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Commentary: A season of discontent for the Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets concluded their six-game road trip on Friday with a 3-2 overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks.

Blue Jackets’ center Derick Brassard scored the game-winning goal to give the team its first three-point effort of the road trip.

The goal was Brassard’s second of the game. Prior to the game, he had not scored since a Jan. 17 win at Nationwide Arena against the Edmonton Oilers.

The game also marked the first time that center Jeff Carter played since sustaining a shoulder injury in a Jan. 8 loss to the Ducks.

Carter recorded the team’s other goal in just more than 18 minutes of ice-time.

Heading into Friday’s contest against the Ducks, the Jackets had gone 0-5 on their road trip, earning only one point from an overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

The road trip concluded with the team having earned three points out of a possible 12.

It could be argued that team deserved four or even five points out of the road trip.

In Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, Blue Jackets team officials said they believed a malfunction with the game clock cost them a chance to win the game.

King’s defenseman Drew Doughty was credited with a game-winning power-play goal just as time expired in the third period.

With 1.8 seconds left, the clock appeared to freeze for more than a full second.

Blue Jackets representatives said they believe that had the clock been running properly, Doughty’s goal would not have counted as it would have been scored after time had expired.

Various opinions have been cast as to what went wrong with the clock.

Los Angeles Kings’ General Manager Dean Lombardi released a statement regarding his view on the situation.

“Those clocks are sophisticated instruments that calculate time by measuring electrical charges called coulombs — given the rapidity and volume of electrons that move through the measuring device the calibrator must adjust at certain points which was the delay you see. The delay is just recalibrating for the clock moving too quickly during the 10 – 10ths of a second before the delay. This insures that the actual playing time during a period is exactly 20 minutes. That is not an opinion — that is science — amazing device quite frankly,” Lombardi said in his statement.

Colin Campbell, National Hockey League senior vice president and director of hockey operations, told Prime Time Sports in an interview Thursday that the goal should have been disallowed.

“Nothing is 100 percent. I’m fairly certain that this clock stopped at one second,” Campbell said. “The puck went in at 0.4 so the goal should not have counted.”

Regardless of whether or not the goal should have counted, the fact of the matter is the Blue Jackets did not earn the extra point for making it to overtime, let alone two points for actually winning the game.

And it’s hard to argue that the points, one or two, would have made any difference for the team.

Friday’s overtime against the Ducks win gave the Blue Jackets 34 points in 52 games played.

The team still resides in 30th (last) place in the league standings, 12 points out of the 29th spot occupied by the Ducks.

The team’s 34 points is 31 behind the fourth place Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference’s Central Division.

With each coming day, the Blue Jackets better their chances of being awarded the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

At the Feb. 27 trade deadline expect the Blue Jackets to be sellers.

It will be interesting to see just how much they sell. It’s hard to imagine that short of Rick Nash, anyone is protected from being traded.

The most highly touted player on the team who has been linked to a trade is center Jeff Carter.

Carter, acquired in the offseason from the Philadelphia Flyers for Jakub Voracek and a first-round pick, has long been rumored to be unhappy with playing for the team.

His contract, on which he still has 10 years at more than $5 million per year, will be hard to move.

But there’s no point in keeping a player that’s so unhappy.

The Blue Jackets’ schedule doesn’t let up any time soon.

In the team’s next 12 games, only one will be played against an opponent that is not in the top 20 overall in the league standings. That team is the aforementioned Ducks, still well ahead of the Blue Jackets.

The team will take on the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday in the first of two consecutive home games.

The Blue Jackets are 0-2 this season against the Wild, losing 4-2 in both contests.

 

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