directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Time to panic

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Time to panic

I'm not even going to get into a deep anylysis with a game review from last night because at this point I don't think anyone really gives a damn.

The bottom line is that the kids continue to play well while most of the vets, save Jason Chimera, continue to either 1. get injured 2. no show or 3. commit horrible game changing plays that the rookies aren't even making.

If 3-6 isn't bad enough where would this team be without Voracek, Brassard, Dorsett, Murray (young old guy), Russell and Methot?

Its time the fingers start getting pointed at the real problems on this team and it all starts and ends with the veterans who just aren't getting their jobs done.

Its time to panic down at Nationwide? You be the judge:

In 2000 this team started 1-7-1 and finished with 71 points.
In 2001 this team started 1-4-4 and finished with 57 points.
In 2002 this team started 3-5-1 and finished with 69 points.
In 2003 this team started 3-6 and finished with 62 points.
In 2004 season was cancelled due to lockout.
In 2005 this team started 2-8 and finished with 74 points.
In 2006 this team started 3-5-1 and finished with 73 points.
In 2007 this team started 5-3-1 and finished with 80 points.
In 2008 this team started 3-6 and finished with ?

Of course its been well published that there are no playoffs years in that mix.

There is one decent start in there and that ended up with just an 80 point record which was good for 4th in the Central and 13th in the conference.

The Jackets are DEAD LAST right now in the conference and are the 3rd worst team in the entire NHL with a game at hand on the bottom two.

Is it time to panic?

Even if they won last night if you draw a crowd of only 10k on any night in a major league sport then you better panic.

At this point can anyone down at Nationwide look themselves in the mirror and blame fans for not showing up? This is year 8 on the ice and this team is still going nowhere. They've changed coaches, players, management, scouts.... they've made trades, signed UFAs, shook up lineups... its all turned over but it all still looks the same.

Honestly I'm out of ideas and I'm sure Hitch and Howson are probably banging their heads on the wall right now in disgust but that doesn't make it any better for fans in a tough economy to continue to come and support this team.

I'm done with excuses as well.

I don't care that the World Series or the NFL was on.
I don't care that players are injured.
I don't care that its only 9 games into the season.
I don't care that there are new faces and that chemistry is an issue.

Its all BS and we've heard it time and time again. Every team deals with those same issues and fights their way through them. This team can't get out of its own way or catch any breaks.

To this regime's credit you don't hear the spin which is refreshing. They won't give up and they know this is a critical year and this certainly isn't the start they were anticipating.

I really want to blow some smoke and say this season can still be a successful one...and maybe it can, maybe we'll all look back at this post in a few months and say what an idiot for flipping out so soon. If only we could get that lucky.

I was as optimistic about this team's chances this year as anyone but even I am having some big time doubts right now and for the first time, I'm very worried about this franchise's future in this city.

Is it time to panic? You bet it is.

Fire away - time to panic?



June said...

The Russian press is reporting that Filatov has been sent back to Syracuse, hopefully with the assurance that he will not be jerked around again.

LTL said...

Thanks for the update June. Its about damn time they got him back down there. At least they are winning and he can contribute and develop.


Mattlund said...

I'm very worried.

The only thing I can pull out of my bag of tricks is hoping Jake and Brass continue to rip it up every night and market the HELL out of these kids like Chicago did with Kane and Toews.

Different markets, different traditions, etc. for sure...but maybe it can work?

I mean, that's all I got.

I see Brass breaking his stick. He wants it. Hitch praises his work ethic a lot. He wants it. He's got the right attitude. The anti-first-8-years-of-CBJ Attitude.

Jake seems to be more reserved, but he plays with just as much fire as anybody as far as I can tell.

I'm tired of defending Nash. I'm tired of making excuses for him.

Make these kids the new face of the franchise.

puckeye said...

"I'm done with excuses as well"

well said...

I will add that I am done defending H&H to the majority of friends asking for a fair assesment of where the team is. The national pundits are being proved correct.

Hitch finding any value in keeping 97 & 51 together is criminal.

Game is 60 minutes, time to stop begging for respect and prove it on the ice.

JN said...

All I can contribute is being a fan.

That's all I have.

I can't fix it. Couldn't if I knew how!

I like hockey. I like the Jackets. It's like having your hands tied, because there is nothing I can do but be a fan.

