Written by: Matthew Ruskan (@MRuskun)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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I don’t know what I said in the past month or so that really made the Columbus Blue Jackets angry, but wow they must have been reading this column and decided enough is enough.
What I can say for sure is that the Blue Jackets are playing solid hockey, which is much more important for a team with this much youth than playing explosive or fantastic hockey. Solid means that this team is playing fundamentally sound, and that is very good for a team like the Jackets.
Consider this; over the past ten games, the Jackets have gone 7-3. This past week the record is at an impressive 3-0 with wins over the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames, 4-3, 6-2, 3-2 respectively. All on the road too, which is very impressive.
Quite frankly, we are seeing what the Jackets could have been this year had injury not taken its toll, and this is not to make excuses. Every team has to deal with injury (just ask the New York Rangers with star netminder Henrik Lundqvist), and the ones that are the most successful are the ones where players step up, as Cam Talbot has done for the Rangers.
The Jackets just received that step up a little too late in the game, but it still bodes well for next season. Goalie Bob is also starting to look like his old self, and if he can get there, this will be one heck of a hockey team next season.
On the docket for the Jackets this week is a challenging set of games, all against western conference frontrunners. It starts off Tuesday in Columbus against the Anaheim Ducks, who will be quite angry after taking a 7-2 beating at the hands of the aforementioned Rangers. Then the Jackets travel to the Windy City on Friday to play the Chicago Blackhawks, followed on Saturday by a trip to St. Louis to play the Blues.
If the Jackets really want to show that they should be considered contenders next season, these are a set of games to do it in. All three teams are locks for the playoffs and boast high caliber squads. But the Jackets look really good recently, so I am looking forward to these games.
In other news, Boone Jenner has been activated off of injured reserve. It will be interesting to see how the Jackets handle having Jenner back, but I would suspect they play it carefully so that Jenner is ready for next season and does not risk another injury.