Kukla's Korner

The Lorenzi Line

67 To Go, Does Columbus Have a Chance?

After 15 games and a 2-12-1 record can Columbus crawl and then run? People are busy slamming the book on Columbus but I say don’t hold your breath. With the sketchy teams they are behind there lies hope.

25. Calgary 6-7-1 13
26. Carolina 5-7-3 13
27. Anaheim 5-7-3 13
28. Winnipeg 5-8-3 13
29. NY Islanders 4-6-3 11
30. Columbus 2-12-1 5

The Blue Jackets will only meet the Jets and the Flames in the next 10 games but will see Calgary twice. Independently these teams who are only 8 points ahead of the Jackets and will still be struggling while giving headway to Columbus. We’ve seen the Jackets on many three game streaks; in fact last year there was a five game streak totaling in 18 goals. I’m not sure if anyone took note but they were #1 in the conference for a day last season, it only makes perfect sense that the optimistic approach is to hope that this season is just playing backwards.

Now let’s talk skaters. Naturally the favorite on the team is Rick Nash but has he been there this season? Second in points he has 4-8-12 with a -9. Like Mason he’s starting to slip from the playoff berth season in 2009. I don’t even want to look at his points but instead at his goal percentage against his shots. He’s been dropping more than 2% with each season. He went from 15.2% in 2009 to 8.2% so far this season.

Quality shots, do you have them? Has his patience run out and the old mantra of “shots on goal” still resonates in his head? That was an old problem and now it’s killing Columbus. They are outshooting in the majority on their matches this season but haven’t achieved the bar from the previous season. This time last year the Blue Jackets had 41 goals and 38 scored on them in 15 games. We’re looking at 34 goals and 59 against now after the 15th game. Perhaps the problem isn’t between the pipes.

Luckily Vinny Prospal threw his hat in this season to save us from a lackadaisical play of Rick Nash. He’s currently leading the Jackets with 5 goals and 13 points. How does that size up in today’s NHL? Well that isn’t too bad. He’s ranked 47th in goals and 41st in assists, 38th in points. Ricky is 82nd in goals also 41st in assists and 48th in points. These numbers don’t worry me; they’re not lagging too far behind just yet. What worries me in that their plus/minus ranks in the 600ths.

All hail center Derek MacKenzie for the only active Blue Jacket with a plus. He currently has a +4 and is ranked 83rd! Throw this 30 year old center on the first or second lines, I’m sure he has but he looks like the only Jacket who hasn’t buried his head in a pile of pucks yet. The year before he finished +14 and had a 52% faceoff win percentage. Currently he’s the only active player that has a 56% faceoff percentage, with Letestu following him with a 55.5% after just one game.

But what does that matter, we’ve seen that even with a majority of the face-offs won Columbus still can’t bury it.

Well stepping up we have Grant Clitsome on the blue line slapping the biscuit in. He’s 3-5-8 with a -5 and continues to produce. He was one of the only players to score in the 9-2 loss to Philly and continued to tally last night with two goals; one of which was on the power play. The last two years Columbus was trying to get the feel for this 26 year old defenseman and in 42 games he notched 22 points. I’m glad they green lighted this sonofagun, he may very well give us what we need for the years to come in front of, I hope to God not, Steve Mason.

And Steve if you’re reading this please listen to this to keep calm:

Track 6 by Antonio Vivaldi on Grooveshark

Steve Mason at 23 years old impresses the NHL with his being in 1st place; ahead of Jaroslav Halak, Jonas Hiller and even Semyon Varlamov. You are dominating the race to be one of the worst goaltenders in season with 11 losses placing you 1st in losses. You aren’t the only goaltender being leaned on this season. Hit up Carey Price on xbox live and ask him if he minds being started constantly. You’re getting slaughtered but it’s not entirely your fault, this is the NHL after all; the greatest professional ice hockey league in the galaxy. These skaters are just too good right? Their top shelf shots and passes that are made in open ice with no help from your defenseman.

I’m starting to think they want to pop your bottle to piss you off. Or maybe they know something they don’t. Did you tip the guy to fill your water bottle with a Long Island Iced Tea? They could be trying to get you suspended or maybe you’re just asking for it.

Also: you’ve given up 17 goals in three games, way to go champ. (added 5:46pm est)

Steve, honestly start putting more out there than you should like we’ve seen Marty Brodeur do. Go out there and poke check. I’ve seen so many close shots on you that blow by you that make me shout “poke check!”. When these players play you they treat you like you’re at practice when you’re not challenging them. Get in the face of your adversaries and stop being a punk.

Well Scotts I hope you have something planned because it’s not over yet but it most definitely will be for one of you.