You can't bench me, trade me, fine me, put me in the box, put me on waivers, send me down, bring me up, demote me, promote me, high stick me or crash me into the boards.

You can't offer me a bonus if we start winning. I'll never be the first star of a game. I'll never get a hatty, an empty-netter, a one-knee-slide-with-a-fist-pump or an interview with Jim Day.

All I can contribute is being fan.

How hard is that?

I can, however, walk away at anytime.

I am not a quitter.

Anonymous said...

I have to say you sound just like me last night. The despair i feel at this point is worse than ANY of the previous seasons. I was not happy with the deals that were done at the draft or free agent time (except Filatov) and its all playing out now. This team is weak. I don't know what it is, but from the day they traded Shelley this has been a ragtag bunch. Now I know enough to know trading Shelley has NOTHING to do with what has gone on, but holy crap how can we be this bad? Getting Torres in the lineup ain't gonna change things either. Sending Filatov and russell to the minors does not "shake up the vets" they just keep collecting big checks and playing 40 minutes. The other 20 minutes are spent in the box.
Several of my daughters teamates rushed from hockey practice to the game last night. They were among the few. The passes those mites do are better than the CBJ. The crowds are gone--they are not coming back until this team wins. I'm not paying lower bowl dollars for that level of commitment. And thats the problem...the players are not committed to win. I'm at the point where I might need to walk away for a couple months and find something else to do. This has made me sick.

Todd G said...

As I watched the game last night I was completely prepared for the meltdown and not the least bit surprised when it happened. I wasn't mad or frustrated and had no trouble falling asleep afterwards.

I have come to accept this as just another day as a Jackets fan. That's extremely sad....

mike said...

I went to the game last night and sat directly behind the Ducks bench. They have no respect for us at all. No one does. Some of you say that our guys don't want it. I think that is horse shit. They want it. You can see it in their eyes. They just can't catch a break right now. Believe me, I used to be just like everyone else, but these guys WANT to win. They fight their asses off (most of them) and then the other team scores and then they get their heads down and panic. They just need to relax and score goals. Nash right now is not the leader that he needs to be, Brassard is. This kid has a fire in him that shows he is a winner. He HATES to lose, it kills him. Watch out for these guys because sooner or later Hitch will wake up and realize what he has here. Give the rooks a chance to turn this team around.

GoodVybes said...

I hate to say it. I really do. But, I think it might be time to put 61 on the trade block. (Its been done to every other team captain)

He says the right things, even today's Dispatch had a great quote on how the team has to do better. What I don't see is any Leadership. Nash is too nice, he is not going to kick butt and take names.

tom said...

Suggestions to fix it...

1. Modin must go. When's the last time he scored anyways? He had one shift that made a difference this year. One shift.

2. Enough of Klesla. That experiment has failed. He's not in position often and he's slow. He needs a fresh start somewhere else. He has trade value. Get something for him now. Russell serves the team better.

3. Play Filatov now. Real minutes not just a couple shifts. Give him play makers on his line, not lazy veterans. He's ready now, certainly as ready as Toews, Stamkos, Crosby, and all the other young guns. Put him Brass and Jake on the same line occassionally, THIS IS THE FUTURE.

4. Get Nash a center at all costs. Give up all 2009 draft picks, Klesla, Modin, whoever, if necessary...we have plenty of young talent developing. We need Joe Thornton or the like.

5. Get a LEADER on the blue line. You may not like Foote now but he brought moxie to the D. I'm thinking Commodore does not have the ability to back up the attitude which leaves him incredulous and uninspiring.

6. Take a tough pill and stop playing soft. I was not at last night's game but watching the Rangers skate all over them on Friday made my stomach turn. We were out hit, out hustled, out shot, and out scored. Hell, Zherdev even blasted Commodore to the boards. Puss.

7. Pazzy and Modin, again? Really?

tom said...

Trade Nash? That is beyond dumb. What would you trade him for...prospects? Another stud that has no support? Or two mediocre veterans?

HELL NO...if Nash goes, so do I.

Scott S said...

