Heading into the weekend with a three game losing streak, the Blue Jackets had two chances to turn the tide and get back into the win column. But instead, they found a way to lose both games, and now sit dead last in the Eastern Conference. We expected them to struggle this year, but now it seems like it’s time to shake it up with this team.
Without involving emotion, things just aren’t working for this team right now. The mix is not quite right; whether it’s the on-ice mix, the way they’re being coached, or perhaps even further up the chain. The results we’re seeing just are not good enough. And this is, in fact, a results driven industry. Maybe they need to find a trade to remove some of their redundant pieces? Maybe they need to adjust the way they’re playing defense? Or, maybe there needs to be major changes made somewhere to the organization?
At this point, anything and everything should be on the table. It’s definitely not that we expected them to be a playoff team. But, we did expect improvement over last year. This is a team that has returned to full health. They’ve also added Adam Fantilli, Dmitri Voronkov, Ivan Provorov, Damon Severson, Alexandre Texier, and Spencer Martin to the group. So why the heck aren’t they better?
It’s not that they just aren’t better. You could make the argument that they are somehow worse this season than they were last year. At the 15 game mark last season, they held a 5-9-1 record (11 points). After dropping both games this weekend, they’re 4-7-4 (12 points), with a worse win percentage. Sure, the games are closer … but we don’t play the games to have them be close. At some point, they have to start winning them.
The Blue Jackets are in last place in the Eastern Conference, having played TWO games more than the three teams ahead of them. They’re three points behind the Philadelphia Flyers, after having acquired their #1 defenseman in the offseason. While he’s currently tied for the team lead in scoring, it was his defensive coverage blunder that cost the team the game tying goal last night. This has been their problem all season long so far – they play hard for parts of the game, then fall into a defensive shell; ultimately conceding a goal because they’re tired and make a mental mistake.
Even without the mental mistakes, they’re just not playing consistently enough. The odd thing about the fact that they’re struggling to play 60 minutes is, it’s not because of the youth. In fact, their best line for the last handful of games has been the Voronkov-Fantilli-Marchenko line. They’ve been consistent and dominant nearly every shift. This brings up one glaring question that needs to be answered, in my opinion.