In a start, to an already frustrating season, the 5th Line didn’t hold back at Nationwide Arena letting the players and coaches hear it. Boos started raining down during the second period of the game, and you didn’t need to be there to notice, as the Coyotes went up 4-0, and the Blue Jackets missed on some key opportunities.
When fans are this frustrated and upset there is always someone or something to blame for this reaction, in this case, there are many areas of improvement that they need to figure out. There are 4 main things that stood out as CBJ went down despite leading the entire game in shots, hits, and faceoff wins.
Going into the season I thought the goaltending was in a pretty good situation, look I mean we have Elvis Merzlikins coming back from injury and he has proved himself in the past to be a starting NHL goalie, but from what we’ve seen this season that hasn’t been necessarily the case as he has let up 18 goals in 4 start and has a save percentage of 86.3% which doesn’t rank him in the top 50 goalies this season. Daniil Tarasov looked promising against the New York Rangers, but is far from ready in being a starting NHL goalie letting up 14 goals in 4 games played with an 88.8% save percentage.
There is still a CBJ goalie that has yet to play this season battling an injury, Joonas Korpisalo can really prove himself coming into a pretty shaky situation and solidify himself as a starting goalie despite being written off last season.
Woof… this has been a tough start for CBJ on the power play and it doesn’t look like much is changing. With Johnny Gaudreau and Patty Laine on the same line they should be unstoppable, and be AT LEAST top 5 in the NHL. Instead, they are 0 for 20 in power play opportunities, and it’s not looking any better with the dump and chase strategy. Look, I’m not by any means a hockey coach but sticking to such a poor strategy when you have some of the best playmakers in the league on your team, doesn’t make any sense and whoever is running this pathetic unit should just give up the reins.
I’m not going to lie I thought the Blue Jackets were going to have a sneaky great defensive year. Having names like Werenski, and Gudbranson leading with all of the experience they have gained throughout the years, and try to mold the young guys and teach them what it means to be an NHL defenseman. It’s just not panning out, and they look scared to go in and play.
I’ve been hesitant to say they need to trade some picks or prospects to get some anchors on defense, but now just pull the trigger and get some new names in there. Giving up an average of 4 goals a game just won’t get you to where you want to go in this league.
From the moment Brad Larsen was announced to be the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets I knew it wasn’t the right move. He didn’t succeed under Torts with his poor power play, then he was removed from that unit and got put in charge of penalty kill which he also did poorly. He seems like a good players coach and can really hold together a locker room, unlike Torts, but he just doesn’t have that winning mentality or strategies that work.
In just his second-year fans are calling for Larsen to be terminated, but is the time to do it now? I’m not in the front office so I can’t tell you, but there are some intriguing names of free-agent head coaches that include Barry Trotz, Claude Julien, and Rick Tocchet.
On the Bright Side
- The season is still young, there is plenty of time left
- Rookie Kent Johnson is on a 3 game-goal streak
- David Jiricek got called up from Cleveland after posting 0-4-4
- Laine is back
- Gaudreau hasn’t skipped a beat from last year