I completely agree with Mike. These guys want it. There's no question about that. I'm going to say it straight up, this IS NOT time to panic. What the team needs is CONFIDENCE. They need to stop hanging their heads when the other team scores. This kind of fan support does not help. 10 K in attendance! And half those fans were booing the Jackets after the second and third goals were scored! I understand its hard to keep hope, but at least support them. When the Jackets are down one goal with 3 minutes to go is when all the fans should be cheering the loudest, not booing. I know you're fed up and tired and sick of this BS, but booing isn't the way to help change it. This isn't like last year or any other past year. In the past it wasn't the veterans not stepping up it was the young guys. All the scoring came from the old veterans (Peca, Chimera, Malhotra, Federov) They know how to step up and they will soon.Whats important is we have the future stepping up right now which only bodes well for the rest of the year. Brassard, Voracek, Murray, Novotny, Dorsett, and Boll are all showing they are ready to win. Hitch will Motivate the veterans and they will step it up. There's only one position where the veterans have NOT stepped it up for at least 50-55 minutes during the game and thats at goal. When the cards are down and we're hemmed in, we have to be able to depend on our goalie to make the big saves and not make mistakes, whether he's the starter or the back up. We have not seen it from Norrena and he's the reason we lost last night. Giguere beat Norrena was the story last night, not veterans being lazy and/or not showing up to play.

Wally said...

If the Jackets go on a multi-game win streak, you'll all be singing a different tune. Last night should have been a win & the two prior are questionable. What a difference 3 games could have made right now... instead, everyone's ready to close up shop, ship off our best guys, rebuild or fire Hitch/Howsen.

This is silly.

I mean, we have what we have... I feel like I've seen vast improvement since the season started. 3rd period panic/havoc & the chaotic breakdowns we've become accustomed to are getting a little more rare. I've said it before and I'll say it again, they need confidence to win.

And they need those losses burned into their memories... that's the fire. Instead, you've got Nash or Commie saying "we're over it"... Don't get over it... it's that acceptance and complacency that makes the CBJ losers.

GoodVybes said...

Tom - I understand your feelings and I don't want to see it happen as many fans will abandon the team. But ultimately, Nash has been the untradeable player and we still are nowhere. Sure, he needs a #1 center. I don't believe for a moment that Howson did no try to get one. So, we are left with a underperforming superstar and the only way to get him a center would be to trade the rest of the team. Is the cost worth reward? Tell me Brassard, Voracek, and Filatov are not the real deal.

After the last three games I think every option has to be on the table. Perhaps even discussing such a thing would light fire under some of these guys.

TomT said...

I understand the frustration, and I realize that these guys make millions of dollars. That makes it easy for us to sit back and over analyse each move they make and ask 'are they worth that money?'.

Truth is that those guys all want to win, the problem is that so do the guys on the other team.

We are a little over 10% into the season. Most of the Jackets were not on this team last year. Only so many excuses can be made, and I understand the time is now, but give it some time.

Most of these players have not suffer through almost a decade of loosing. They are fresh to this team and are bringing some real tallent. Rookies are developing quickly and that is great. The vets however have not come together yet, but it will happen.

Just as a side note, so that you will all remember, 2 years ago when Norrena started consistently for an injured Leclaire, he was the first CBJ goaltender with a winning record. He just needs to play consistently.

Give it time, it will come around, it will likely happen this year, just watch and enjoy.

Sean said...

I don't know about panic, and I don't know much about being the GM, but if we lose two more in a row does Hitchcock still have a job? Many people have said he's too "old-school" to make it in this league. I'm sorry but in the summer-time everyone said this team would have an identity, and they told us the identity was being tough to play against and we're not. We're not hitting, we're not bruising, we're not standing up at the blueline and we're not clearing the zone on PK. I don't know who is to blame for the team not living up to their new build but someone must be.

I want the Jackets to a) live up to this new identity and b) put a string of wins together. That's it. I would feel much, much better if they could just win three in a row. Last year was tough and seemed like every stretch was W-L-W-L. The only way we're going to get confidence is to put together a winning streak.

Rick said...

Confidence, confidence, CONFIDENCE!!!!!!! It's time the players showed some.

That said, I just read on Puck-rakers that Hitch looks like he might play Nash at center with Chimmer/Huselius on the wings. Huh!?! Why would he break up the "Goat" line, when that seems to be our best, most high intensity line out there every night? Fix the other lines, don't mess with the "Goat".

