No, the Jackets did not secure a playoff slot last night nor did they even move up in the standings to challenge for slot. But they shutout Buffalo in front of their fans. It was a sweet victory. I was very tired from clearing snow from my driveway and thought twice about going, but I am glad I made the trip. They sure got quiet after that Jurcina goal and when Nash scored, they knew it was over. I was surrounded by them, but 98% of them were polite and friendly, and they accepted their fate with calm and beer.
I’m not going to comment much more on the Jackets because it is too early to make any pronouncements. Yes, things suddenly look better and Steve Mason appears to have forgotten who the old coach was. I’m just going to wait until the Olympic break is over and the rest of the NHL has a chance to rest up. I’ll be at a clinic hosted by Claude Noel on Monday, but I don’t expect him to present his new strategy and tactics for the Blue Jackets. I saw the team forming a box in the neutral zone and chipping the puck out of their own zone, just like a month ago. But coaching is not always about X’s and O’s.