When the face of your franchise could very well be handed a one-way ticket out of Columbus by next weeks National Hockey League trade deadline, the thought of it hurts. A friend, a teammate and the captain of a struggling Blue Jackets organization. 22 other players are immediately affected, but by the time evening rolls around on the 27th of February, a half a dozen or more players in the Blue Jackets organization may be following Rick Nash to the airport as well.
So let’s face it, for the next eight days, things are going to change drastically for the Columbus Blue Jackets, but that doesn’t mean they can go through the motions of a 60 minute hockey game, just for the sake of fulfilling another game on their 82 game schedule.
It’s happened too many times this season. It occurred again yesterday, this time in front of 18,663 fans. A sold out Nationwide Arena. Keep in mind, a large percentage of Blackhawks fans were in attendance, but for the Blue Jacket fans who were scattered throughout the building, it’s a shame.
For the first 10 plus minutes of the game, the Blue Jackets went to work. Forward Derek Brassard buried his 10th goal of the season to give the Jackets a 1-0 lead. As soon as Chicago managed to turn the tide taking a 2-1 lead into the second period though, the Blue Jackets put their heads down and stopped playing the type of hockey that has at times this season, actually made them successful. Hard work, gritty on the forecheck, garbage goals. Call it what you will, it simply wasn’t there.
“I’m only disappointed because the way the game started. I was real happy with the way we came out, the way the first 14 or 15 minutes of the game went. The atmosphere was great, the crowd was great. And then, obviously, the game got away,” said interim coach Todd Richards.
The Blackhawks would score two goals in the 2nd, followed by two goals in the 3rd to take a demanding 6-1 lead. Former Blue Jacket defensemen Sami Lepisto scored the sixth and final goal for the Blackhawks.
“The crowd was into it,” Blue Jackets center Derek MacKenzie said. “They were right there, right from the start. We started ok, but after that, we lost it and we couldn’t get it back. And that’s too bad. You hate to have nights like this, and we’ve had too many of them.”
Todd Richards spoke his mind after the Blackhawks scored their final goal. Calling a time out to address their lack of everything.
Moments later, Blue Jackets forward Derek Dorsett not only responded to his head coach, he sent a strong message to the fans and his teammates by confronting and challenging Blackhawks defensemen John Scott to a fight. Scott at 6’8 270 accepted the 6’0 192 Blue Jackets invitation, one in which Dorsett explains is purely out of frustration.
“I think the last goal just pushed me over the edge,” Dorsett said. “I just snapped. It’s just getting frustrating.”
Frustrating it is, especially knowing that at any given time from now until the 27th of February, street addresses will change, and the makeup of the Columbus Blue Jackets could be entirely different.
Blue Jackets Notebook
Scouts from St. Louis, Carolina, Ottawa, Washington, Detroit, New York Rangers, Dallas, Philadelphia and Montreal were in attendance.
GM Scott Howson and Senior Advisor Craig Patrick reportedly spoke with Flyers GM Paul Holmgren and Senior Advisor Bobby Clarke yesterday in Philadelphia. Philadelphia appears to be a team of interest for Rick Nash and the Blue Jackets management.
Darren is the Washington Capitals correspondent. He spent the 2010-11 season covering the Atlanta Thrashers and the 2011-12 season covering the Columbus Blue Jackets. Feel free to contact him @ DKoz256@yahoo.com. You can also follow him on Twitter. DarrenCoslov