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Slumping Jackets ‘have to look in the mirror,’ says Richards

Nov 6, 2013, 11:55 AM EDT

Todd Richards AP

The Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t earned a point in 12 days.

Losers of four straight in regulation — their last win came on Oct. 25 against Toronto — the Blue Jackets were visibly frustrated following Tuesday’s 4-1 home defeat to Ottawa, none more so than head coach Todd Richards.

“We all have to look in the mirror, take a good look at our games,” Richards told the Columbus Dispatch. “We have to be better.”

Citing a lack of confidence and mounting frustration, Richards said the Jackets are struggling all over. And for the most part, he’s right — the club has been outscored 15-6 over the last four games and its goals allowed per game average (2.86) is way up from last year’s 2.40.

Which brings us to perhaps the biggest reason for Columbus’ struggles thus far — the play of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

The reigning Vezina winner has been mediocre to start the year, going 4-7-0 with a 2.79 GAA and .910 save percentage. He’s allowed four goals four different times already and has been benched for each of the last two games in favor of backup Curtis McElhinney.

“This is the first year where [Bobrovsky’s] come in as an anointed No. 1 goaltender with huge expectations, and he’s a young player still,” goalie coach Ian Clark told the Dispatch. “It’s a matter of getting acclimatized to the complexion of this marathon season.

“We all know how much work he does off the ice. That’s well-documented. We’re working on finding a good balance between all of that work to ensure that his energy, focus and concentration are hitting a peak for game nights and he’s not expending them elsewhere where it’s not as productive.”

The Jackets will need Bobrovsky to return to form, though, and soon.

Following a two-game home set against the Rangers and Islanders on Nov. 7 and 9, the Jackets head out on a tough road swing that sees them play in Washington, Boston, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto between Nov. 12-25.

  1. 2qswing - Nov 6, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Well you are partly right coach. last night for example:
    Anisimov 20 min toi 2 shots
    Gaborik 20 min toi 2 shots
    Dubinski 20 min toi 0 shots
    Umberger 18 min toi 1 shot (it went in)

    That’s a lot of salary for 5 shots on goal with all that toi. You cant make a living with point shots only.
    Part of it was your fault last night coach. The Dubinski on the wing experiment should be over. He’s been great this year at centre but for the first time he looked lost and ineffective. Bad move. These are the guys who are supposed to create scoring chances AND convert. Johanson has been your best forward all year followed by Atkinson and Dub. Healthy Scratch Anisimov. Hell Sean Collins had 2 shots on goal in only 4 minutes. Shake up the lines …do something. We can talk about Bob all we want but if you are scoring 1 or 2 goals a game, it doesn’t matter.

  2. 97wild - Nov 6, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Richards is one to talk. He was the main problem during his tenure here. Stood behind the bench looking lost.

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