Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Blue Jackets' Lost Season
Just under a month before the NHL playoffs begin, the first team has been eliminated. Last night, the Columbus Blue Jackets were mathematically eliminated from the post-season. The Jackets could win their last 13 games and still end up with 77 points, but the 8th place team now has 78 points. Sad trombone here.
The Jackets season ending in March is fun-- as the season for the team came in like a lion, with all their signings and trading for Jeff Carter; it ended like a lamb-- due to injuries, untimely play, and then trading Carter.
But how do you fix this team?? Is there a chance to even fix a constantly rebuilding squad??
Obviously, the biggest thing is what to do with Rick Nash. He's a guy said he wanted out at the trade deadline to "help" the franchise by getting prospects in return-- code for that he didn't want to go down with the ship. There's going to be a lot of convincing from the ownership to keep him stay. I don't think Scott Howson doesn't get the chance to convince Nash, because it goes beyond that. The ownership needs to be the guys to actually get to Nash and try and change his mind. They have the money and control to tell the GM to do this or do that in order to keep the superstar and franchise face happy.
Another point to that is to see what GMs are out there and see if firing Scott Howson is the biggest point. Let's be honest, he started off to a good start, but hasn't been able to build off the playoff performance they had a few seasons ago. While it looks good on paper for what he has done...the game isn't played on paper, that's just silly. The chemistry didn't seem to be there and the fact there wasn't much of a support system for the younger guys, especially Steve Mason-- who could have used a better veteran back-up to help him out and get him to move along.
There's a lot of problems, but the biggest victory for the Jackets has been their off-ice staff.
Whether it's a bizarre Twitter Q&A or the replacing your Jeff Carter nameplate with a Jack Johnson nameplate, the entire crew off the ice-- from PR to merchandising-- have done all they could to get people to the games, get attention to the team, and maybe garner new fans from everywhere. While the product on the ice hasn't been stellar, they have been doing their damnedest to actually make things work in Columbus.
Whatever needs to happen, the Jackets will have a lot of time to contemplate it all. They should have had a better fate with their off-season acquisitions, but all the glitters isn't gold. The franchise has always had so much promise only to be left in the dust. It doesn't help that they are in the toughest division in the NHL and maybe the move to the East would be great.....and after this season, the pitch for that writes itself.