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"CARRY THE FLAG"
Columbus, OH • United States • 25 Years Old • Male

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Posted 10:04 PM ET | Comments 4
The past week has not been the best for the Blue Jackets. The embarrassment at home to Minnesota, the frustrating loss in OT to the Capitals, the back-to-back solid road efforts in Phoenix and San Joseā€¦the list goes on. The latest in a string of futility was the shootout loss at home to the league-worst Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.

Effort being a common denominator these days in the NHL, there was nothing common about the Blue Jackets' effort. Facing a goaltender with a sub-.900 save percentage in the minor leagues, they managed to pot two goals and only one in the shootout. Their shots were not of legitimate quality, nor was their normally exceptional forecheck up to par.

Pascal Leclaire, on the other hand, had to get into the game quickly. The Kings scored under a minute into the game, and after that, one had to wonder if the Blue Jackets would ever recover. Fortunately, they did for a brief stretch. Following their stretch of rebirth, they went right back into solitude.

It's a clear-cut need for the Blue Jackets: scoring. Coach Ken Hitchcock said as much during his post-game news conference Sunday night. The team works harder and harder every night, yet they arrive at two goals. Usually, when this team scores three goals, they're pretty tough to beat. Since the All-Star Break...

1/29 vs. PHX-- 2 goals

1/31 at NSH -- 2 goals

2/2 vs. MIN -- 1 goal

2/5 vs. WSH -- 3 goals

2/7 at PHX -- 2 goals

2/8 at SJ -- 1 goal

2/10 vs. LA -- 2 goals

They've won once since the All-Star break. 1-4-2, a very humbling pace. They will have to win at least 15 of their remaining 24 games to get to 91 points, which may not be enough to squeak into the playoffs in the Western Conference.

This team needs a goal scorer, and they need it quick. The anemic offense is placing a serious burden on the goaltenders and the defense. It has to be in the back of their minds -- one breakdown, and they will likely lose the game.

On a much more serious note, Blue Jackets radio play-by-play guy George Matthews has left the team to deal with family issues back home. The few times I've spoken to Matthews, he's been a great guy and more than happy to talk with me and teach me about the business. George, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. We hope for a safe and healthy return to the booth, we will sorely miss you in the coming weeks.

There's nothing like "return to sender...what a tender!" to take the sting away from a loss.

I will be on HockeyBuzz's "Fire the Cannon" podcast tomorrow night at 6 pm, one hour before the Blue Jackets face the Chicago Blackhawks. Email me questions, or call the show at (724) 444-7444, call ID #11419.



--Rob Mixer
[email]rm234405@ohio.edu[/email]
Filed Under:   capitals   sharks   coyotes   blue jackets   wild  
February 12, 2008 10:38 PM ET | Delete
We have to come to terms with being sellers. It's the best option for the long-term health of the organization. Plus, there's no way in hell this team is winning 15 of the last 24 games, let's just be honest with ourselves here.
February 13, 2008 8:36 AM ET | Delete
Your exactly right, but again with slow handed Howson in the GM spot don't look for a scoring answer. I also know that the organization thinks getting Modin healthy and back on the ice could be their answer. 15 out of 24 is pie in the sky thinking and we are now officially sellers.My thoughts also go out to George Matthews. By far the best play by play guy in hockey. How we ever got him here is beyond me. Let's hope we can hear more "Rick Nash buried the Stash!" or "Holy Moly What a Goalie!" Return soon George!
February 13, 2008 1:37 PM ET | Delete
Stand in line, I think everyone's looking to add scoring right now. I was optimistic for the Jackets this season but it seems discipline is a problem with the team. Yall are still in a pretty good position for the future though.
February 13, 2008 2:27 PM ET | Delete
the games following the All Star break have gone a long way in putting some separation in the standings. It looks like the Jackets will be sellers this year...truth be told I would love for the standings to look like they did 20 games in this year with 4 of the 5 Central teams in the playoffs. That would be awesome. If Fedorov can get back healthy he is as good as gone. I would think Peca, Vborny and Foote would be getting interest from teams as well.
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