Not So Fast, Fatty

by

It’s cute when people opine on what they know not. Today’s Puck Daddy suggests that the rumors swirling around Columbus about Ken Hitcock on the hot seats may be squashed now that the Jackets have won three games in a row.

Ken Hitchcock usually does most of the eating around the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the media (us included) may be dining on its words if the team builds on a nice little three-game winning streak.

Indeed, even the General, himself, was glowingly announcing a turn around following the Jacket’s win in Edmonton on Friday.

“The whole season changed with the third goal in Edmonton,” Hitchcock said. “It made a difference on the bench, a difference in the locker room, a difference in the feel. The tension was everywhere. Oh, no, here we go again. Something bad is going to happen. When we (Kristian Huselius) scored the third goal in Edmonton, the whole season changed.”

The 4-2 win ended the Jackets’ woeful losing stretch that saw them win only once in their previous 14 games. It was then followed by wins in Calgary and a shutout on home ice against the Stars. At last, the Jackets and their fans could savor victory. At long last, the fire that led them to win five of the first six games of the season was reignited.

Not quite. Tonight, the Jackets went right back to normal with a 4-1 loss to the Blues in St. Louis. Goalie Matthieu Garon, fresh off of being named an NHL Star of the Week, gave up three goals on nine shots.

"Whaddya mean you're a goal scorer? Lightin' the lamp is for pussies."

A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to stop following the Jackets. This team that had been near and dear to my heart since before the first puck dropped and the Chicago Blackhawks shat upon the inaugural game at Nationwide. Last season, it seemed as if the team had turned a corner with their first playoff berth. But a four game sweep at the hands of the Red Wings knocked us back down to Earth. This was then followed by front office stupidity as the Jackets fired FOX Sports Ohio reporter and Blue Jackets pre-game host Jim Day because he *gasp* dared to use words like “disappointment” in describing Blue Jackets losses and often asked tough questions. So a moderately nifty broadcaster was let go in favor of yes men that blew smoke up fans’ asses. There is also the unresolved issue of the Blue Jackets bleeding money due to their arena lease deal. Rumors that efforts to save the team will be at the expense of Franklin County, Ohio, taxpayers. If it comes to a vote, which it should, then by 2012 we can probably welcome Winnipeg back to the league.

It also doesn’t help that the Jackets play a sluggish, outdated style of Hockey. Emblematic of their coach, the Jackets are a slow, sloppy, soft team. Boasting one of the best players in the league in Rick Nash, a natural scorer, Jackets fans are exposed game after game to defense first Hockey. Which wouldn’t be that bad if the Jackets weren’t one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Third periods often resemble a Marx Brothers comedy re-imagined by Ingmar Bergmen.

As maudlin as it sounds, there is still a chance for the Blue Jackets to salvage this season and return to the playoffs. Unfortunately, they have to do it with a coach that prefers traps and tight checking to goal scoring.

Come to think of it, the Kansas City Jackets doesn’t sound that bad.

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