Kukla's Korner

The Lorenzi Line

Columbus is out of control

I try to make sense of it but still can’t figure out what in tarnation is wrong with this team. The Columbus Blue Jackets are 2-11-1 with five points in 14 games and don’t look to be speeding up. They are putting up the numbers on the ice but not on the scoreboard. The Blue Jacket’s weekly reports:

Columbus leads the NHL in hits with 381 (27.2 per game)… The Blue Jackets have killed off 18-of-21 opponent power plays (85.7 pct.) over the past six games compared to 18-of-28 (64.3 pct.) in its first eight games… The Blue Jackets rank fourth in the NHL in shots-against per game (27.9) but stand 30th in goals-against (3.71)… The club ranks 13th-tied in shots per game (30.0 pct.) but is 26th in scoring (2.21).

What this is telling me is that they’ve become the old school hockey club who murders against the boards, picks fights it ought to not start and takes multiple shots worth dick. It’s nice to know that the penalty kill has gotten better but what’s with the fallout when at even strength? Where’s the team that we once knew to find the man on the blue line during a penalty kill and place it top blocker side? It is difficult to dig up the “team we once knew” line since they’ve only had one decent season.

Am I the only person getting sick of Rick Nash’s failed attempts to deke through the defense? They’re relying on two things so since Carter has been side-lined: Rick Nash and play along the boards after the dump and chase. These are professionals, well most, what’s stopping them from pulling the trunk of their strategy out of the ground and starting over? It really can’t be that hard to emulate a team’s entrance strategy. For Pete’s sake don’t try to run plays out of Arniel’s handbook anymore, it’s not that you’ve been figure out it’s that they are NOT WORKING!!!

It may be a question of confidence or desperation, regardless I remain patient. Columbus, could we start to move the puck into positions where it actually makes sense? Most of your initial shots are coming from 45 feet out and aren’t creating rebounds you so dream of so can we please make an actual play? Mason is counting on you to score and not give up you position. Steve really can’t carry this festering pile of losses on his shoulders alone. When you’re in front of the crease and you see a pass go behind the net please try to get your man on the boards to hound that man down to ensure no Sega Genesis wrap around bullshit goals. Just don’t give up your position! When you chase you’re leaving the crease open enough for a man to skate in there for a one timer and a goal. It has happened an awful amount of times in the past few games. That’s just one scenario but in any scenario you will see Columbus opening up the crease for damn near impossible saves to be made by Mason.

The Flyer’s victory can’t be on your goaltending. When you see Bass in fisticuffs then returning to the bench yelling he’s not yelling at the player or the goaltending, he’s yelling at you and shoving you. The frustration in his face that first period explained full well what the Jacket’s were feeling after being down four in nearly 15 minutes.

This game was a catastrophe and gave the Flyers their first 9 goal game since Feb 6th, 1997. Bryzgalov wasn’t even being tested; he faced 14 shots in 40 minutes. There was seriously nothing productive coming from the Jackets, just a weak pulse. Mason faced 27 shots in 40 minutes…

It wasn’t until the last period that Columbus was skating like they knew how to play the game hockey again. Attempts at something that looked like a forecheck was being made but nothing was happening until an odd man rush created the first Columbus goal but was a little too late. With seven minutes left Columbus was going at it with Bryzgalov as best they could.

8-1 and a puck was traveling along the boards behind Mason’s net, Wiz attempted to stop the puck but awkwardly missed it then bingo-bango the Flyer scored their 9th. With 2:30 left in regulation Grant Clitsome shot one from up high and it was deflected in. Watch Bryz as he throws a fit that he’s been scored on; that is about the only good part of the game besides the three fights, which are not worth mentioning other than that Derek Dorsett got a busted lip.

There were rumors that Columbus would be looking into Hitchcock to take over again after seeing him in the stands. This was the most outrageous thing to hear after seeing him coach this team into the ground. The only reason he had a 92 point season with Columbus was because of Steve Mason’s rookie season. This was the only time Columbus truly had a goaltender. Afterwards he was fired for the third time in his career and was hated in Columbus. His return would have probably killed the spirits of the players and any chance to see the playoffs in the next couple seasons. I stand by that. Luckily the Blues “took Hitchcock out from under the Blue Jackets” when he signed with the Blues recently.

Whatever, we don’t need a new coach. I really don’t see the same players playing any better without their actual roster and a new goaltender. We still haven’t seen the assigned backup, Mark Dekanich, take the crease but I’m still sticking to Turco. Marty Turco is one answer of many that hasn’t been taken advantage of yet. It baffles me that Scott Howson can see his team competing for the playoffs at this point. After a 9-2 loss Steve Mason needs a break and you know that if you put goaltender York back in net against Chicago AGAIN that it will just result in the 12th loss of the season and another embarrassment. Scotty I’m glad to hear from you and your players that you’ll be starting over but damn it’s getting close to the end of the first quarter in this season, shuck and jive baby!

I’ll end with something I’ve been telling myself for the last couple days. The bright side to all of this is that the Blue Jackets are still on their way to breaking on record. In the 1974-1975 season the Washington Capitals set a record by ending their season with 8-67-5. Just like Washington the Blue Jackets defeated the Red Wings once and their records look similar after 14 games; Washington was 1-12-1. Their problem boiled down to goaltending and defense. Hell, are some Columbus skaters bound to go into the -30’s like the former Caps? Only time will tell. Put a band-aid on it Jackets, fix this now or Columbus will regret purchasing the Arena for you.

