The injuries that are depleting your lineup (which is a serious problem the Jackets have) is one thing, and playing fundamentally bad hockey is another. But the Blue Jackets are playing worse than fundamentally bad hockey. Two straight losses to the woefully bad, but albeit hot at the moment, Carolina Hurricanes, followed by a 7-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning is horrendous. There were four first period goals given up against Tampa. FOUR. That is like giving up 35 first half points *cough* Chicago Bears *cough*!
How to get better? It really is simple, get back to playing fundamentally sound hockey. When the puck is on your stick, lift your head up, start skating and find the open man or a lane to the net. In the defensive zone, clear the puck quickly using the boards, nothing up the middle, and finally, STOP TAKING PENALTIES! Forty-one penalty minutes in three games is not going to get the job done. Ever.
The good news is that Boone Jenner looked good in his return to the starting lineup with 15 hits in three games and James Wisniewski is back on the D-line, which was desperately missing his experience.
The Jackets have a tough stretch of games at Washington, at Philadelphia and home versus San Jose. I do not see them taking much from these games, but the ability is there to at least get one, maybe even three points.
Other CBJ News & Notes
● Still no Goalie Bob, but it should be soon. Same with Brandon Dubinsky. Both are sorely missed and I’m honestly not sure who is more needed, but I’m gonna say Dubinsky and stability up the middle.
● Matt Calvert is listed as day-to-day.
● Scott Hartnell is coming to life with back-to-back two goal games. He needs to get going if this team wants to succeed even with the lineup healthy. Good sign.
● Ryan Johansen has a point in 12 of 14 games this year...looks like I was wrong about a slump to start resulting from missing the preseason.