Following an eventful and optimistic offseason, the Blue Jackets have stumbled to their worst start in franchise history.
As of Sunday, their record stands at a league worst 0-7-1, and they remain the only winless team in the league. The road ahead isn’t any easier, as they face the undefeated Detroit Red Wings twice, and the one-loss Buffalo Sabres in the week to come.
To make matters worse, they’ll be doing so without their big offseason acquisition, center Jeff Carter, who sustained a hairline fracture in his foot after blocking a shot against the Dallas Stars. Carter will likely miss seven to 10 days.
Most fans seem dispirited by the historically poor start from the Jackets . However, Bryan Jaynes, a fourth-year in psychology, had a surprisingly encouraging point when he said, “(The Jackets) usually start off well, and drift off” toward the end of the season, so perhaps this year, “we could see the opposite.”
Many predicted that goaltending issues would plague the Jackets throughout the season, and thus far, the prophecy has been proven true.
Netminder Steve Mason has struggled in goal with a disappointing .878 save percentage. Backup journeyman, Curtis Sanford, is likely to be between the pipes more this week, as head coach Scott Arniel’s patience could dwindle if Mason’s poor performance continues.
Columbus’ goalies haven’t been aided by a great deal of offense either.
Offensively, the Jackets have also only converted two goals on 30 opportunities on the power play. The power play should be an area of strength the Jackets when considering their offensive firepower. However, with Carter injured for at least a week, this aspect of their game isn’t likely to improve anytime soon.
With 76 games left on the schedule there’s no need to jump ship, although with the fourth-worst league attendance at just more than 11,000 fans a game, it seems many fans might already be jumping. Hockey fans in Columbus don’t need to hit the panic button quite yet, however.
A team with such a dynamic offseason is likely to have a bit of sluggish play before the players began to get more acquainted with each other.
The team must pick up some wins soon, not only keep their fans interested, but to also their head coach employed.
The Blue Jackets next chance to take their first win will come Tuesday at 7 p.m. when they face the Detroit Red Wings in Columbus.