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What the Hell is wrong with the Blue Jackets?


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  The Blue Jackets who finished the season as hot as any team in the game last season and barely missed the post season on the final day of the season are playing just wretched. How bad? They lost 7-0 to the underachieving and world class failure of a team the Edmonton Oilers.

   It starts with Bob who had a Vezina worthy 2.00 GAA last year and has watched it swell to nearly a goal a game higher, an unacceptable 2.88.  Yes they have a young defense trying to get Ryan Murray and David Savard big learn on the fly minutes has not been a bad thing, both are plus players with offensive upside and are a few of the teams bright spots.

  Marian Gaborik is injured and will miss an estimated six weeks but quite frankly he had only 5 goals and was playing poorly anyway. Dubinsky has been solid, Ryan Johansson has started to perform as if he is worthy of the early pick the Jackets made him, and James Wisniewski is playing lights out running the point, but other than that NOBODY on the club is exceeding expectations or even meeting them.

  Jenner has been given minutes on all for lines and has bombed. Calvert got hurt, Letestu has one goal, Atkinson and Anisimov, two top six forwards have 8 points each. Jack Johnson gets turned around and is out of position more than any player I have seen in a long time. He seems to draw a penalty every other game for holding to prevent an odd man rush.

  I cannot for the life of me figure out this team. What I cannot figure out is how they played out of their rears last year, I believe this is the reality for this club, a much more realistic return for this club.

  Can they turn it around? I don't know, Bob is capable of playing good hockey obviously but I think this team is overrated and playing to their true level. Gaborik going out kills them, they are in big trouble and I just don't see it going forward.

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@yave1964  Gaborik is kinda like Havlet at this point, not as bad, but injury prone and a floater extraordinaire. Why do teams bother with players like this, guys who are just pure pts but suck the life out of a team. Semin is another shining example. I would not want any 3 of these guys anywhere near my other players. Having Gaborik as the main return for Nash (who is a tad overrated anyways) is a recipe for disaster. 


  I usually look at guys who are fantasy hockey worthy on each team, and Bob and Wisniewski are the only guys worth rostering...not good. I don't know what happened to the vast talent that Ryan Johansson had, but it is nowhere to be found....perhaps he was rushed and it crushed his confidence and ability to grow...I dunno. I really thought Boone Jenner was ready, never expected to hear his name and bombed in the same sentence. The best thing they can do for him is to AHL him as quickly as possible before what happened to Johansson happens to Boone. What a gigantic mess!!

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  Johansson has been okay this year, he plays solid but a bit conservative, when he opens it up you see a spark that gives proof to why the Jackets took him so high. He truly has shown signs of living up to his vast potential this year. I hope so. Can you imagine being washed up by 21?

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@yave1964  Well, at least he is showing signs of being the dynamic star we saw at the World Jrs. I have not seen a lot of the Jackets, so didn't know if he was still flashing that star potential or not. If that kid is not a star, I'd be shocked. He probably needs better linemates and having the worlds best checkers bear down on you at 21 is probably not fun.

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@yave1964 , you got it on the first sentence of your 2nd paragraph: It starts with Sergei Bobrovsky. Plain n simple.


Even last year, if you look at the overall Blue Jackets team, Bobrovsky was the single biggest reason this team made the turnaround to almost make the playoffs.

The Jackets have been looking for consistent scoring for quite some time now....even last season when they finished hot.


Fact of the matter is, the team just doesn't score many goals, that has carried over into this season, difference being...you guessed it...Bob isn't stealing games for the Jackets like he was last season.

I looked at some numbers and stats, and for this season so far, if the Jackets keep opponents to 2 goals or under (with the exception of one game), they win the game.

I.E., if the defense, or more specifically, Bob, is limiting opponents scoring chances, pucks are being kept out, and thus, even with the anemic scoring Columbus has, they win the game.


Over 2 goals? Yep. They lose.  I generally don't put a ton of stock in GAA ( I prefer save %) as a measure of a goalie's value in stopping pucks, but in this particular case, Bob's 2.88 rings true....it is close enough to 3 per game, and it sure does indicate why the Jackets have lost alot more than they have won.

To be honest, 2.88 isn't horrendous (not great, mind you), but again, when your team doesn't score alot, AND you have a very young and/or mediocre defense, then you rely on your goalie to win games for you (like Bob did last year), and so a 2.88 looks like a balloon the size of a dirigible!


And on Marion Gaborik, like his style of play or not, he is a dynamic scorer, with speed to spare and defenses HAVE to account for him.

Yes, he plays a rather 'soft' brand of hockey, is injury prone, and doesn't play much in the way of defense, but when GM's get this guy on their roster, they understand this, and just hope that he stays healthy long enough to help bolster an offense. 

Granted, it doesn't seem to happen for an entire season, but a healthy Gaborik is a dangerous Gaborik, and without him, the Jackets offense looks even more dismal.


Letestu, Dubinsky, Anisimov..guys like that, are better suited to 2nd or 3rd line duties at best probably. At least, they most likely WOULD be on a more complete team.

Lots of people made a big deal of Letestu, but I just don't see why. He put up GREAT numbers during his junior and AHL games, but at the NHL level, at age 28 now, has proven to be just a grinder who can get a goal in here and there.


Dubinsky, is a classic energy player/grinder who can be expected to get you 15-20 goals a year on his best years....not bad (and I do like Duby), but HARDLY the type of player you build an offense around.


Other guys like Anisimov and Foligno may be more the sniper/scoring types, but have yet to establish themselves in the NHL as legit threats on a regular basis.


Thus we are back to Bob.

I think the idea the Jackets FO had was that Bob can continue to play like he had last season, while the defense matures and the FO can find some legit scorers to replace some of their grinders or at the very least, be able to move said grinders back to lines where they SHOULD be playing.


Obviously, nothing has gone to plan this season thus far, and hence we have the Jackets with the 'sterling' record they currently sport.


One last thing to consider: last season's shortened schedule.

Very difficult to gauge where a team is based on 48 games where you only face half the league.


We've all seen teams struggle for stretches, only to get things together over the course of 82 games and make the playoffs....and on the flip side, teams dominate for stretches, look like real deals for 40, 50 games, then fizzle, show lack of depth, and miss the playoffs 30 games later.

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