With Pazzy out, what to do with the net? Freddy just doesn't seem to be all there when it comes to smart moves clearing/covering-up the puck.

The first two periods looked decent last night; but, as we've all said, they need to show up for the whole sixty minutes. Maybe (it's just a thought) Chimmer should step up and be a bigger leader (locker room maybe?). Give him the "A".

I will now get off my soapbox.

Anonymous said...

Trading Nash would be one of the dumbest things I've ever seen in sports. He is the face of this team and sadly, he's the only name that comes to mind to most people in Columbus when you mention the Jackets. You think just over 10,000 was bad last night. See who shows up when you trade away the only tie most of the public has to this team.

The Jackets need a legitimate backup goaltender. Leclaire has shown potential to be a force in goal, but the guy seems to be made of papier mache. We can't keep turning to Norrena and expect results. I know the price tag was high, but why did we pass up on Khabibulin when he was on waivers. Say what you want about him, but he is sure as hell better than Freddy in goal. We need a legitimate backup while Mason develops. He may be the future for the Jackets, but if we don't get help now, there may not be a future in Columbus.

Sean said...

Sheeesh. Hitch has lost his mind.

We don't need to go looking for a #1 center: Brassard is it. The kid is hungry; he should be #1.

Regardless of the offensive side of things, why try Nash at center when clearly it is the defense that is having a tough time of things right now.

If we had clamined Khabibulin on waivers, he'd be #1 and LeClaire would be #2.

Nash - Brassard - Huselius
Chimera - Murray - Voracek
Modin - Peca - Boll
Novotny - Malhotra - Dorsett

Tyutin - Hedja
OKT - Methot
Backman - Commodore

When Torres comes back we trade Modin.

That's my armchair QB for the day.

tom said...

Amen Sean! I don't see Klesla or Modin in your line up and I couldn't agree more.

I'd bring Filatov up for good. He's not fragile like Brule. He's been playing with men for years in Russia. He's fast and has a nose for the net.

Get Brass on the line with Nash and Huselius. Umberger centers the kids on line 2.

Chimmer, Manny and Raffi on line 3; Novotny, Peca, and Boll on the 4th.

Anonymous said...

Wow, someone is cranky today.

While I agree with some of what you say, you lost me at "Where would we be without Methot and Russell?". The rest of the kids, sure. But Methot has been serviceable, but did you even notice his indecisiviness in the first period last night? He's hardly deserving of being mentioned with Jake and Brass. Russell? Dudes in the 'Cuse. Where would we without Chimera? That should scare you.

The kids are on board, But as Hitch likes to say "Who's going to drag Nash (and Huselius) into the fight?".

While the past records are mildly interesting, they are completely meaningless. The Ducks started off 0-4 and have recovered.

Panic? No, I'm not there yet.

The defense has started to stablize. The team, overall, is playing pretty well. We just haven't figured out 60 minutes of effort or how to finish the games. We also don't have our top line onboard. Nash/RJ/Huselius. That's really concerning.

This will be far more telling by the end of November. The schedule is more in our favor. If we're under .500 at the end of November, then I'll start to get concerned.

Until then this is a bit on the overdramatic side. But hey it's your blog. I'm just used to it being more professional. Seemed to me this is more of what I'd read and avoid on HF.

Todd G said...

All Modin would be worth in trade value at this point is a low draft pick....not worth it.

Anonymous said...

ok my turn now...

did anyone for a secons last night think that we were gonna close the game and shut them down with a win ...? or did most of you ( like me ) go were screwed... we didnt put the puck in the net when we had the chance to put this game away and now pretty soon some one is gonna take a lazy penalty and were gonna be tied... then someone else is gonna take a dumb penalty and we will be behind ... it shoud really be a drinking game...

ok heres where we blow the lead... take a drink...

ok heres where we take a hooking call cause were too lazy...

ok heres where our defenseman lets a guy blow by him and score on our crappy goalie who couldnt make a save even if he had a cement wall behind him...

its just sooooooooo sad... it really is... last night as it all happened i didnt yell and scream or throw anything i just hung my head and tried to figure it all out...

so heres what i have...

get whatever you can for modin ( even if its a an empty cardboard box...)

pray to gordie howe that mason and lacosta eventually take over soon...

