Perhaps the Blue Jackets have been reading too many local blogs lately and think that the Western Conference teams are going to roll over for them. Losing last night to Edmonton, 4-3, was cruel. Up until this time, I read or heard that Columbus has been screwed by the War Room and that the three questionable calls (Minnesota, Dallas, and New Jersey) would keep them out of the playoffs in April. Last night was a reality check, giving away a sure point if not two in the standings to a team that will battle them until the season end. A few of the guys who are reliable and steady didn’t show very well last night and deserve some criticism from Hitchcock.
I also wince when I read the locals all acting like Scott Howson gave the finger to Colin Campbell by keeping Steve Mason out of the Young Stars Game. I doubt that anything was planned here and that it was simply a coincidence. Colin Campbell and the NHL have an event to market and sell to generate revenue, which is why the league exists and we have Nationwide Arena. The Jackets have had a lot of War Room calls go against them, but in the end they are part of the NHL and not looking for an excuse to muck things up. If any of those calls went in favor of Columbus, you can bet that the GM’s of the other teams would howl just as loudly as Howson did. But at the end of the day, he is a company man and will go along with the call no matter what. This is not the Chiller Adult League.
Another issue that has Jacket fans all wet is the signing of Wade Dubielewicz. Many are saying that Columbus did this to screw the Islanders, but the signing actually shows the incompetence in New York. How did the Islanders allow their franchise to get so short in goal? Did they think that the other goalie-hungry teams would not see a quality guy like Dubielewicz available for next to nothing? The pick-up of Dubie should make you confident that Scott Howson is competent and can do his job.
Finally, for those of you who can think about non-Blue Jacket hockey: Last weekend, Mario Lemeuix was at Easton Chiller behind the bench, coaching his son. The 1996 AAA Penguins were in town to play a pair of games. Mario was very gracious, posing for pictures, signing autographs, and talking to anybody that approached him. He was easy on the referees, never critical and friendly throughout the game.