Finally, the All Star break is here and the Jackets can relax. All but the coaching staff, of course. I’m sure that Ken Hitchcock will be reviewing and planning everything until the trading deadline. The Jackets are slightly behind in the standings compared to last season, but the Western Conference is much tougher this year, so it’s a wash. But now is when things get stressful.
As good as Steve Mason is, the team needs to either play better in front of him so he does not get injured or they have to schedule Dubie. Don’t be surprised if Mason ends up playing the majority (like most) of the games, with Dubie being used as little as possible. Stevie Franchise is the guy who is going to get the team into the playoffs, unless Rick Nash starts putting everything he shoots into the net.
Don’t be surprised if the team keeps a large roster from now on. It is easier to keep 23 or 24 guys around and pick the players for each game on an as-needed basis. It costs more money and it hurts Syracuse, but it might be the right strategy for this team. I think we’ll see a lot of injuries taking longer to heal than normal.
We know who the sellers are out today, the Islanders and Atlanta. It’s too early for some teams to decide like St. Louis and Ottawa, but in all honesty, I don’t see any deals being executed until the last minute. The Jackets will hang around a lot longer than they did last season, unless they have another traitor on their roster to distract them. They’re young, but hungrier and want it more this season.
So relax, go see OSU this weekend, and get ready for white knuckle time.