The Blue Jackets played their third game of the season on Monday night, hosting the Detroit Red Wings at Nationwide. It was memorable for all of the wrong reasons however, with the Red Wings skating to an easy 4-0 win.
It’s difficult to single out many positives from last night’s game. After a spirited first 20 minutes, the Jackets were down 1-0 in spite of the fact that they weren’t playing all that badly. The entire game turned onto its head with an ugly turnover early in the second period, which led to a 2-0 Detroit lead. The game quickly snowballed after that, with the Wings picking up a third and fourth goal just minutes later, as the Jackets scrambled, trying to stay within reach.
The play that led to it all came from our newest free agent signee on defense, Damon Severson. This is an example of a guy trying to do too much, which happens here and there. We can learn from that. But what we can’t have with a young team, is a guy making a lazy play after a mistake. Severson coasts into his check on this play, then coasts back to the goal as the Red Wings finish off an easy goal. This isn’t good enough:
BIG RAS STAYS WITH IT! pic.twitter.com/BRLWihTcTA
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 17, 2023
If Severson is quick to recover, he probably could have forced a bad pass or a turnover before this play even develops. Instead, he half-heartedly turns away from the puck and watches the play happen from feet away. In my opinion, this is exactly the kind of thing that calls for a player to be benched, which is exactly what happened in the third period. Severson did not play another shift after leaving the ice with 1:44 left in the second.
How concerned should we be? After all, the team just signed Severson to a massive 8-year contract – he’s now three games into it and was benched for an entire period. He’s supposed to be a leader, a difference maker on the back end. The only answer here is, we just have to be patient. He’s a veteran in this league and I’m sure that he did not have to be told about his mistake. But, his effort to recover from it needed to be called out, and it was.
The only way this becomes concerning for me, is if we enter Friday’s game with another lackadaisical performance. If that’s the case, we’ll certainly have bigger concerns on our hands. I’m willing to chalk this one up to a one-off mistake and teaching opportunity. Personally, I’m happy to see that the coaching staff addressed it swiftly and harshly. Hopefully the entire team learns from it.