It Could Be Worse: You Could Be A Blue Jackets Fan

by George Marshall

When we look at the bottom of the Eastern Conference Standings there are no surprises. We see Buffalo, then we see Carolina, then we- Wait, What? Columbus! What are you doing here?

That's right, #Lumbus is in the #Basement and is this week's feature for It Could Be Worse.

Let me take you back to that time Colin Greening scored the double OT winner to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Man, we turned on that guy fast.

Speaking of being in the playoffs and losing to the Penguins, the Columbus Blue Jackets did both of those things last year and looked like a promising darkhorse coming into this season. And speaking of Colin Greening, the Blue Jackets also have a colour in their name! Wow!

He will now be known as Colin NavyBlueing... Get it?
Lumbus only made one significant move in the off-season, making a big upgrade in the GRIT department by acquiring Scott Hartnell from the Flyers for RJ Umberger. Jerry D'Amigo was also a key addition except for the fact that he isn't. Heading into the season their roster looked something like this:
  • Vezina winner and celebrated artist Sergei Bob Rossky in net
  • Star Center Ryan Johansen up front. A Tyler Seguin type of player making Milan Michalek type money.
  • When I Googled "Columbus Blue Jackets Star Defenceman" Kris Russel, then Aaron Rome showed up, so I'm guessing their defense is bad.
Coming into the year, I had them at 4th in the Metro but they've spent the past couple weeks losing 9 in a row and find themselves dead last in the Metro instead.

Why Is That?

Well, it definitely has something to do with injuries.

Losing Bobrovsky has been the biggest blow to the Jackets and Curtis McElhinney has not been lights out as his replacement, unless you mean he's turning the lights out on their playoffs aspirations. This has really driven home the benefit of having two capable NHL-ready goaltenders, especially if those two goalies happen to be disguising the crippling defensive problems of everyone else in your lineup as well as the questionable player usage and overall inadequacy that comes with a roster forced to linger near the cap floor because the owner is either trying to prove a point or, more likely, is using the minimal amount of revenue to fund other fruitless ventures like a casino. What was I talking about?

Besides Bobrovsky, the Jackets have lost some other players to injury in the young season. Here's a look at their IR:
  • Nathan Horton - He's considering career-ending surgery due to his back issues which is a really tough situation for the 29 year old.
  • Artem Anisimov - Suffered an upper body injury after being hit by the dirtiest player in the league (At least that's what a Habs fan told me) Erik Gryba.
  • Brandon Dubinsky - Despite being on the IR, he travelled to Washington with the team on Tuesday for a particular reason. Light up the "Doobie"nsky bro.
  • Mark Letestu - Also injured while playing against the Senators.Thus furthering our reputation as talentless thugs.
  • Ryan Murray - He's been on and off the IR due to a knee injury and had to suffer the fate of sitting in the press box while his team lost both games of a back-to-back against Carolina.
  • Cody Goloubef - Who?
With Nick Foligno also missing some time after running into an official and Matt Calvert & Jack Skille both day-to-day, the Jackets have been very banged up this year.

With the Islanders improving their back end and the Capitals performing well under a new system, the Jackets seem like a team that could very well slip out of the playoffs, and with the tough luck on the injury front (especially with Bobrovsky) maybe this shouldn't be as much of a surprise.

What now?

Well, they're too good a team to be in the McDavid sweepstakes by the end of the year, but a losing streak like this has knocked teams out of the playoff picture before. Odds are they end up the worst spot in the league - the dreaded "No Man's Land."

Sidenote: Is it just me or does everyone think it's ridiculous that being 9th or 10th in a conference is somehow worse that finishing last? Why are teams penalized for trying to succeed? Maybe the league should do something about that...

Of course it's way too early to be talking about playoffs now but when the phrase "Only Buffalo has..." is applied to you, you're in trouble. That phrase may have been applied to the Sens a couple times this season but at least our record doesn't show it... yet. It could be worse.
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