trade klesla ( see modin )

get a center... an NHL center

on another front... the GM
i feel howson has done one hell of a job period... with what we have ( or do not have ) IE winning history ... he has went out and got us quality players with proven histories... and in the process gotten rid of players who have hampered this franchise... ( FOOTE,BRULE,FEDOROV, and done a very good job in each draft he has been in charge of... landing some great players ( save the QUITTER )

you CAN NOT add the previous 7 years onto HOWSONS tenure... he has done nothing but make this team BETTER

i kinda wish right now that the ZHERDEV trade wasnt made ... but thats right now... who knows by next month... woulda been nice to see ZHERDEV out there with this group ( save the 2 NYR defenseman )

in closing it is NOT time to panic at the disco...


LTL said...

Thanks for the comments as usual everyone. They are very much appreciated.

All views are always welcomed and encouraged here.


xoggz22 said...

I'm not ready to jump ship on this team but I'm as frustrated as the rest of you. Isn't that a good thing? I'm worried about indiference. When we hit that it truly means nobody cares.

I've said this many times but our trouble still resides with our defense. We don't move the puck efficiently and are much too jumpy under pressure. If Rusty hasn't picked it up by now I don't think he will. He's a little better than Commodore and he's a true 5/6 type guy that is too high in the lineup. That goes for Rusty too.

What I'm concerned about is the acquisitions and how they aren't helping this team. A look at our top 4 aqcuisitions:

Umberger - total bust at the moment. He's trying hard and skating well but clearly isn't ready for big minutes at Center

Commodore - Almost a bust. I haven't seen the "in your face" game day in and day out. His skills aren't better than a 5/6 type guy and he's playing top 4 right now.

Tyutin - total bust at the moment. He's really fighting the puck and while I do think he gets it moving out of the zone - when he can hold onto the puck - I'm just not seeing a 2 way game for a top 4 guy.

Bachman - What I expected. A rough defensive game with a little offense. Too little offense to cover his shortcomings but he's been better than Tyutin at this point.

Huselius - As advertised. I think he's been a good replacement for Zherdev and haven't seen too many negatites at this point.

That's our top 5 additions in my opinion. throw in Torres who hasn't played a game yet and Modin (like an addition with how little he's played for the CBJ) who's been hurt once again and we're talking about 6 guys that have had little impact (aside from Huselius) except on the negative side or not playing due to injury.

We need to re-pair Hedja and Rusty and allow Tyutin some time with Commodore. It may not be much better but maybe it will click.

As for up front....keep in mind that Brass, Jake and Chimmer don't see the opposing top shutdown line or defensive pairing. Let's keep it that way. It's a crime Nash doesn't have a center but would a center have helped him burry the 7 or 8 breakaways thus far. I love the kid and think trading him is blasphemy but we need to find a way to get some pressure off him by getting a 3rd guy on the line. Maybe then the breakaway's fall because they've already potted a few.

I left pissed off last night and questioning whether i wanted to continue with my season tix but this team is better with the puck. You can see they move it better and have more skill. They have to create some breaks and fight for 60 minutes.

What happens when Modin and Torres come back. I personally think Torres will help this team. Modin? I'm not sure. Where does everyone fit? Who sits? Does Nash center Modin and Huselius? Does Umberger remain on the 3rd line?

Nash Malhotra Huselius
Chimera Brassard Voracek
Umberger Peca Torres
Murray Novotny Boll

What happens to Dorsett? Picard? I think Novotny has outperformed Manny and Dorsett has outperformed Boll.

Heck, why not put Murray with Nash? Kids got moxie and appears to have skill. He's got some speed and is defensively responsible.

Damn this is long.....

Anonymous said...

Maybe these high dollar players we acquired need to play like they did for their former teams except Huselius and Torres. I think Huselius has been good and from Torres' one game he looked good. But Mr. Moneybags (Commodore) needs to quit screwing around and play like he did in Calgary and Carolina...he looks too much like Adam Foote all over again. Backman has not impressed me at all and Tyutin has been a turn over machine, in our end and the neutral zone. ITS TIME TO STEP UP!!!!! Chemistry is not an issue simply because a lot of these guys can pretty much play with anyone. I want Umberger to show like he did in playoffs last year. ITS TIME TO STEP UP!!!!!

Wally said...

We're only 3 wins from .500

Not time to panic yet.