A thing to note from this game: Jackub Voracek who was dealt to Philly in a trade to acquire the still injured Jeff Carter netted a goal and two assists in the only game he’ll see Columbus this season.

We still miss you Jakub. Thanks for calling that guy out for looking like a miniature Raffi Torres one more time.



Filed in: | The Lorenzi Line | Permalink
  Tags: 1975, blue+jackets, columbus, flyers, hitchcock, philadelphia



Likely has to do with the overpaid defensemen you got in the offseason?
Or maybe the part where you actually don’t have any defense at all?

Posted by ohio22 from ohio on 11/07/11 at 11:02 PM ET

Nicholas Lorenzi's avatar

That’s what I can’t stand, 10% you have a defense and they rock but can’t keep it going into other games….

What do you think could help this team?

Posted by Nicholas Lorenzi on 11/08/11 at 04:06 AM ET


I think it’s build toward next year time.  Trade Dorsett and Kris Russell for a bag of pucks. Bass and Boll can be your enforcer types.  Let John Moore and Savard play with the big boys this year.  According to THN we asked about Bobrovsky.  I’d help the caps or panthers out with their goaltending glut.

Maybe there’s a trade out there with Huselius and some other filler for a 1st or 2nd rounder.  They can use that on the goalie of the future.  I can’t believe this team hasn’t drafted consistently higher on goaltenders.

Posted by VandyBuck on 11/08/11 at 12:37 PM ET


Also, I think Arniel still can be a good coach at this level.  I’d be much more inclined to keep Arniel and fire Howson than vice versa.  Howson has had some enormous blunders, most notably putting all eggs in the Mason basket and relying on two 2 to 4 d-man, and a bunch of 6’s and 7’s.

Posted by VandyBuck on 11/08/11 at 02:41 PM ET

Nicholas Lorenzi's avatar

According to THN we asked about Bobrovsky.

I read that he “isn’t going anywhere” according to their press. We don’t need to pick up a young goaltender. They’ve been trying to find the goaltender to run with for more than a decade. That needs to stop. They aren’t going to find their Osgood so go for a Hasek. I don’t expect this to be fixed until next season at the very latest.

Maybe there’s a trade out there with Huselius and some other filler for a 1st or 2nd rounder.  They can use that on the goalie of the future.  I can’t believe this team hasn’t drafted consistently higher on goaltenders.

As much as it hurts to say I have to agree with you. When he’s healthy he’s one of the best Jackets on the ice but his consistent time spent injured has been killing Columbus. Maybe it’s time to sign him away for some more support in front of Mason. I’d really like to pick up a defenseman that is actually aware of his surroundings.

Carter and Boll might back for Thursday’s game, hopefully we’ll see three straight W’s from Columbus. It only makes sense that they would come back, they haven’t sunk to AHL level yet. As much as Carter seems like the key it actually is Boll. He’s Mr. Forecheck on his line and will create offhanded opportunities for Columbus.

As for Arniel I also don’t think he’s going anywhere. Let’s stick with this coach. Last year he took Columbus to their second highest season finisher with 81 points. He’s capable of the playoffs when things start clicking. It’s going to take a miracle and if they do make it then the story will be hailed as the best comeback this season.

Howson has been at fault this entire time. All through the summer I was blasting him for starting Mason all season with an inexperienced back-up (that has been injured all season). I recently talked to a guy who works for the Jackets about Scott and he told me that he was calm under the weight of a loss while old Dougie would be throwing chairs and cursing. He said you could see Scott calculating and constantly thinking about what was going on.

As wise as that sounds I give him until the end of next season.

Posted by Nicholas Lorenzi on 11/08/11 at 05:21 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Columbus has never ever learned that you draft and build from the defense out.

Instead they have blown early pick after early pick on forwards (many of which completely flamed out) and in the meantime have continued to ice an AHL-caliber defense.  It’s like they drafted Klesla, saw him, then decided they’d never, ever draft a d-man high again for some odd reason.  They didn’t hit the grand slam, so instead of taking another swing they took their ball and went home.

They passed on Cam Fowler in 2010 (Ryan Johansen).  They passed on Tyler Myers (!!), Erik Karlsson, Michael del Zotto, and John Carlson in 2008 (Nikita Filatov).  In 2005 they passed on Marc Staal, Jakub Kindl, and ME Vlasic (Gilbert Brule).  It’s an absolute comedy of errors.

Columbus is by far one of the worst drafting teams of recent memory, only eclipsed probably by Edmonton until just a few years ago when obvious #1 overalls began finally falling in their laps.

Do the Jackets score enough goals?  No.  But it’s not about finishers, it’s about not even having the puck in the first place, which has completely eluded the CBS management.  And then once you get it in your own zone, you have to move it out.

You can fire Arniel I suppose, but there isn’t a coach out there you can bring in that will fix it.  Because it’s a problem with lack of defensive talent/ability.  And honestly, there isn’t a goalie out there that’s going to help either.  It’s not like Dipietro/Nabokov or Clemmenson/Theodore can come in and “fix” things, just as examples.

At this stage, the damage is done and honestly, it’s probably time to just blow up and start over from scratch.  And spend 3 or 4 years drafting, and then another few years developing those guys.  You know, like they should have done 10 years ago.

Unfortunately that also means the Jackets won’t be in Columbus much longer.  SO you’ll probably just building the future Nordiques into a powerhouse much like the original Nords built the Avs.

Posted by Primis on 11/09/11 at 01:54 AM ET

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