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Coming soon to Columbus: The trap

Nov 9, 2011, 10:13 AM EDT

Scott Arniel Getty Images

You had to think that with Columbus’ 2-11-1 start and after getting blown out by Philadelphia 9-2 on Saturday night that changes were coming. Instead of firing the GM or the coach, Scott Arniel is going to do something even more drastic behind the bench. Instead of the Jackets bringing back one old friend in Ken Hitchcock, they’ll bring back another one in the form of good old defensive minded hockey.

They’re bringing back the trap.

Shawn Mitchell of Puck Rakers gets the word from Arniel that rather than be a free skating, run-and-gun team the Jackets are going to dial things back a lot.

“It isn’t a gigantic, major overhaul,” Arniel said. “But we have gone back and put a lot of emphasis on the guys without the puck, on clogging the center of the ice.”

Clogging the center of the ice? This sounds a little bit like the 90s and 2000s with the trap, dead-puck era and for fans that are already getting tortured by bad hockey, now they’ll get bad hockey and the trap.

Arniel tips his hand in explaining why he’s making the change.

“Prior to (now) we probably were playing a high-risk game,” Arniel said. “Ultimately it’s the way I’ve coached and played. It’s the most exciting hockey. Players love to play that style. Coaches love to coach that style. But it’s also one that can give you fits when you don’t have good goaltending or you don’t have the defense that can sustain that.”

That’s right Jackets fans, you want someone to blame for having to watching boring hockey you can blame Steve Mason. In truth, this is a move that should help out Mason in a big way. After all, Mason had his best success when Hitchcock and his defense-first philosophy ran the show there.

If it doesn’t help Mason, however, the only answer left might be a full-on housecleaning.

  1. sknut - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    Shouldn’t he have seen his personnel especially in goal and played this way from the start to help the whole team out and not just coach to what he wants to do?

  2. cbjfan75 - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    No, because he was hired to coach a team because of his coaching history, not to take a group and change his style to fit theirs.

  3. paulsdamnblog - Nov 9, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    I don’t know, it sounds like the Blue Jackets are grasping at straws with this idea. They may be better off with wholesale changes, not just changes in philosophy. Start with the coach, gm and goalie and go from there. The only player I’d label as safe would have to be Rick Nash. No way to trade Wisenewski, that contract is just absurd, so he stays. Can’t really trade Carter either, because of what they gave up to get him.

  4. govtminion - Nov 9, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    I’m sure this is just the news that will start putting butts in seats at Jackets games. “Come see your Columbus Blue Jackets play soul-crushingly boring hockey for sixty minutes- and still lose! Good seats are still available as always!”

    • danphipps01 - Nov 9, 2011 at 2:49 PM

      Bahahaha, well-said.

    • contraryguy - Nov 9, 2011 at 7:17 PM

      even sadder, I can read that post and hear it in Jeff Rimer’s voice.

  5. east96st - Nov 10, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    With the exit to Nationwide blocked from construction on 670 and work being done on 315, you now can sit in a traffic jam and THEN get to watch terrible hockey. Even in Columbus, there’s a 100 better ways to spend your night. On the upside, Disney on Ice is coming to town, so it will maybe the Jackets can pick up a solid skater on the cheap.

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