Russell and/or one of our forwards. Teams give up defensemen because they have too many of them, so they would want a Jacket forward. I don’t think anyone is calling to ask for Fredrik Modin or Jason Chimera.
It is on to Washington and that won’t be an easy game. But the team has to get through this brief period and weather the storm. It appears as if Huselius and Nash will be back soon. If they can find a way to get some quality playing time from Pascal Leclaire, it will be back to business.