Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Columbus Blue Jackets

With only about 180 minutes left in the Blue Jackets season, I felt it necessary to provide them a nice send off to which ever golf courses they will be going to once the playoffs start.  I really felt at the beginning of the season there was some promise for this squad they were winning games, and looked like they could challenge the likes of Detroit, Chicago and Nashville for a spot in the playoffs.  Over the last two months, the wheels have really come off the bus though.  For some reason, they have blown so many leads in the 3rd period only to lose in a shootout.  Personally, I think they need to stop settling for one point and win the game.

I think much of their problem exist because everyone is standing around waiting for Rick Nash to save the game.  It is hard when your being double and tripled teamed to do anything, but I have seen Nash make some goals from incredible angles.  He has great hands with the puck unlike most of the players on the team, and in the NHL for that matter.  The guy is light years ahead of the rest of the team.  I hate to say it but the Columbus Blue Jackets may need to look into trading him to get as much value as they can because they have so many holes.

The biggest problem the Jackets have in my opinion is defense.  They have no solid defense men, not one, Stralman should be sent down to Springfield.  This lack of any respectable defense men had left the goalies Garon and Mason very vulnerable.  This is going to sound really biased but take a look at Chicago they have Keith and Seabrook anchoring the defense; Chicago brought in two new goalies this year Turco and Crawford, and the Blackhawks are still in the playoff hunt after heavy cap restrictions.  Good defense goes a long way and right now the Jackets just are not getting any.

Another point of the game that I think could really help the Jackets, is getting traffic in front of the goalie.  You can take a million shots on net but if the goalie can see every one he is going to have a better chance of stopping.  My idea would be to send guys like Jared Boll to the front of the net on every offensive set, so you have a better chance of scoring.  The defense need to be encouraged to fire the pucks on net once the traffic is in place and not pass it around until we all fall asleep.  Detroit always has someone in front of the goalie, most of the time interfering with the goalie, but it gets the job done.

The Blue Jackets have a lot of raw talent that is just not shaped well.  For example, Jakub Voracek he has great speed, one of the fastest players in the NHL but he has not hands.  He is always going across the blue line and then coughing up the puck.  If the Jackets could get him to control the puck he could be a very dangerous player.  Matt Calvert, just a rookie but he has already shown flashes of brilliance with a hat trick in his first season.  I think if you move Calvert up to many the 1st or 2nd line next year I think his production could go through the roof.

I really think if they could bring in some solid defense men, they could be a real playoff team next year.  Many games this year the goalies Mason and Garon have been asked to stand on their heads, and they have come through but it just has not been enough.  The Blue Jackets in my opinion, should keep Garon and Mason because they are both sound goalies and are both very talented.   If the Blue Jackets could play better defense many of the games that they are giving up 3 goals would be down to 1 or 2 maybe even shutouts.

Outside of the defense, the Blue Jackets have another glaring problem, and it has nothing to do with the team, it is the fans.  The Blue Jackets fans need to be less accommodating to fans from other teams.  I am serious when the Detroit Red Wongs come to town, it should be as rabid as Ohio Stadium during Michigan week, and on the game of the Michigan game.  This is another reason why the Jackets do not have any real rivals yet, rivalries are started by the fans.  Its not like it costs an arm and leg to go to Jackets games, come people get pissed!

In conclusion, I will continue to attend Blue Jackets games because I love hockey and because they are the hometown team.  I swear though next year, any time the Red Wongs come to Columbus, I will be ruthless, I do not give a damn for the whole state of Michigan, and I mean it.  If you are with me Columbus, I bid you to stand by me, and show them no quarter.  Oh, and one other thing, we need to make it clear to the players, team, water boys, trainers and the front office that it is unacceptable to lose to the St. Louis Blues.  Thank you for your time, and have a good day.

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