The Blue Jackets are in the national media spotlight in Canada, which only happens for one of two reasons. Unfortunately, that reason right now is that the team is making headlines in a bad way. By scratching star forward Patrik Laine on Sunday night, are the Blue Jackets at a crossroads with the big Finn?
Camping in Ohio does exist, believe it or not. As surprising as that may be to people from outside of the area; we like our wilderness time, out in the trees, away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. We like our campfires too. But if there’s one thing I’ll always remember about camping in Ohio, it’s that it isn’t flashy. We like cozy, quiet campfires here. As it goes, where there’s fire, there is bound to be smoke. Smoke does occasionally get attention.
The Blue Jackets, right now, don’t have a nice, cozy campfire going. There is no roasting of the proverbial smores in Central Ohio. The Blue Jackets, at this moment, are a firework factory that has seen their fuse burn out. The smoke pouring out of Columbus points to a roaring inferno of potential change – one that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek threw the entire gas station onto with their 32 Thoughts Podcast on Monday.
That may seem like an extreme descriptor. Maybe it is. But, as a loyal listener to their twice-weekly podcast, one thing that I’ve learned over the years is that these guys never say anything by mistake. They have a self-deprecating humor that keeps things light – but make no mistake, they don’t gloss over their discussions lightheartedly or say things they don’t mean. Elliotte has his finger on the NHL’s pulse in a big way. Arguably, better than anyone else in the business. So, when he speaks his mind about how he feels things are heading for the Blue Jackets, the words he chooses are not to be taken for granted. He means what he says.
They kicked off their weekly headlines by talking about our beloved Columbus Blue Jackets. Normally, this is very exciting because we could get the inside scoop from someone who isn’t in tight with the organization, or a normal reporter. But I knew this wouldn’t be talking about the CBJ in a fun way. They stink. So, I paid close attention to what the guys said, trying to glean any information that I could, from behind the words. And I did catch a hidden message here. The important phrasing that caught my attention on Monday:
"Elliotte Friedman: (Columbus) has been looking for a center for a while. I was making a few calls on Sunday and I think they’ve really stepped it up. I think they’re trying really hard to find a center. You can see that this is an organization really coming to a crossroads."
Now, you might read this and think that there’s nothing new here. We all know they’ve been looking for a center, that’s no secret. But, to the contrary, I’m reading a lot more into this. I think this could be a franchise-altering type of deal in the works… one that might again split the fanbase.