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Heads have yet to roll in Columbus

Oct 23, 2011, 5:23 PM EDT

Scott Arniel Getty Images

First the answer to the question every Blue Jackets fan has been asking today. Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports via Twitter that “nobody has been fired.”

That’s the good news for coach Scott Arniel and general manager Scott Howson. However, given their team’s 0-7-1 start to the season, things could be different soon.

Last night in Ottawa, the Jackets sunk to their lowest point yet, surrendering two goals in the last minute to lose, 4-3, to the Senators.

“It’s tough,” said Columbus captain Rick Nash. “It seems like we’re not getting any bounces. It seems like we’re finding ways to lose games instead of finding ways to win games. That’s the difference between good teams and bad teams right now.”

With all due respect to Nash, the difference between the Blue Jackets and good teams is a lot more than a bad bounce or two. Columbus is 25th in goals scored and 29th in goals against. The power play is terrible (26th) and the penalty killing is even worse (30th).

On the bright side, the Jackets are undefeated with James Wisniewski in the line-up, and he’ll be on the ice Tuesday at home versus the Red Wings, his lengthy suspension to start the season now over.

Sitting out the first eight games wasn’t the way Wisniewski wanted to begin his career in Columbus. The 27-year-old puck-moving defenseman signed a six-year, $33-million deal with the club this summer. And while he isn’t quite up there with the handful of elite blue-liners in the NHL, he didn’t get the big contract for nothing. Wisniewski had 51 points in 75 games last season, tied for fifth among all defensemen.

Forward Jeff Carter was the other big name Columbus added to the payroll during the offseason, coming over in a trade with Philadelphia. Carter is currently on injured reserve with a fracture foot, though he’s not expected to miss a significant amount of time with the injury. The 26-year-old has just three assists in five games, not exactly the production the Jackets were hoping for when they gave up a first- and a third-round pick, plus talented young forward Jakub Voráček.

It should also be noted that forward Kristian Huselius (torn pectoral) is out for at least another month. Huselius is a six-time 20-goal scorer in the NHL.

So, no, the Blue Jackets haven’t been able to put their best feet forward over their first eight games. And yes, there’s still time to turn things around.

But they’d better get going soon.

After hosting Detroit on Tuesday, Columbus heads out on a tough two-game road trip to Buffalo and Chicago.

  1. danphipps01 - Oct 23, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    Detroit, Buffalo and Chicago. Best odds I can give them are maybe scraping a win out of the last. Detroit and Buffalo are too good defensively for their flying crapshoot to get anything on. Chicago’s the best chance, and it’s not at all a good one.

  2. icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 23, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Do enough people care? They better start looking at some of the top skaters in the ’12 draft. And they need to find a way to get Mason back on track. Played so well his rookie year. Has been less than mediocre since.

    • danphipps01 - Oct 23, 2011 at 6:38 PM

      In all honesty, I’d go into the draft looking for goalie prospects. Mason’s a career backup who was initially overestimated due to fluke performances.

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 24, 2011 at 1:39 AM

        True. Problem is that goalies are so hard to draft. Maybe Mason is overrated. I’m sure someone who watches him night in and night out would know better.

  3. east96st - Oct 24, 2011 at 9:15 AM

    Mason is not overrated. Pretty much the entire League knew how to beat him from the end of his rookie season on. Once they got a chance to study the film, the flaws were pretty blatant. No one thinks highly of him at all. He’s vulnerable to the wrap-around, glove high, one on ones, and if you get a guy in front of him, he’s basically useless. When Detroit pounded him in the playoffs, it was pretty obvious that any well run team would proceed with caution. Of course, in Columbus, they rushed to sign him to a fat contract extension. It’s a perfect example of what’s really wrong with this team – it’s been poorly run from the very start. The front office are assclowns that routinely get fleeced by players who had one good season and/or are the down swing of their careers. Draft picks? Don’t get me started on a decade of absolute incompetence. Nash was the only homerun they hit. Hell, Nash was the only hit they got at all! Arniel will get fired and nothing will change. Howson will get fired and nothing will change. Because Mike Priest will only go out and hire some one worse. Or he’ll hire a “big name” coach that will decide that the current players don’t fit his “style” of hockey, Columbus will trade away what little talent they have, they will continue to lose because the new coach does not “his players”, the new coach will get fired in two years and the Jackets will be back at square one. You have to understand this a front office that would go broke selling water in the desert. The Jackets NEED 1) a new owner 2) a competent, experienced hockey professional as President and THEN 3) a new GM. Without the first two, the misery will continue. If any city wants this diasater on ice, feel free to make your move. The fans are sick of it – it’s not just the losing, we’re treated like crap by the organization as well! – and the majority of citizens in Columbus don’t want their tax dollars propping up a business that’s run by fools. Year 11 and the common sentiment is don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. It’s a shame because the team itself are mostly good guys. Nash does a lot for the community, so does Umberger and vermette and a couple of others. We LOVE the team. We just can’t tolerate ownership and the front office anymore. Every fan has a limit. The sad thing is if the fans were shown ANY common courtesy, if we were treated like we had SOME value, everyone will probably tolerate this nonsense for another 10 years. But when you’re treated for ten years like they are doing you a FAVOR taking your money? That gets old quick.

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