Do you think the Jacket games are all scripted now? Give up an insurmountable lead early in the game and then hang around until the end, keeping the game interesting? Or is the team simply not ready for the opening face-off?
I’ve played, coached, officiated, and watched hockey all my life and I don’t like what I see. The team is spinning out of control and heading for a crash. Has John McConnell bothered to call Mike Priest up and tell him to fix things right now or he will find a new president, one with a business and hockey background? Has Mike Priest asked Scott Howson just what the hell is going on? Has Ken Hitchcock sat back and reflected upon his years in hockey to find some ideas for recovery?
Look, I’m sure there is tension between Howson and Hitchcock, which is part of the business. It is only natural for a coach and GM to have debates about the current progress of a team. We fans don’t know if Hitch has been requesting certain players be acquired and/or current ones traded/benched/released. At the same time, we don’t know if Howson has been told by his coach that these are the players he can do the job with. Or if Howson has no money in the bank to go out get the “missing part” that the team needs.
We are quickly coming to a head at Nationwide Arena. In a week or two, Howson and Hitch are going to have meet and agree on what the team is going to do to play out the season. Is a fire sale in order, a release of guys like Chimera, Modin, Methot, Commodore or others who just are not producing within expectations of their contracts? Since goaltending in Columbus is not the best these days, will Garon be traded anyway for a promising player as a short-term fix?
If the team turns things around in a positive way, is there enough time left in the season to secure a playoff spot? There are 57 games left in the season, which means the Blue Jackets have to win at least 28 of them to hit the 42 wins that they had last season. In other words, the team has to win half of their remaining games to finish eighth. It’s not impossible. But Dallas, Minnesota, St. Louis, and Vancouver have to help us and start losing.
I just want to know which guy has said he is standing fast, Hitchcock or Howson. Did Howson tell Hitch, “You’ve got the players you need, now win!” Did Hitchcock tell Howson, “Get rid of Filatov and the other small guys and get me a defenseman or two who can work within my system!” We have the salary cap room, but do we have the money? We have decent players, but will they play Hitch hockey? Is Hitch hockey still a viable strategy?
A lot of questions and we fans are left to just sit in the waiting room, hoping that the operation succeeds. I don’t have a funeral director on my speed dial.