The CBJ are 23 games into the season and already the season appears over. This brings back memories of seasons past where by December 1 they were playing for draft position. With a record of 6-15-2 no one expected this type of futility. To be fair, there have been many nights the Jackets were playing with essentially a minor league roster. At one point not too long ago they had 9 key members out because of injury all at the same time. It’s a dirty list because of who is or was out. Artem Anisimov, Bobrovsky, Dubinsky, Goloubef, Jenner, Letestu, Murray, Skille and Tyutin. A world class goalie and former Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky. That would be like the Patriots replacing Tom Brady with Robert Griffin III.
Not included on this list is the 29 year old wasteland otherwise known as Nathan Horton. He’s played 36 games since coming to Columbus. He has a degenerative back injury of the lumbar region. This is an injury that an average person can have surgically repaired, but surgery would most likely end his career. There was nothing Horton could have done to prevent this. It’s a sad story that a guy could lose his career, but he’ll still collect that big payday.
Injuries aside, this team has looked mildly interested in the past month. It took 2 years to be known as an aggressive team with a fierce competitive spirit. They seemingly shed the lovable losers stigma. It’s a team that after the 2-1 loss Saturday night in Nashville has lost 14 of 16. A lot of those haven’t been close games. Most coaches would be canned after that stretch, but Todd Richards still has 2 years left on his contract and would it be wise to fire him? Only John Davidson and Jarmo Kekalainen know that answer, but I think Richards gets a pass this year.
A positive from all of this is that Brandon Dubinsky appears nearing return, even possibly on Monday against Florida. He is the heart of this team and I would guess he’s disgusted by the lack of compete thus far. He probably won’t make a big difference in the outcome of the season, but it’s a pretty good bet he will demand more in the locker room and ruffle some feathers in the process. There are 59 games left in the season and the Jackets would most likely need to win 40 of those to even sniff the playoffs. That’s a very unlikely outcome but regaining the identity of this team is essential to keep that losing atmosphere from seeping back into the psyche of this franchise.
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