Over the offseason I wrote about team chemistry and if fans should be worried about it going into this season. I argued both sides of the battle for the sake of the post, but I was genuinely concerned at the time about how the team would play, and who would make up each line for the Blue Jackets.
With next season being the first full season that several players will be a part of the Blue Jackets roster, should we be concerned about the teams chemistry?
Going into opening night Coach Todd Richards talked about how he would be crazy not to play Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky, and Marian Gaborik as the first line for Columbus, and I think every fan agreed with his decision about that. All the other lines were set before the game as well, and were even posted for the fans on the Blue Jackets website to mull over. Every line looked well thought-out, and seemed as if the coaching staff took all offseason to concoct them.
As I was looking over the lines, I remembered writing the post about team chemistry and thinking to myself, these lines are going to work. After tweeting with a few other fans, it seemed as if they were happy about the line combinations as well. I particularly liked, and several other fans did as well, the “young” line, which consisted of Matt Calvert, Ryan Johansen, and Cam Atkinson. Then October 4th rolled around and the Calgary Flames came into town, and I am taking the liberty to speak for all the fans when I say, we were all elated to see that top line of the Blue Jackets start the regular season.
After the opening face-off though, all bets were off. Several different lines were thrown together while the Blue Jackets were struggling to keep up with the Flames. A few lines were new, and a few lines were a carry over from last season. I know I am just a fan, and a writer, but don’t you agree that Coach Richards should have gave his initial lines some time to click together?
The other question is, did the line juggling cause the Blue Jackets to lose on opening night against the Flames? We won’t ever actually know the answer to this question, but I think it is something that the Coaching staff ought to be asking themselves. If I were the coach, which I am not and have no experience coaching, I would have at least kept playing the planned lines for periods one and two. Especially the line of Jenner, Dubinsky, and Gaborik, which was switched up relatively quickly.
Don’t get me wrong, the line juggling was not the only downfall of the night for the Blue Jackets, the sloppy play of the defense was the main breakdown for Columbus. Nonetheless, I do hope we get to see the original number one line more during this regular season, so they have a proper chance to develop some offense. Same goes with the “young line”, which seemed to have a longer shot during the Flames game, but was broken up against the Islanders. We will just have to wait and see if Coach’s line juggling will continue throughout the season or if the original line combinations will have time to create chemistry.