As Hitchcock thrillers go, the 2009-10 Columbus Blue Jackets season is an epic fail. The script looked good and after viewing the early rushes everyone felt good about it.
However, as with any full-length production, one piece of the puzzle can bog everything down and impact performances. We’re left with an unsatisfactory final product and that is bad for box office.
Rumor has it Ken Hitchcock is on thin ice as head coach in Columbus. The problem appears to be goaltending, which despite being plentiful these days is still a very costly position if you make a mistake in the casting process. Steve Mason was up for an award from the Academy one year ago (and won), but this season it’s been a steady diet of rotten tomatoes from the reviewers.
One thing the cap has done to teams is force them to burn off dollars each season with an eye to addressing need at or near the deadline. What that does is put clubs like Columbus (and Edmonton) under immense pressure if they need to address needs earlier. I can’t imagine the asking price for Martin Biron (or another veteran) at the deadline, but they don’t seem to be available at this time.
I think the best available evidence of this is the Columbus Blue Jackets. Aggressive, intelligent General Manager with pressure on himself and his coach, and he’s not addressing goaltending. Howson has made moves (dealt Chimera for help not long ago) but the goaltending remains Mason, Garon and pray for rain.
The Oilers picked up a pity point the other night against the Jets, but they’re still looking good for the lottery:
- Carolina 29 points in 41 games
- Edmonton 37 points in 43 games
- Columbus 39 points in 44 games
- Toronto 39 points in 44 games
- St Louis 41 points in 42 games
- Anaheim 41 points in 43 games
This is an important time of the season. Should the Oilers go on another ill-timed 5 games winning streak, all that hard work over the last three weeks will have gone for naught. It’s extremely important to stay the course, break down any confidence the goalie might have, run with 5 defensemen when possible, identify forwards who are scoring and poke them in the eye.
That sort of thing. We’re tracking destiny here people. The Oilers need an idol for the masses, and this is the time. Get that mannish boy, and the glory that is the new Coliseum will follow.
Insert crazy laugh and maniacal music now, and scene.