Columbus Blue Jackets 3rd Qtr Report Card

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During the past two seasons, I assessed how the Columbus Blue Jackets performed as a team at the first quarter of the season. Sadly, as the Blue Jackets’ performance plummeted during the remaining three quarters of last season, and as the Blue Jackets nearly repeated that ignominious feat during the second quarter of this season, I honestly didn’t think I’d have the opportunity to assess their performance for the third quarter of this season.

But, boy was I wrong!

By Ed Cmar

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Is Columbus Blue Jackets Recent Surge too Little, too Late?

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Just when it appeared that the Columbus Blue Jackets were headed for a repeat of their late November-late January swoon (a 6-14-3 run which was eerily similar to their 3-14-7 debacle during the same period last season) they have rebounded with a stirring 10-3-3 run which has put them right in the thick of the Stanley Cup playoff race. While the Blue Jackets are four points away from the eighth seed, they have some games in hand to those teams who are currently ahead of them in the NHL Western Conference standings.

Coupled with the NHL trade deadline which is merely four days away, it begs the question: Is the Blue Jackets recent successful run a good thing or a bad thing?

Before you question my sanity (don’t worry, it’s been done before) let me explain why this somewhat crazy notion may have some merit.

By Ed Cmar

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Did the Columbus Blue Jackets Lose Their Opporunity?

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Given the Columbus Blue Jackets ignominious descent toward the bottom of the Western Conference rankings—the sad reality of a recent 6-14-3 free-fall, the second in as many years following a stellar start—Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson has been actively burning cell phones around the NHL in an attempt to salvage yet another disappointing season.

While you would struggle to determine where to start in fixing this team, its most glaring need is the lack of offensively-minded defensemen, those adept at puck movement through all of the zones, quarterbacking the team’s power play and having a slap shot capable of both getting to the net and creating the opportunity for the Blue Jackets’ forwards to crowd the areas around the opposing team’s goal.

By Ed Cmar

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Columbus Blue Jackets 2nd QTR Report Card

Earlier in the season, I provided a first quarter assessment of the Columbus Blue Jackets. That was a quite easy task as the Blue Jackets stormed out of the gate to a franchise best 14-6-0 record.

But ever since the Jackets’ historic start, they have gone 6-11-3 through the next 20 games and have fallen to 13th in the Western Conference

I tried to be optimistic that a repeat of last season’s debacle under former head coach Ken Hitchock wouldn’t happen again, but I’m sad to report that while not a free-fall to that level, the Blue Jackets have once again struggled into the halfway point of their regular season under current head coach Scott Arniel.

In a manner similar to last quarter’s assessment, I offer my insights both for the season, to date, as well as how the Blue Jackets have fared during their most recent 20 games of the season (Games 21-40). And while their overall mark is better than at this time last season, the ghosts of late-November’s, December’s and early January’s have resurfaced once again.

By Ed Cmar

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Columbus Blue Jackets Unfortunately Reverting Back to Familiar Form

Grading Blue Jackets Coach Scott Arniel

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During the offseason, Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson, after being informed that his leading head coaching candidate, Guy Boucher, turned down his offer to coach the Blue Jackets (Boucher took the Tampa Bay Lightning head coaching position, instead) offered the position to Scott Arniel, previously an assistant to Lindy Ruff with the Buffalo Sabres and the head coach of the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Many in Columbus viewed the offer rejection as a snub and a slap in the face to the state of the organization and perception of Columbus in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Further, it was believed that Arniel might have been a case of settling for second best.

Well, although at only 19 games into the season and while Boucher is doing a fine job in coaching the Lightning, it’s looking more and more like the Arniel selection was the right choice, after all.

By Ed Cmar

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Columbus Blue Jackets 1st Qtr. Report Card

columbus blue jackets

At this time last season, the Blue Jackets were beginning to show chinks in their competitive armor, even while bolting out to a 12-6-2 record.

What followed after that was a free fall of epic proportions: A dizzying 3-14-7 debacle, one which lead to the firing of their head coach, Ken Hitchcock, and the team finishing 14th out of 15 teams in the NHL’s Western Conference.

And although it’s very early to determine their fate for the rest of the season, it’s pretty safe to say that, barring a major injury or two, the 2010-2011 Blue Jackets are a much improved team.

With that, I’d like to offer my view of how things have gone so far for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

By Ed Cmar

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