The Columbus Blue Jackets may be struggling, but even if they miss the playoffs Jarmo Kekalainen shouldn’t be on the hot seat.
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Kekalainen isn’t a coach, he can’t control how well players mesh into the lineup or even how the current players perform. All he can do is put the team in a position to contend, which he did with his trade deadline acquisitions. He knew that he needed to take advantage of having Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky while he could.
Based on his history with the team, Kekalainen at the very least deserves a chance to rebuild the team after this season if things go wrong. There’s no guarantee that this is even a coaching problem either. It’s difficult to tell at this point what exactly the issue is. You can’t say Tortorella is losing the room, considering quite a bit of the room just got to Columbus.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are in a rough situation, but there’s nobody else I would trust to get them out of it going forward if the season ends badly than Jarmo Kekalainen. He’s gotten the Blue Jackets to the point where they’re considered a legitimate threat for the first time in team history. He deserves the chance to have a bounce back.
With that said, it’s not even a guarantee that the season will end badly. There’s still quite a bit of time for the Blue Jackets to make it into the post-season and go far with it. The Blue Jackets will bounce back from their recent struggles, the only question is when.