If you’re perusing the stat column for the Blue Jackets, there are some real anomalies this season. Which is to be expected when you have a team that has used so many different players – and in so many different roles. But we have one request for this team before the season ends: can we get Tim Berni an assist?
We’ve been a good fanbase this season. We’re selling out Nationwide Arena on a nightly basis, to watch a team that has been dead last in the league for most of the last two months. We’re still loud and supportive, many of us even going to see the team on the road.
We’ve taken the injuries in stride and never (okay, sometimes) complained. We’ve seen the worst goaltending in the history of this franchise this season. Worst of all, we probably aren’t going to get the best odds to pick Connor Bedard, because two teams gutted their rosters to the point where they aren’t even able to get to overtime.
For all of these reasons – and more that I could probably list out – can we get an assist for rookie defenseman Tim Berni? Berni was one of the last defensemen recalled to get a real look on this roster, and with good reason: he’s still new to North America, and is honestly a depth prospect overall.
I would have to go back and count, but Berni was given his shot after several other players … yet he’s the only one who has been able to stick and carve out a role full-time. He’s skated in 53 games with the Blue Jackets and even scored his first NHL goal on January 11th. And here we are, nearly three months later, with Tim having yet to be given credit for an assist.
It’s not that he’s not trying – he’s had at least two taken off the board by scoring changes or goals that were recalled. It’s also not like he’s a pure goal scoring machine like Kirill Marchenko; in fact Berni has just 53 shots on goal in those 53 games.
He’s never been a big scorer at any level, but you would expect a player with his skating and passing abilities to at least pick one up here and there. When you look at the players who have played here this year and gotten points – maybe the best examples are the two most recent, with journeymen Billy Sweezey and Justin Richards getting assists in the last game – it’s a real oddity to see Tim Berni without an assist on the stat line so far.
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So we’re summoning the Hockey Gods to help us out here. Call it creating a campaign, or rallying the troops. Whatever metaphor you prefer, we want to see Tim Berni get an assist. After all, in an ideal world, he isn’t playing heavy minutes for this team again next year. For his hard work and consistent play this season, we hope he gets rewarded with that first apple.