Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Consistently Inconsistent - The Columbus Blue Jackets 2013-2014 So Far

Jan 2, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing R.J. Umberger (18) celebrates a power play goal during the third period against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The inconsistency of the Columbus Blue Jackets so far this year is the only thing that’s been consistent about them. Lets take a look. I’ll break it down into categories of sort. The only names I’ll mention in this post are the 2 goaltenders on the team. I feel both are doing a great job for the most part, but you check it out and see for yourself.

Defense – All players on the Jackets play defense to some extent, but it’s the defensemen that get the bad rap here. The defensemen are a collective -11 for the season, meaning they’ve been on the ice for 11 more goals against than scored. That’s unacceptable for any team. Check out these stats for October’s games: They’ve won 5 games, lost 6, but outscored their opponents 31 to 29. November was terrible defensively. A 5-11 record and outscored 51 to 36. December the team went 7-6, and outscored the opponents 42 to 38. Does anyone see any consistency here? Obviously they’re getting better as the year goes on, so there IS hope. I understand that some players have been on the penalty kill more than others and that this may affect their stats, but come on, defense is defense in any capacity

Offense – All players on the ice try to score too, including defensemen. To date the Blue Jackets have  scored 109 goals in 41 games, an average of 2.66 goals per contest. Not bad, but this pales in comparison to the leagues highest scoring team: the Chicago Blackhawks with 156 goals. The Jackets have scored 5 or more goals in a game only 5 times, and 4 or more in only 13 games. The team has only been shut out 3 times all year, which is excellent, but they need more consistent scoring per game.

Nov 25, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) watches the play against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Columbus defeated Toronto 6-0. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Goaltending – A hard category to criticize, because of all the injuries that have happened.  The Jacket’s  #1 goalie,  Sergei Bobrovsky,  has missed 18 games this year. No consistency here either guys. With a .909 Save percentage and 2.72 GAA, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner clearly hasnt been up to standards. He’s under .500 in won/lost  at 10-11. Why, he’s even been pulled in 2 games. Unthinkable! His backup, Curtis McElhinney has actually played a little better, but obviously with less games under his belt. His .914 Save % and 2.60 GAA are on par with most goalies in the league and his 7-7 won/lost record reflects the inconsistency, not just his but the entire team’s.

Special Teams – Ah, my favorite category. Lets tackle the Power Play first. At 17.65 % effectiveness, the Blue Jackets power play ranks 19th out of the 30 teams in the Eastern Conference. So, they’re in the upper half of the lower half. Ok, now for the inconsistency part. The Penalty Kill. The team has  given up more goals during the penalty kill than all but 6 teams in the league. At 79.72 % effective,they’re well behind the league leading Vancouver Canucks, who are almost 90% effective.

I know I’ve thrown a lot of statistics your way for my first post, and I promise, cross my heart, not to do it often. Does anyone out there get as frustrated at the inconsistent play as much as I do? The last 3 games have really been the entire seaon in microcosm….Giving up 3 Power play goals to the Penguins, then again a couple nights later to the Avalanche, the shutting out the Coyotes Thursday night in Colorado. It’s enough to drive you crazy. But, I’ll continue to be a Jacket fan through it all. As they say, it’s the journey that makes the memories, not the ending.

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