Filed in: | The Lorenzi Line | Permalink
  Tags: blue+jackets, clitsome, columbus, hope, mackenzie, mason, nash, prospal


wolverine's avatar

Nick, I love your enthusiasm, but this ship is going down and I think you’re trying to rearrange the deck chairs.  Who cares if the BJ’s move up 5 spots and finish 25th overall instead of 30th.  I say play the youngsters, get what you can for Nash at the trade deadline, and plan on the #1 overall pick in June with a new hockey department.  You can still enjoy this team, but don’t think you’ve got a chance at the playoffs.

Posted by wolverine on 11/11/11 at 07:44 PM ET

Nicholas Lorenzi's avatar

You can still enjoy this team, but don’t think you’ve got a chance at the playoffs

Double dangit, I won’t fold.

Thanks but they’ll finish third in their division. That was hard to type…

Posted by Nicholas Lorenzi on 11/11/11 at 07:46 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

“Thanks but they’ll finish third in their division. That was hard to type”

Wow, that is true fandom right there. Consider the fact that they can’t beat Nashville, EVER, you can’t truly believe that they’ll finish ahead of them at best. I’m all for being faithful to your team and also being optimistic, but I’m also in favor of being realistic.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 11/11/11 at 07:53 PM ET

Nicholas Lorenzi's avatar

Consider the fact that they can’t beat Nashville, EVER, you can’t truly believe that they’ll finish ahead of them at best. I’m all for being faithful to your team and also being optimistic, but I’m also in favor of being realistic.

I am realistic, that’s why it was so hard to type. In this article I talked about the the potential upswing, bashed Nash and Mason but not about how it could get worse; there is no sense in writing about that.

It’ll come, one day it will but remember that Columbus can beat Nashville. We’ve been rivals for quite some time now because you’ve been pretty much the same team forever. When we beat the Predators is anyone’s guess but they always give it to them once and the occasional shootout.

Tides change with the moons of the NHL, team always give it up at some point. Hell Detroit just did and now they’re back. We’ll just hafta see.

Posted by Nicholas Lorenzi on 11/11/11 at 08:50 PM ET


With Wiz and Carter back, the Jackets should be able to score… but with the current coach’s system, and no NHL calibre goalies (with all due respect to Steve Mason), they won’t be able to score enough. So, unless Columbus can find a skilled Head Coach who can turn a room around (Andy Murray on a short-term deal?), and acquire a very good goalie to replace Mason (do they have the cap space, money, assets or stomach to do that though?), this season is not about playoffs, it’s about building a foundation for next season. That means winning, not tanking; smart trades, not a fire-sale. But do Jackets fans have the patience to endure yet another year of ‘jam tomorrow’?

Posted by fcjbencard on 11/11/11 at 09:10 PM ET

Nicholas Lorenzi's avatar

But do Jackets fans have the patience to endure yet another year of ‘jam tomorrow’?

That’s the issue. Every season has been about making that playoffs, giving the team a reason to stay in Columbus. They need it this season and every season after. The building process has been going on since when? 2004? This is a constant scapegoat that I’m tired of using.

Carter should be back tomorrow, it’s really looking that way. Dekanich is healthy and playing in the AHL, let’s hope that works out. If your team went down 2-12-2 would you expect them to play harder every game to stop the bleeding? Your answer defines if you’re a fan or not.

No cap space, thanks for picking up Letestu. Check nhlnumbers.com They aren’t reflecting the Russell trade that was just made so I could be wrong. TURCO TURCO TURCO!!!!

Posted by Nicholas Lorenzi on 11/11/11 at 09:19 PM ET

Nicholas Lorenzi's avatar

I brought that up before the season started wth my buddy

Yea, I did too http://www.kuklaskorner.com/index.php/hockey/comments/taking_on_turco/

You were the first to comment smile

Honestly though, your best bet is to ride it out, trade Nash at the deadline for draft riches and draft Nail Yakupov 1st overall.

I’d hate to see Nash go and he is one of the top goal scorers in the NHL. He may have lost heat right now but he’ll come back. His history going backwards in ranking with goals scored :17th, 14th, 5th, 12th. The No-Trade Clause in his contract might keep him here, unless he’s done too. I’m not too sure if he cares anymore, he’s getting paid, he’s set.

I’m betting that Boll, Dorsette, Brassard and Vermette will be all on the chopping block as they should be. Throw Huselius on there too for good measure. You’ve opened my eyes to Nail Yakupov, I would be more than satisfied with that pick up. He sure isn’t the hatched weak kid we picked up in the past (Filatov). I can also see Sammy Pahlsson packing his bags soon

As far as the cap space Columbus screwed the pooch. With the extension contract of Mike Commodore that they will be paying for till 2015, right around $1.5 mil/year and the $2.2 mil 1 year contract with Radek Martinek. Not that he isn’t playing extremely well but that it was a raise from his previous contract.

Now with less than half a mil in space left the trades are happening, the most recent Russell trade is just the beginning. I just feel bad for Dorsett who makes barely above half a mil; less than Bass, Calvert, Johansen and even newly acquired Letestu.

Posted by Nicholas Lorenzi on 11/12/11 at 01:42 AM ET

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